Fernando del Valle

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Fernando del Valle
del Valle in 2014
Background information
Birth nameBrian Stephen Skinner
Born(1964-02-28)February 28, 1964
New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
Occupation(s)Opera singer
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Fernando del Valle
del Valle in 2014
Background information
Birth nameBrian Stephen Skinner
Born(1964-02-28)February 28, 1964
New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
Occupation(s)Opera singer

Fernando del Valle (né Brian Skinner, 28 February 1964) is an American operatic tenor. He is the son of Edward King Skinner II and Concha Marina Meléndez del Valle, the daughter of Baroness Aranka von Bischitz.


He took the name del Valle in honour of his grandfather, Fernando Meléndez del Valle, who was also a tenor and diplomat for El Salvador at the consulate of El Salvador in New Orleans.[1][2] He is the great, great grandson of Andrés del Valle, President of El Salvador in 1876[3] and a direct descendant of Colonel José María San Martín, President of El Salvador (1854–56) and founder of Santa Tecla, El Salvador.[4][5] He is the grandson of the Honorable Judge Robert J. Skinner,[6] former recorder and treasurer (for the City of New Orleans), a regimental sergeant-major in World War One, and the great grandson of the venerated Judge Edward King Skinner,[7][8] who served at civil district court for over 50 years, and was the first to be appointed to District 1, Division C, after the Civil War. He was also honored by his colleagues with a life size portrait, a privilege usually given after death.


He was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA.[9] A graduate of Brother Martin High School, he received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from Tulane University as the recipient of the Treville Scholarship in Voice, and the Artists Diploma from Southern Methodist University as the Haggar Scholar. As a winner of The Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition he was awarded a Career Grant from The Dallas Opera, the winner of the Stewart Award, the Austin Lyric Opera Vocal Competition, the Fort Worth Opera Competition and the Vocal Competition of the San Antonio Opera judged by Evelyn Lear and Richard Gaddes. He is an alumnus of the San Francisco Opera's Merola Opera Program where he studied under the direction of Patrick Summers in 1992 and 1993. He later won the "Bel Canto" competition of Chicago and subsequently relocated to Italy where he studied under Carlo Bergonzi and, later, Thomas Hayward and Elena Nikolaidi.

Early years[edit]

Del Valle made his operatic debut at the age of seventeen (1981), as the First Shepherd in John Blow's Venus and Adonis (Blow), at Loyola University followed by roles in La rondine, conducted by Maurice Peress, Brigadoon, Shenandoah (musical) opposite Bryan Batt and The Merry Widow. The next year, he was tenor soloist in Bach's "St Matthew Passion" with the New Orleans Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra, Andrew Massey, conducting. In 1986, he made his Boston debut in that composer's "Christmas Oratorio", in Jordan Hall, as the winner of the Boston Premiere Ensembles Young Artist Competition. The following spring, his New York debut took place at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center, with the Beethoven Society of New York. Elsewhere, he continued his career as a concert tenor with a repertoire that included Beethoven's Missa Solemnis, and the Requiems of Verdi, Britten and Lloyd Webber. The tenor's Carnegie Hall debut occurred in 1993, with Mozart's "Great" Mass in C minor with the American Symphony Orchestra. He performed the tenor solos in George Frideric Handel's Messiah for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, at the The Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center in 1994. He made his European debut in 1995, singing in Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 with the Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi, Alun Francis, conducting

Del Valle's European operatic debut took place with the role of 'don José' in the Hugo de Ana production of Carmen at the Teatro Comunale di Treviso under the vocal direction of Regina Resnik and conducted by Peter Maag. In 1996, he appeared as Rodolfo in La bohème, at the Teatro dell'Opera di Roma, Vladimir Jurowski, conducting.

1997 – present[edit]

In 1997, del Valle appeared as 'don José' at the Gran Teatro La Fenice in Venice, Isaac Karabtchevsky, conducting 'Pinkerton' in Madama Butterfly with the Palm Beach Opera, Anton Guadagno, conducting and 'Faust' in Colmar, France. He made his German debut in 1998 as 'Rodolfo' with the Frankfurt Opera, under the direction of the venerated pedagogue/conductor, Klauspeter Seibel, immediately following he appeared to critical acclaim,[10][11] at the Wexford Festival in Ireland as 'Paolo' in Fosca (opera) by Antônio Carlos Gomes. A series of important engagements followed, and since 1999, del Valle has appeared around the world, including performances in Frankfurt Alte Oper, Strasbourg (Beethoven 9th Symphony, op. 125, with John Storgards conducting), Maastricht, Deutsche Oper am Rhein, Tonhalle Düsseldorf, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Teatro Carlo Felice, Bremen, Bergen, Costa Rica, Munich Gasteig, Finnish National Opera, Helsinki, Belo Horizonte in Brazil, the HIFA Festival in Harare, Zimbabwe,[12] Malmö, The New Symphony Orchestra of Sofia, Bulgaria, Teatro Petruzzelli di Bari, Torino, Baveno, Inaugural concert of the Umberto Giordano Festival with the RAI National Symphony Orchestra, National Theatre Mannheim, Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe, Staatstheater Kassel, Hamburg and Hessisches Staatstheater Wiesbaden . For some years, del Valle was engaged as the Principal Tenor at the Staatstheater Darmstadt,[13] at the invitation of Marc Albrecht.[14][15] His career followed by performances in Israel, Korea, Catania, Sydney (recording Elgar's The Dream of Gerontius at the Sydney Opera House), Lisbon and Prague.

In 2003, his portrait was realized by Ricarda Jacobi,[16][17][18] protégé of Oskar Kokoschka. On the occasion of the 150th (1854–2004) Anniversary of Santa Tecla, El Salvador, Mr. del Valle was invited by former Salvadoran Ambassador Ernesto Rivas-Gallont to present 2 Concerts. A devoutee of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, the Tenor requested that the first performance take place on September 23, the feast-day of Saint Thecla, the Saint for whom the city is named.[19]


In 1995 he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when he was 31 years old, and treated at Parkland Memorial Hospital.[20][21] Legally Blind, he suffers from Diabetic retinopathy, Glaucoma,[22] Macular degeneration and Diabetic neuropathy[23]

Roles sung on stage[edit]







André Ernest Modeste Grétry







Jacques Offenbach


Johann Strauss



Richard Wagner



  1. ^ "Santa Tecla, Cronología" ISBN 99923-0-141-4 Recopilada por Dr. Juan José Contreras Callejas, Mauricio Alvarado Cea Campo, Ángela Margarita Alvarado: Consejo National para la Cultura y el Arte, CONCULTURA, San Salvador 2004: Page 14, "El Diario de Hoy, 30 de Noviembre de 1985
  2. ^ New Orleans magazine, July 1999
  3. ^ Cuisine, Texas: a multiethnic feast, page 258, Joanne Smith, University of Texas Press (September 1, 2010), ISBN 0292728514, ISBN 978-0292728516
  4. ^ http://archive.laprensa.com.sv/20040822/opinion/opinion1.asp La Prensa Grafica, 22. August 2004, La distinguida genealogía de los San Martín
  5. ^ "Un tenor lírico con raíces tecleñas" by Morena Azucena 22-09-04 VIDA, Page 106 http://www.elsalvador.com
  6. ^ http://www.tributes.com/show/Edward-King-Skinner-86579321
  7. ^ obituary, R.J. Skinner Taken by Death, July 18, 1949, The New Orleans Item, John C. Kelly Library Archives Analyst II The Times-Picayune Work: 504.826.3616 FAX: 504.826.3066
  8. ^ "Skinner's Ward is on the Way" by Thomas K. Griffin, The Times-Picayune Library Archives
  9. ^ "New Orleans: "Big year for the Big Easy" 17, January, 2003 by Richard Siklos http://www.telegraph.co.uk
  10. ^ The Financial Times, Andrew Porter (music critic), Monday October 26, 1998: "Thiis Fosca was Wexford at its best. It brought forward a tenor of uncommon merit: del Valle was as firm as Domingo in his pure, true utterance but also able and eager, Bergonzi-wise, to "melt" from note to note in shapely phrases. (Caruso's splendour plus Gigli's charm make a good model)"
  11. ^ The Times, Rodney Milnes October 28, 1998 "....an exciting tenor, especially at the top of the register, who can shape a phrase with real sensitivity.”
  12. ^ The Daily News (Harare) Zimbabwe: International Acts Set to Flavour Hifa. By: Maxwell Sibanda Entertainment Editor, 29 April 2003 Gala
  13. ^ Orpheus Oper International, Rittersstrasse 11, D-10969 Berlin, Heft 5, Juni 2001: Thema: "Tenoere!" A 4848 E ISSN 0932-661
  14. ^ Frankfurter Rundschau 3 August 2004
  15. ^ Wer? Wann? Was?, Darmstädter Echo 10-09-2001
  16. ^ "Malen wie ein Vogel, der sein Lied Pfeift" - Interview
  17. ^ de:Deutsche Nationalbibliothek
  18. ^ * Literature by and about Fernando del Valle in the German National Library catalogue
  19. ^ Santa Tecla con 150 años, Eugenia Velásquez, Publicada 9 de Agosto 2004, El Diario de Hoy, metro@elsalvador.com
  20. ^ Frankfurter Rundschau 3 August 2004
  21. ^ Wer? Wann? Was?, Darmstädter Echo 10-09-2001
  22. ^ http://www.icaretonometer.com/?s=fernando+del+valle&x=0&y=0
  23. ^ Auch der prominente Operntenor Fernando del Valle nutzt das handliche, ... der-augenoptiker.de.

External links[edit]