|Year of Birth:||1952|
Gianna Rolandi (born August 16, 1952) is an American soprano. Following a highly successful 20-year national and international operatic career, Rolandi retired from performing in 1994, and served as director of and principal instructor at the Lyric Opera of Chicago's Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center (formerly known as Lyric Opera Center for American Artists) until 2013.
Gianna Rolandi was born in New York City, and grew up in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Her mother, Jane Frazier, was an American soprano, and met her father, Italian obstetrician-gynecologist Enrico Rolandi, while singing in Italy. Rolandi's father died in a car accident on Long Island when she was three, and the family moved back to the Carolinas, her mother's home. Rolandi's mother taught voice at Converse College in Spartanburg, and later became a staff member of the Brevard Music Center in North Carolina. She remarried in 1959 to John West Coker, chairman of the Music Department at Wofford College in Spartanburg, and a staff member of the Brevard Music Center.
Rolandi started out as a violinist, at the age of 6, yet remembers that "when there was nobody home, I'd turn on opera records and sing along with Tosca and Madama Butterfly." By the late 1960s she was studying violin at the Brevard Music Center, and she attended the North Carolina School of the Arts as a violin major in her senior year of high school. She took her first voice lessons at the Brevard Music Center, and continued a long association with the Center, where many of her coloratura roles were learned and first performed.