MAESTRO YOU ARE IN ATHENS IN ORDER TO SING AT A NEW PRODUCTION OF ROSSINI’S “TANCREDI” WHICH WILL BE TELEVISED INTERNATIONALY BY THE GREEK TELEVISION, ERT…
Yes , it is a very important debut for me, it is a production of the Greek television ERT, I sing the very important role of Argirio. It is a great honor for me , it is the first time I visit the country of Maria Callas , the most important thing for me is to debut a role which is challenging, and difficult the role of Argirio. It is an Opera Seria, in which the singer must possess an accomplished coloratura , vocal agility, and a purely heroic accent. For me it is a wonderful experience.
YOU HAVE SUNG ROSSINI, AND MANY ROLES OF BELCANTO, DONIZETTI, BELLINI..
I have actually started my career in the Theater with Rossini, I sang many performances in “Il Barbiere di Siviglia” in a very important production at the Teatro Verdi in Salerno, where the Director was the Maestro Daniel Oren, I met him again at the Teatro San Carlo where he conducted “Traviata” and we renewed our connection and memories.
HOW WOULD YOU CHARACTERIZE YOUR VOICE ?
Well I should actually say, based on how I perceive my voice, and on what they tell me, and of course on my professional career, it is a voice Tenore Lirico d’Agilita it is not a “light” voice, it has amplitude , which is able to conserve the brilliant colours, it is clear , it has brilliance, but it has volume as well, a true Lirico d’ Agilita.
I have sung for instance a lot of Haydn (“La canterina”) , making my way through Mozart (“Don Giovanni”, “Cosi fan Tutte”) in Cessena, and finally Rossini (“Barbiere di Siviglia”, “La Cenerentola”), I sung in “La petitte Messe Solonelle” in Palermo, and then I sung Verdi (“Traviata”, “Rigoletto”) , I sung Donizetti (“Lucia Di Lamermoor”), and I even tackled “Trovatore” in a production directed by Patricia Panton, which as I know is also a friend of yours.
TODAY’S OPERA HOUSES ARE BIGGER THAN THOSE OF VERDI’S AND ROSSINI’S TIME, DO YOU FIND DIFFICULTIES WHEN YOU SING IN BIG THEATERS?
I think there is actually a benefit when I sing in big Theaters, because what counts more for a lyric singer , and this I underline it since I have thought a lot about it , is the projection of the voice. If you have a voice that projects, no matter what type of voice you have, what is important is the correct placement of the voice that allows it to project, in a way that the it is clearly heard in every part of the Theater. What is actually the effect of voice projection? It is to reach the maximum harmonic state with the least ammount of energy, without getting tired , and with great sonority. This is accomplished with placing the voice in the head , I know that there are many schools of singing, ok this is great, but the throat needs space, you see the voice is like the human body it needs the head and the feet, but the most important point is “squillo”, “squillo”, “squillo” (a ringing voice), I know I insist a lot on this having it discovered by experience.
WHAT IS YOUR OPINION OF THE SINGERS OF TODAY, DO THEY SING IN A DIFFERENT MANNER THAN THOSE OF THE 60’S AND 70’S ?
I think that today there are very beautiful voices around, there are now, and there will be in the future, because nature repeats itself, but I personally believe that they must return for awhile to the old style, because today there are no voices that are able to sing pure coloratura, the tenors do not sing the trills, this is absurd. For instance Verdi in Manrico’s aria that precedes “di quella pira” writes trills more than once, the tenor must sing them , and they don’t do them because the voices are heavy, they sing in a low position, and they lose the magic and allure of the head voice. A tenor can possess soprano notes, and vice versa, for me this is very important , it is a very useful ability to have.
This is not done today because they sing spinto (“pushing”), they sing in a tense manner and everybody wants to demonstrate their abilities, but they must not forget that they are servants of the music, we are here to serve the music.
I THINK THAT THERE IS A TENDENCY FOR SINGERS TO ANALYZE TO THE EXTREME THE ROLES THEY SING. LA CALLAS SAID ONCE “ I DO NOT NEED TO READ A BOOK ABOUT THE CHARACTER, EVERYTHING IS IN THE MUSIC”.
Yes this is undoubtedly true, but the writer has placed important information which helps us to enter into the psychological state of the character. I always say that the singer must be a cultured person, he must deepen into the true character of the personaggio he interprets, to study it in depth, I think this is very important , otherwise you rely on instinct, which is personal. One must not deviate from the basic roots of what the author has created in his masterpiece, and must research , analyze, and find historical facts concerning the role, respecting at the same time the literature so that he can bring to the surface the psychology of the character he sings, and understand the tradition and history of the period.
WELL I HOPE THAT THE PROJECT WILL BE SUCCESFUL, IT WILL BE TRANSMITTED BY THE GREEK TELEVISION .
Yes it will be transmitted globally , and it is indeed a great responsibility for me .
I WISH YOU ALL THE BEST AND THANK YOU FOR YOUR KINDNESS TO GRANT ME THIS VERY INTERESTING INTERVIEW.
I also would like to thank you for giving me this opportunity to be your guest because I know of your long and extensive experience and merit, since you have always dealt with delicacy and respect all the issues concerning opera and which for music criticism could appear as being thorny, but I know that you have worked hard to illuminate with an intellectual approach such issues. For an opera singer like me it is a great fortune to discuss and be interviewed by a person of your intelligence.
Thank you very much..