Here is the interview:
Many singers view their career as a sprint to the finish line. Discordant with instrumentalists who can pick up the violin at age 3 and make their Lincoln Center debuts before they’re 10, and even fellow crooners in other genres who can go platinum before they’re able to legally drive a car, classical vocalists face a variety of developmental hurdles before the real work can begin.
Traditional training today leaves singers taking an average of one voice lesson a week and often being catapulted into roles—either by agents or opera companies—at preternaturally early ages, ages often included in (if not headlining) marketing copy. What follows is an inevitable, and often very public, burnout.
Bucking this trend, however, is bass-baritone Luca Pisaroni. Born in 1975, Pisaroni is just beginning his rise to prominence in the United States. He made his Metropolitan Opera debut at 29 as Publio in Mozart’s La clemenza di Tito, but gave a star turn in New York as Leporello in the company’s new production of Don Giovanni (and returns this month as Caliban in the world premiere of The Enchanted Island). Compared to many of his peers who have headlined multiple Met productions and sweep across Europe, it may seem to some as a delayed trajectory—but for Pisaroni it’s not the majority of a sprint, but rather the first few miles of the marathon.
“It takes a life to master your voice, and it takes really only a few bad repertoire choices to ruin your voice. And once it’s gone, it’s gone,” explains the Venezuelan-born Italian singer over ginger ale at a hotel lounge that faces the Met. Growing up in Busseto, a comune in Parma and the birthplace of Giuseppe Verdi, Pisaroni developed an early passion for opera, admitting that he cannot remember his life without the art form. He listened obsessively to Boris Christoff singing the Verdi canon, from Don Carlos’ “Ella giammai m’amo” to Simon Boccanegra’s “Il lacerato spirito” to selections from the cabaletta-rich Attila. A few years later, at age 11, he saw his first opera—Aida. Around the same time, he destroyed a cassette tape of Pavarotti, singing over his recording of Tosca trademark “E lucevan le stelle” in tandem with the star tenor and checking to make sure his notes were high and long enough. [Continue reading HERE]
After his run at the Met, Pisaroni sticks to baroque music, as he rejoins cast member David Daniels in at the Lyric Opera of Chicago as Argante in Handel's Rinaldo. Performances run from February 29-March 24. Click HERE for additional cast and performance information.
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