Listen: Luca Pisaroni: 'When I realized I was a bass-baritone at 18 I cried for weeks!'
The Italian singer on Le nozze di Figaro, idolizing Pavarotti and his career to date.
Luca has appeared in the UK previously – making his debut in Così fan tutte at Glyndebourne in 2006 – but this revival of David McVicar’s acclaimed production is his first performance at Covent Garden: ‘It’s been incredibly satisfying. It’s my first time [working with] David McVicar who is brilliant – I think this production is fantastic – and also with John Eliot Gardiner. Sir John is a musical genius, he has so many musical ideas. You really have to give it your all because he’s incredibly demanding but it’s incredibly satisfying at the end.’
Luca also spoke of growing up in Busseto, a hometown he shares with Giuseppe Verdi – one of two composers who are the subject of this year’s Deloitte Ignite festival: ‘My first encounter with opera was hearing Boris Christoff on a recording that my grandfather had. From that moment on I said, “That’s it, I want to be an opera singer!”…I haven’t performed Verdi that much but I hope that it’s something that comes in the future, I would say he’s my favourite composer, even though I sing so much Mozart!’
The bass-baritone spoke of his early aim of becoming a tenor, only to switch to a lower register as his voice matured: ‘I was a tenor when I was 12 – I know every tenor aria by heart, and when I changed my voice (as every guy does) and at 18 I realized I was a bass-baritone/baritone. I cried for two weeks!
Luca grew up admiring Italian operatic icon Luciano Pavarotti: ‘He was my hero. I always loved his voice, there was something unique to the sound. I remember when I was a kid we went to one of his recitals in Parma and when he agreed to take a photo with me I couldn’t believe it – it was like being close to God somehow.’
Luca also spoke of being self-critical when listening to his own recordings (something he avoids), the influence of conductor Nikolaus Harnoncourt, with whom he worked on Don Giovanni (Salzburg, 2002); and his two dogs, named after Lenny Bernstein and Tristan (from Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde). The bass-baritone performed an extract from Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra on In Tune, as well as Franz Schubert’s An die Musik.
Le nozze di Figaro runs from 16 September 2013 – 15 May 2014. Tickets are still available.