Young Artist Profile: Pablo Bemsch
The Argentinean tenor on the transition from baritone to tenor and why music is his first love.
Jette Parker Young Artist Pablo Bemsch didn’t start studying singing until the relatively late age of 25 but has always nursed a passion for classical music. He sang around the house as a toddler, saw his first opera as an 11 year old (Die Zauberflöte in his native Argentina), and learnt the violin as a teenager.
Pablo joined The Royal Opera’s Jette Parker Young Artist scheme in 2011, making his main stage debut as Cassio from Otello in the Plácido Domingo Gala. The scheme gives singers coaching all all opera disciplines and its alumni includes Alfie Boe, Marina Poplavskaya and Matthew Rose.
‘Although no one is a musician, my family is very musical. I’ve always listened to classical music and it will always be my first love,’ says Pablo. ‘I remember how, when I saw my first opera, I was more impressed by the music than anything about the production. Even now, although I appreciate that opera is an art form created by a lot of components and like theatre a lot, I am always most impressed by the music and its relationship with every aspect of human nature.’
Despite Pablo’s passion for music, he didn’t begin to study music seriously until he took up the violin at the age of 14. In 2005, he turned his attention to singing and joined the Conservatorio della Svizzera Italiana in Lugano, Switzerland as a baritone. It wasn’t until he was in his second year at the Zurich Opera Studio in 2009 that he decided his voice was more suited for tenor roles.
‘One day in rehearsal, the conductor Nello Santi said outright that I was a tenor rather than a baritone. I knew intuitively that he was right, but I asked the advice of Leo Nucci,’ he explains. ‘I had a couple of lessons with Nucci, in which he suggested that I sang Rodolfo’s aria from La bohème and Alfredo’s from La traviata: the notes of those arias were in me already. I could sing them straight away and so he told me I was naturally a tenor.’
For me, it was fantastic to see an opera legend like Domingo on stage, but seeing Tony Pappano in action was especially amazing. For me, it’s always exciting to see a great conductor. With such talent and imagination around you, you learn a lot!”
In addition to performing small parts in main stage productions, Pablo has covered several lead roles, including Alfredo in La traviata, Rodolfo in La bohème and Lensky in Eugene Onegin.
‘Covering is one of the most important opportunities I had here,’ he says. ‘To study these roles and be coached and rehearsed by great conductors and fantastic singers gives me such a strong platform to work from.
‘One of my favourite works is La bohème and last year, I covered the role of Rodolfo. When the tenor was ill, I rehearsed for three days with Semyon Bychkov and having the chance to sing the role with such esteemed musicians was one of the best experiences I have had here.’
This year, the Jette Parker Young Artists summer performance, From Studio to Stage gives the Young Artists a chance to appear on the main stage in roles they have learned in the rehearsal studio as covers during the season. Pablo will sing Lensky, the comic Monostatos from Die Zauberflöte, the lovestruck Nemorino from L’elisir d’amore and Ruggiero from La rondine.
Before the close of the season, Pablo will also sing the roles of Bertram in La donna del lago and Gobin in La rondine.
Don Carlo runs from 4 – 25 May, La donna del lago runs from 17 May – 11 June, La rondine runs from 5 – 21 July and From Studio to Stage is on 30 June.
The Jette Parker Young Artists Programme is supported by the Oak Foundation.