Luca Pisaroni is one of the best known Italian voices on the international opera circuit. He sings in all the important opera houses, except for those in Italy. He's not the first Italian artist to be largely ignored in his homeland (think Cecilia Bartoli!) but it is extraordinary to think that his last opera appearance in Italy was in Così fan tutte in Turin, ten years ago.
Pisaroni is currently singing the same role at the Salzburg Festival, then he moves on to Le nozze di Figaro at the Royal Opera House in London, Anna Bolena in Vienna, The Enchanted Island at the Met, and soon after will play Alidoro in La Cenerentola for the Met's live relay. You get the idea, this is a man opera houses search out and and get to sign a contract years ahead of performance dates. And there's the rub, or part of it: in Italy the budgeting and planning is last minute compared with the other countries where Pisaroni sings, so if he gets asked at all it is too late.
I understand that directing an opera house isn't easy, it's also a questions of politics and there are cultural factors. At the Vienna's Staatsoper they know the budget and can programme already through until 2018. Should I refuse to sing for them in case someone in Italy calls me at the last moment?
he told the Corriere della Sera‘s Valerio Cappelli.
I don't think that anyone has it in for me, but perhaps it's because I didn't come up though the ranks, and didn't grow up artistically in Italy. I was lucky. When I was studying at the Milan Conservatoire I sang in Don Giovanni in Romania, and the director of the Salzburg Festival was in the audience, and asked me to audition for Harnoncourt. He took me on.
Pisaroni is married to Thomas Hampson's daughter Catherine, a web designer who handles the sites of Anna Netrebko and Renée Fleming, among others.
We were singing together in Don Giovanni and during the scene where he has to hit me, each time it got harder and harder. In the end I told him, “Ok, let's make my relationship with your daughter official, then you won't hit me so much!”
For the last eight years Pisaroni has been based in Vienna.
You want to know if I miss Italy? No.
Photo by Marco Borggreve
Find out more about Luca Pisaroni on his website.
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano') about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman's Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia' column for Dancing Times magazine.