When and why did you start singing?
When I was a kid… I come from a musical family, and so music has always been a part of who I am. But I got serious about singing in high school when people told me girls would think I was cute. So my love for singing began there, really.
Which singer inspired you most when you were young and which singer do you most admire?
Oh gosh there’s so many people! It depends on which style of music. I grew up in a gospel tradition so there are many artists I respect and admire and who inspire me. As an opera singer, probably Pavarotti was the guy that inspired me the most early on and later on I became a big fan of so many of the great singers of the past, too many to name, but Wunderlich, Caruso, Domingo, Carreras, Alfredo Kraus are some of the names that inspired me, but Mel Tormé is a guy that inspired me, Nat King Cole, Sammy Davis Jr., so many different people.
What’s your favourite role?
Le Comte Ory by Rossini. It’s the best one and I don’t know why more people don’t do it.
What role have you never played but would have liked to?
It depends on if it’s for my voice or not, ha! There are roles that are not specifically for my voice but my dream role that is not right for my voice is Rodolfo in La bohème. But in my repertoire – which is changing a little bit – the role that I have not yet performed is Rodrigo in Rossini’s Otello.
What’s your favourite opera to watch?
Who is your favourite composer?
Who is your favourite writer?
Well… my favorite book is a book called The Power of One by a guy named Bryce Courtenay.
Who is your favourite theatre or film director?
Not Woody Allen!
Who is your favourite actor?
I love Viola Davis, I think she’s incredible. But I also like people that are versatile. A lot of people might throw up an eyebrow for this, but I think one of the most versatile actors I know is Leonardo DiCaprio. He’s a fine actor and I don’t think a lot of people realize he has a tremendous palate, he’s so versatile. He’s not like – Denzel Washington who is the same like all the time. The same thing is true with Tom Cruise, same, Tom Hanks, same. They’re all the same all the time. And I really like guys who have range – Morgan Freeman. I like people who have a departure, and you feel like you don’t recognize them sometimes from before. Even Matthew McConaughey, I think he’s more versatile than some of these other guys. Kenneth Branagh, Peter Dinklage too.
Who is your favourite dancer?
What is your favourite book?
The Power of One.
What is your favourite film?
Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth.
Which is your favourite city?
What do you like most about yourself?
My sense of humor.
What do you dislike about yourself?
My sense of humor – just kidding. Sometimes I don’t sit still enough.
What was your proudest moment?
The birth of my kids.
When and where were you happiest?
Probably the birth of my kids.
What or who is the greatest love of your life?
What is your greatest fear?
Losing a loved one.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Everything I want to change I feel like I can’t change, ha! That I would be more diligent, in some things.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Other than my kids, being the first male on either side of my family to go to and finish college.
What is your most treasured possession?
Kids are not possessions, right? Something that my grandfather left me, it’s an antique rifle, even though I don’t shoot, but it was my grandfather’s that he prided in.
What is your greatest extravagance?
Me. Ha! I travel, I love to travel, so I spend a lot of money on travel. Travel outside of work.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
That’s a hard question. Patience, I think.
On what occasion do you lie?
I try not to lie, but maybe I don’t give the whole truth when complimenting people at times.
If you hadn’t been a singer what would you have liked to be?
Either a sports reporter or in public relations.
What is your most marked characteristic?
I think that I’m easygoing.
What quality do you most value in a friend?
What quality do you most value in a colleague?
Commitment, being committed to what it is they’re doing, being serious.
Which historical figure do you most admire?
Martin Luther King Jr. and Harriet Tubman.
Which living person do you most admire?
What do you most dislike?
What talent would you most like to have?
Tying cherry stems with my tongue.
What’s your idea of perfect happiness?
Being content in whichever situation you’re in and trying to see the good in any situation.
How would you like to die?
What is your motto?
If you want it you can achieve it, work hard for it and you will attain it.
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.