When did you start singing?
When I was 6, in the chorus of my hometown in the Valle d’Aosta. A lady in my parish, Rita, invited me to sing and I was so happy… I looked forward to the rehearsals! When I was 16 I began to study at the conservatoire, and after that I met legendary baritone Giuseppe Valdengo, who became my voice teacher.
Why did you start singing?
I always loved to sing, and I started to sing simply because I felt inside me the desire to do it!
Which singer inspired you most when you were young?
Absolutely, Giuseppe Valdengo, my teacher, a legendary Falstaff with Arturo Toscanini and with whom I sang the duet with Ford and Sir John in concert! Another singer that inspired me when I was young was Piero Cappuccilli.
Which singer do you most admire?
I have to say Ludovic Tézier, a great voice and great artist!
What’s your favourite role? Rigoletto e Falstaff
Choosing is always difficult but Rigoletto and Falstaff.
What role have you never played but would like to?
There are so many, many characters that I would like to play: Renato in Un ballo in maschera, Jago in Otello or Simon Boccanegra… and many others.
What’s your favourite opera to watch?
Madama Butterfly and Turandot!
Who is your favourite composer?
Giuseppe Verdi and Giacomo Puccini!
Who is your favourite writer?
My favourite writer is Marguerite Yourcenar.
Who is your favourite theatre or film director?
Definitely Tim Burton.
Who is your favourite actor?
Who is your favourite dancer?
I love Andressa Miyazato!
What is your favourite book?
The Mémoires d’Hadrien by Yourcenar and Guy Maupassant’s short stories.
What is your favourite film?
Frank Darabont’s The Green Mile.
Which is your favourite city?
We travel a lot in our job, but my favourite cities are Paris and Shanghai.
What do you like most about yourself?
I love that I’m always looking for happiness and fun.
What do you dislike about yourself?
My melancholic side.
What was your proudest moment?
There were so many unforgettable moments but singing under the baton of Maestro Riccardo Muti was absolutely one of the moments when I felt most proud.
When and where were you happiest?
Fortunately, I have been happy at many times and in many places around the world.
What or who is the greatest love of your life?
What is your greatest fear?
My greatest fear is to drown.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Ahahaha, my body! I would love to be slim and toned… I know I could work on it, but I’m lazy and it’s hard!
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
How I manage life between my job and my family.
What is your most treasured possession?
Love and faith.
What is your greatest extravagance?
When I wear a tracksuit like a motivated sportsman (ahem!)
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
On what occasion do you lie?
When it’s really necessary.
If you hadn’t been a singer what would you have liked to be?
Maybe a chef or a doctor! Who knows?
What is your most marked characteristic?
My friendliness and being funny!
What quality do you most value in a friend?
Loyalty in the good times and the bad.
What quality do you most value in a colleague?
Which historical figure do you most admire?
Which living person do you most admire?
Faith has great importance in my life, and therefore I must say, Jesus Christ.
What do you most dislike?
Evil in a broad sense.
What talent would you most like to have?
I would like to be ubiquitous… more of a gift than a talent!
What’s your idea of perfect happiness?
A quiet place, a person that really loves me and to live in the present.
How would you like to die?
In peace and with serenity.
What is your motto?
Avanti tutta! Fullspeed ahead!
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.