SANTA FE, N.M. – “British Tenor Saves Night at Opera,” proclaimed the Each day Mail.
The opera was Puccini’s “Tosca,” and the tenor was then-28-year-old Freddie de Tommaso, leaping in at London’s Royal Opera Home when the scheduled singer withdrew after Act 1 due to sickness.
That was practically two years in the past. Now de Tommaso has simply made his U.S. debut on the Santa Fe Opera in the identical function, showing to enthusiastic applause on Aug. 12, 5 days after a bout of laryngitis compelled him to cancel his first efficiency. His closing efficiency is Saturday.
And he’ll return within the 2024-25 season for one more debut, this time on the Metropolitan Opera, the place he’ll once more be Tosca’s lover, Mario Cavaradossi.
In an interview on the opera home right here, de Tommaso mirrored on his profession to date and the “star is born” second in London that first introduced him headlines.
“So many people thought I was like an understudy or somebody they found walking down the street whistling ‘Tosca,’ and that wasn’t the case,” he recalled. Actually, he had been a part of the second forged and was already scheduled to carry out the function three nights later.
“But it was incredibly exciting,” he mentioned, his animated tone reflecting his exuberant persona. “From the moment I put my costume on until I took my bow two hours later, it felt like about 90 seconds.”
De Tommaso’s publicity to opera started whereas he was rising up in Tunbridge Wells, the place he sang in his college choir. His mom took him to performances and his Italian-born father, who ran a restaurant, serenaded diners with Luciano Pavarotti recordings.
As soon as he determined to check singing critically, he utilized to the Royal Academy of Music. Mark Wildman, who turned his trainer, remembers listening to him audition.
“My first impression of his voice was that it was a robust but rough-hewn diamond of a baritone voice with a surprisingly easy top for one so young,” Wildman mentioned. “He looked like a singer: big broad shoulders, barrel-chested, together with a very strong physique and a voice that matched.”
That simple prime bought simpler and better as de Tommaso’s research progressed, and Wildman finally steered his pupil may really be a tenor.
“I well remember his face lighting up as if he’d just received his most desired present on Christmas Day! And there was no holding him back,” Wildman mentioned.
De Tommaso immersed himself in recordings of nice tenors and borrowed what he might: Franco Corelli (“so virile”); Mario del Monaco (“The dramatic aspect”); Carlo Bergonzi (“I don’t think you’ll hear any more elegant singing”); Giacomo Lauri-Volpi (“His high C was literally huge.”)
“So I kind of made a trifle of singers,” de Tommaso mentioned, a joking reference to the standard English dessert during which a chef adorns sponge cake with no matter substances he likes, from fruit to jelly to custard to cream.
DeTommaso’s breakthrough got here at age 23 when — on a lark, to listen to him inform it — he entered the 2018 Tenor Viñas Worldwide Singing Competitors in Barcelona. He ended up successful three awards— the primary prize, the Verdi Prize and the Domingo Prize.
The response was fast. “It was mental, actually,” de Tommaso mentioned. “I remember afterwards being in the hotel in Spain and getting all these emails and Facebook messages from agents. Who are these people, I thought naively.”
Amongst these listening in Barcelona was Peter Katona, casting director for the Royal Opera.
“I was quite startled when I heard him,” Katona mentioned. “It was immediately clear that he was above everybody else in terms of vocal quality. Often with young singers, there’s something that is not quite there. With him, you could just lean back and enjoy his singing.”
Now at 30, he’s in demand in any respect the main European homes.
“It’s almost a little frightening that everything has been going so well for him,” Katona mentioned. “With such a special talent one is always wary that he can pick the wrong role, overstretch. So far he hasn’t put a foot wrong.”
For the approaching season he has two new roles: Pollione in Bellini’s “Norma” at Milan’s La Scala and Gabriele Adorno in Verdi’s “Simon Boccanegra” in Vienna.
And after his Met debut, he’ll be a frequent return customer to the New York home. Peter Gelb, the corporate’s common supervisor, referred to as him “part of a new wave of powerhouse tenors … that we hope will become Met mainstays of the future.”
At instances de Tommaso finds it painful to show down provides of latest roles as a result of they aren’t suited to his voice in its present stage. “I feel like a horse that’s ready to run, and when you’re called back, it can be a bit frustrating,” he mentioned.
“One of the most important words I’ve had to learn to say is ‘”No,’” de Tommaso mentioned, as he did when a German theater requested him to sing Radames in Verdi’s “Aida.” He advised them merely: “It’s too early.”
Too early as nicely is the head of the Verdi tenor repertory, the title function in “Otello.” It’s his dream to sort out it in “maybe five to 10 years.”
However sparingly. “These little bits of flesh, they can only take so much punishment for so long,” he mentioned pointing to his vocal cords. “And if you’re singing the most dramatic parts like Otello, you can’t keep it up forever. I would quite like to sing until I’m 55 or 60.”
With all of the pressures of a blooming worldwide profession, de Tommaso nonetheless marvels on the alternatives coming his manner.
“What a job I have!” he mentioned. “Just going around the world to places like Santa Fe, one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been.” He rattled off the listing of different spots the place he’s carried out this summer time: Verona, Italy; Verbier, Switzerland; Peralada, Spain.
In Santa Fe, de Tommaso has been spending a lot of his time between rehearsals and performances taking part in golf.
“I’m not very good, but the reason I like it is my life is so hectic, and when you play golf you can’t think about anything else but hitting that ball,” he mentioned. “Everything else takes a back seat just for the three hours.”
With such a crowded schedule, de Tommaso mentioned his supervisor has to remind him that he must take the occasional trip. “After five or six days I get itchy feet,” he mentioned.
Nonetheless he has managed to carve out time for his marriage ceremony subsequent month to soprano Alexandra Oomens, who was a fellow pupil on the Royal Academy.
They’re flying to Mauritius for his or her honeymoon, however even that has been tweaked to accommodate his profession.
“We were originally going to go for two weeks,” he mentioned. “But then I got a job, so we’re only going for 10 days.”
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