Tenor  Gualtiero  Negrini
A Conversation with Bruce Duffie


Tenor Gualtiero Negrini spent three seasons with the Lyric Opera School [now the Ryan Opera Center] in Chicago.  Not only did he study with renowned coaches and have opportunities to learn from the greatest singers and conductors and directors, as can be seen in the following chart he did the usual cadre of small roles with the company during the regular seasons and larger roles in the one-operetta spring seasons.  However, there is one noteworthy event -- where he stepped into a major role for one performance to replace an ailing colleague.  That was the single Così fan tutte of November 10, 1982. 
Gualtiero Negrini at Lyric Opera of Chicago
(Member of the Lyric Opera School)

Spring 1981 - Merry Widow (Viscount Cascada) with Lear, Jobin, Rosenshein, Langdon; Schaenen; Mansouri (director)

Fall 1981 - Samson et Dalila (First Philistine) with Cossutta, Minton, Krause, Kavrakos; Plasson
                  Ariadne auf Naxos (Officer) with Meier/Rysanek, Johns, Schmidt/Minton, Welting; Janowski
                  Don Quichotte (Bandit) with Ghiaurov, Gramm, Valentini-Terrani, Gordon; Fournet
                  Roméo et Juliette (Benvoglio) with Kraus, Freni, Raftery, Bruscantini; Fournet

Spring 1982 - Fledermaus (Alfred) with Brown, Langton, Jobin, Nolen, Malas; Schaenen; Mansouri (director)

Fall 1982 - Tales of Hoffmann (Nathanaël) with Kraus, Mittelmann, Welting, Zschau, Masterson, Cook; Bartoletti
                  Tristan und Isolde (Shepherd) with Vickers, Martin, Denize, Nimsgern, Sotin; Leitner
                          [Note: These two operas (Hoffmann and Tristan) alternated in repertoire from September 15 through October 18]
                   Così Fan Tutte (Ferrando) with Yakar, Howells, Hynes, Stilwell, Trimarchi; Rudel; Sciutti (director)
                          [One performance on November 10, replacing the indisposed Gösta Winbergh]

Spring 1983 - Mikado (Nanki-Poo) with Larson, Curry/Decker, Adams, Wildermann; Smith; Sellars (director)

Fall 1983 - Aïda (Messinger) with Tomowa-Sintow, Pavarotti/Giacomini, Cossotto, Wixell, Giaotti; Bartoletti
                  Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District (Nihilist) with Zschau, Trussel; Bartoletti

-- Note: Here and in the bio at the bottom, names which are links refer to interviews elsewhere on this website. 


His career would later include both coaching and conducting, as well as further performances in a wide range of things including more operas, movies and television, plus an eight-year run as Ubaldo Piangi in the West Coast production of The Phantom of the Opera.  Further details are presented in the biography which appears at the bottom of this webpage.

Because this interview took place just five days after the fortuitous Così performance, he relates the full circumstances leading up to and including that event . . . . .

Bruce Duffie:    Let's start out with your biggest news.  What's it like to step into a major role at the last minute?

Gualtiero Negrini:    There's a little background to the story.  I wasn't the cover for the role.  There was no official cover, although one of the other opera school people was studying the part along with the performance.  I sang on Wednesday the 10th, and on Friday the 5th I got a call.  I was at a friend's house cooking dinner and one of the people from Lyric management called wanting to know if I knew Così.  I told him that I had sung through it and had done some of the scenes.  I knew it with a score, but certainly not from memory.  So he asked if I could come and stand by during the second act to be ready in case Mr. Winbergh needed help.  He had severe bronchitis and had already agreed to cut the second aria (which is often cut, but he had been doing it).  We devised a plan for me to sing it with the score in the pit while Mr. Winbergh walked through it on stage.  So I came right down to the Opera House and went through the second act three times with an assistant conductor.  I stood by, but Mr. Winbergh finished the performance.  He saw me there backstage, but I'm not sure if he knew that I was actually there to cover for him.

negriniBD:    Perhaps Lyric felt he would give just a bit more if he thought there was no replacement.

GN:    Exactly.  So then the next day, I was backstage and nobody seemed to know for sure if I would be asked to cover the next performance or what.  They said for me to call Ardis Krainik, and I did.  [See my Interview with Ardis Krainik.]  She said yes, she would like me to be ready for the Wednesday performance.  So I arranged for rehearsals at the piano and also staging rehearsals.  For two days, I didn't hear anything about Mr. Winbergh.  Meanwhile, I was going over and over recitatives and was working until 3 AM on it, and on Tuesday morning, Bill Mason came into my rehearsal and asked how it was going.  I replied that it was coming just fine, and he said that they had been trying to locate someone else to do the role, but no one was available.  So if Mr. Winbergh could not sing, I would go on.  I feigned nonchalance, and a few minutes later Mason returned while I was singing through a duet.  He listened as I worked, and I was trying as hard as I could so sound wonderful and make it look easy at the same time.  When I finished that section he said, "Sing it that well tomorrow and you'll be OK."  Needless to say, I was in seventh heaven.  I went and got fitted for the costume, but then Mr. Winbergh called again to say he was feeling a bit better and he would see the doctor early Wednesday and let the company know.  Well, I was simply deflated.  I didn't know really whether I would be going on or not, and that night, I tossed and turned and probably didn't sleep a wink.  I thought back to the fact that never before had Lyric asked a student to step into a major part.  I also remember that really great tenors had sung the role in earlier productions, and no way was this going to happen to me!  Finally the morning arrived and I had a rehearsal with Julius Rudel.  We went into the Civic Theater and ran through the first three trios, and he asked me to sing the first aria.  I wanted to do some decorations that Mr. Winbergh didn't do, and he liked them so he let me do them.

BD:    Did you sing the second aria, also?

GN:    I knew it, but considering all the circumstances we decided not to do it, which left me just that much more able to sing all the rest of the role.  The other tenors in the house -- Veriano Luchetti and Guiliano Ciannella -- were very encouraging and warm about the whole thing.  Even though I was just doing this one performance, I decided to come on and do it as well as I could, and get everything just as fine and as right as I possibly could.  Anyway, this rehearsal was on the morning of the performance, and I still don't know if I was going to sing or not.  I had this image in my mind of Mr. Winbergh in the doctor's office having the physician peer down his throat.  But finally, one of the people from the rehearsal department came in and said, "You're on tonight," and Rudel said, "Well, good luck.  I'll see you in the pit."  Mr. Winbergh was on the phone and wanted to speak to me.  Normally he has a bright tenor voice with a Swedish accent, but he really sounded dry and hoarse.  He wished me well for the performance, and said not to push in the first act but to wait for the aria and give everything there.  He reminded me that the staging in the first act was hectic.  I spent the rest of the afternoon until 5:30 memorizing the second act recitatives.  I knew the music, but all the recitatives were a problem.  They finally put me in Maestro Bartoletti's office to rest on the couch, and of course there was a great deal of scurrying and excitement all around.  This kind of thing had never happened before in Lyric's history.

BD:    But they had decided on you several days before, rather than calling New York for a substitute.

GN:    They did call around, but as Ardis said they didn't try very hard.  It was a joint decision -- Ardis and Bruno and the agents.  I had sung in the Fledermaus and had a good reception.  Finally 7:30 came and I was in my dressing room.  They borrowed Luchetti's humidifier, and Maestro Baracchi, the head coach who had been for many years at La Scala, told me to not talk and not sing; just concentrate on the first three trios and not worry about the rest of the opera as yet.  I did everything he told me and the others in the cast wished me well.  Everybody else was nervous and I wasn't the least bit nervous.  I had been much more nervous in the Fledermaus!  But I did feel very much like Rocky in the ring -- everything depended on my performance that night.  If I was a success, then I would be the fine tenor who stepped in on just four days notice.  If I didn't do well, they'd never trust a major part to a member of the school again.  I wasn't nervous; I was raring to go, and it went well.  The only panic came when I skipped some rests and sang a few phrases together rather than waiting in between.  The prompter was saying, "Gualtiero, don't sing."  Rudel was motioning to me and I could feel everyone onstage freeze up suddenly.  They thought I'd lost it completely, but it was just one mistake.  From then on, they all saw that I was having a wonderful time with it and it was a wonderful night.

BD:    So you enjoyed it while it was going on?

GN:    Oh yes.  I knew what I had seen in rehearsals and capitalized on various moments and added some schtick of my own.

BD:    You didn't experiment out there, did you???

GN:    Well... maybe in a couple spots where I was completely sure and had an open space around me so I wouldn't mess anyone else up.  They couldn't stop me then!

BD:    Was Miss Krainik there?

GN:    Everybody was there.  She was there, the whole Opera Center was there, and everyone was praying for me.

BD:    Were they more nervous than you were?

GN:    Yes, they were.  That was confirmed opinion after the performance that everybody was more nervous than I was.

BD:    You had never actually done the before, though.

GN:    I had done scenes in English, but I had been saturated with it for four days.

BD:    You speak Italian fluently, so the recitatives came easily.

GN:    That was the big point in my favor, and helped the memorizing because I knew what I was saying.  If it had been in German or French, it would have been much more difficult.  And if I forgot a word, I threw in another word that made sense.

BD:    You can think in Italian.

GN:    Yes, I was thinking in Italian the whole time.

BD:    Did you rely on the prompter?

GN:    Yes, very much so on specific points where I knew in advance that I would need help.  But I know I worried her and also Rudel because I have very good peripheral vision and could see them even though I was looking very much away.  They called to say to watch, but I could see perfectly well.  It was all quite an experience.

negriniBD:    You feel you had a success?

GN:    Everybody said it went well and I was ecstatic.  That's not self-praising, but I was ecstatic that I'd gotten the chance to be out there in this great big playground.

BD:    Had you thought of it as a playground before?

GN:    Yes, and the sets are these great big toys.  I've always looked at it that way.  It's like baseball or football -- if you practice enough, they let you play.

BD:    Did Danny Newman make the announcement or was there a strip in the program?

GN:    No, Danny came by that day and said he had to fly to some meeting, and was really sorry he couldn't make the announcement for me.  Earl Schub went before the curtain and said that the tenor, Gosta Winbergh had severe bronchitis and the part would be sung by Gualtiero Negrini.

BD:    So he didn't say you were with the Opera School?

GN:    No, and I'm glad because maybe a couple hundred people knew who I was, but everybody else thought this Italian tenor had come in just for this, and I was judged by those standards.

BD:    Was this the right role for you at the right time?

GN:    Yes, or it could have been Almavivia in the Barber.

BD:    But not Pinkerton.

GN:    Right.  I just turned down a Pinkerton in one of the major regional companies.

BD:    How do you decide which roles to accept and which to reject?

GN:    There's one rule that I always follow about that.  When I learn a role, I sit down with the coach and sing my part four times without a break.  If I can do that and not feel too tired, then the role is OK for me.  You still have to consider the orchestration and whether or not the voice will cut through it.  Pinkerton was tempting -- good money and a good cast -- but I'm being very careful.

BD:    Did Lyric give you the option of accepting this assignment or turning it down?

GN:    I think they assumed that I didn't want an option, and they were right.

BD:    You wouldn't rather have had this Così in the smaller Civic Theater next door?

GN:    No.  Actually the acoustic in the big house is much better.  But I'd been brought up on this whole business.  My parents and grandparents were all opera singers -- professional or not, they all sang -- and they used to tell me how to place the voice forward to use my "loud-speaker" and not to sing upstage or in the wings, and always sing facing out and how to position the body to look elegant within the scene but still to sing out to the audience.  So I'm very conscious of all of that.

BD:    Do you look for a solid piece of scenery to sing in front of?

GN:    No, I look for that "fourth wall" and go there.

BD:    Do you hear the voice come back at you in this theater?

GN:    In this house you can.  I remember in my big aria that night, I couldn't hear the orchestra at all.  All I could hear was my voice.  I could hear it go out, and when the phrase ended I could hear the echo for a second.  It was very strange -- I felt like I was singing unaccompanied.

BD:    Was Rudel holding the orchestra back too much?

GN:    No, I think it was just where my concentration was.  Maestro Baracchi told me to concentrate in that aria to make the most beautiful sounds I could possibly make.  That was there my concentration was.

*     *     *     *     *

BD:    Besides Almaviva and Ramiro in Cenerentola, what other roles might you be able to do in just a few days?

negriniGN:    Not all that many -- maybe ten or fifteen, and mostly in the Rossini/Donizetti repertoire.  Ardis and I have had long talks about what I should be singing, and next year will be my year to audition in specific places in Europe for bel canto roles that use a lot of the very high part of the voice, and a lot of coloratura.

BD:    Do you want to be known as a Rossini tenor?

GN:    For a while, I do.  I say for a while because I don't know what will happen with my voice.  I can say what I want to do right now, but later, who knows?

BD:    Do you like these characters, or would you rather be a baritone and get to kill somebody every night?

GN:    What I would really rather be is a bass-baritone to sing Mefistofeles.  My dad was that kind of voice and I grew up accompanying him on the piano.  Those roles are so vivid in my mind.  I worked with Rush Tully (also of the opera school) on Alfonso, so that's another reason I knew Così so well.  I love to listen to Cesare Siepi.

BD:    Are there other singers who are inspirations to you?

GN:    Sure -- Alfredo Kraus.  I will be going to Milan for auditions, and I'll spend a couple of days with Luigi Alva.  Listening to him and Corena on records is where I learned recitative style.

BD:    How much do you rely on recordings to learn roles?

GN:    Less now than before.  I didn't really rely on them, I just love listening to voices.  But as I find more about my own sound, I listen less to others.  Last year I was off the track for two months because I idolize Alfredo Kraus and was doing too many things the way he did them.  At one point he said to me that certain things work for him and not for others.  There are many basic things -- breathing and phrasing and so forth -- that every singer must do, but in the end, you must do what is best for you.

BD:    Do you listen to recordings of your own voice?

GN:    Yes.  I study how I sing by hearing tapes.

BD:    Are you happy with what you hear?

GN:    Not all the time, no.  On the other hand, I don't know if I'd like to have a pirate tape of that Così because it was such a very special thing for me that I don't want to sit and criticize it.

BD:    Let it live in your mind?

GN:    Yes, as that magic moment.  I know what I did, and I did the best I could.  In those four days, I was chastising myself enough.  I think I should leave that experience for what it was.  The main thing I was going to do until I was 17 was be a conductor.  I was going to be the next Toscanini.  I still play piano occasionally -- my parents have a little pick-up opera troupe, and recently I played the piano for their Faust.

BD:    Will that help you if you ever sing that role?

GN:    Yes, but I'll still be concerned with everybody else's parts.

BD:    Are you (or any singer) too close to your own voice to be objective about it?

GN:    That's a good question.   I try to be as objective as I can in a factual way, first looking at each note and making adjustments.  Then I put it in automatic drive and sing from the heart.

BD:    Have you ever coached someone else in what is to be your role?

GN:    Yes, but rarely.  Usually I coach baritone or bass, or soprano or mezzo.

BD:    Does it take a man to teach a man and a woman to teach a woman?

GN:    Another good question -- one that I've asked myself often.  It certainly helps, especially in the discussion of registers.  I think that anyone has problems with the other gender because of a lack of having felt the problems and results.  However, anyone who has worked with the other gender and understands can be helpful. 

*     *     *     *     *

BD:    Is there a secret to doing Mozart?

GN:    Mozart is one of these creators who has the ability to make you laugh and cry at the same time.  It's like looking at Charlie Chaplain -- you see something so funny you start to cry, or you see something so sad that you start to laugh.  That emotion is in between -- bittersweet is a poor word for it.  Another thing in Mozart is that there was censorship.  He would have a line of text that was perfectly acceptable, but underline it with some kind of absurd musical phrase that would make his point.  You can discuss all of Don Giovanni from that point of view -- does Mozart like the Don or not?

negriniBD:    OK, so let's discuss Così for another minute -- who should end up with whom?

GN:    Good question!  I've had to rationalize it for myself in the sense of my motivation for the duet and seducing Fiordiligi being greatly based on my anger at Guglielmo.  If he can do it with my Dorabella, watch me with his Fiordiligi.  I think I should end up with Dorabella, and I don't think Guglielmo is that much in love with Dorabella that he still isn't going to give most of his attention to Fiordiligi.

BD:    If a director in another production wanted you to wind up the other way, what would you do?

GN:    At this point in my career I'd do whatever the director wanted.  Of course, there are the feelings of the women to consider . . .

BD:    Who do the women really want?

GN:    I haven't looked at it from that point of view.  I see the bet of the men, and it's their game.  But there are lots of things to be asked in Così.  For instance, why are two 15-year-olds living aloine with a maid who is often playing to be younger than they are?  And if they are not already married to these guys, why does Fiordiligi have the officer's uniform in her closet?

BD:    If you could start rehearsing tomorrow for any role at all, what would it be?

GN:    Hoffmann.  There's so much to that character to bring out.

BD:    So you would rather have a good acting part than just a great singing part?

GN:    Yes.

BD:    But you're a Rossini tenor and there's not that much acting in those roles.

GN:    There can be, though.  This sounds very pretentious, but I'm attempting to bring more to those roles.  I find Così very erotic.  There are many subtleties that can be brought out to make each character very sensual.  There are word-plays that can be very erotic.

BD:    Could that be brought out in translation?

GN:    That kind of thing would be lost because the puns don't translate.

BD:    Does opera ever work in translation?

GN:    I think so.  I'm not ready to castigate people for doing opera in English.  One opera I love in English in a small theater is Bohème.  It can be played so intimately.

BD:    Is that a role for you?

GN:    I've been offered it and I think I'll do it later in my career.  I'm trying now to even out my voice.  It's like a pizza dough with a great chunk here and another there, and now I'm trying to make it more uniform.  At twenty-one years of age, that's how it should be.

BD:    Do you enjoy singing?

GN:    Oh yes.  I can't think of anything more exposing than getting on the stage and singing emotion.

BD:    [With a gentle nudge]  Are you a ham?

GN:    If you need to be a ham to expose yourself, then I'm a ham.  I don't think music can have its full effect unless you can be a transmitter.  I see the music like a blueprint to create again that state of emotion.  I think that's what we're after.  If all else fails, read the instructions, read the score.

BD:    Do you do any contemporary music?

GN:    Yes, very much.  I'm working on one of the roles in Wozzeck for possible performance, and I may have the chance to sing Albert Hering.  I did the Chicago premiere of Mavra by Stravinsky at the University of Chicago this year.  I did Mavra -- my first transvestite role -- and that was an experience.  Another role I'd like to do is Tom Rakewell.

*     *     *     *     *

BD:    Let me ask you about the Opera School.  Leaving aside your special experience of being able to sing this major role in an emergency, do you think that it's a good thing for Lyric to do?  And is it a good thing for the singers?

GN:    For me, it's been a very valuable experience.

BD:    Is playing the shepherd in Tristan good experience?

negriniGN:    Yes it is, because while you're doing the shepherd, you're watching the greatest Tristan of this century, and you're working with one of the greatest Wagner conductors.  And it looks good on your resume because Lyric is a major house and you're working with major people.  Another great thing about the school is the wonderful coaching staff.  Maestro Baracchi accompanied Tito Schipa and Nicolai Gedda, and Maestro Schaenen played lessons for Giuseppe De Luca.  An opinion from them means a great deal. 

BD:    You've been in the school for two years.  Is that enough?

GN:    That depends on what you're looking for in the school.  If you want to be ready to sing these roles when you leave, then you should stay ten years.  I try to get as much out of each place I'm in, and now I'll look for a small house in Switzerland where I can sing some of these roles over and over again to really learn them and to perfect my craft.

BD:    Do you dream of singing leading parts in the really big houses.

GN:    [Savoring the words]  Oh yes!  Ardis is the kind of person who pays attention to what a person thinks about his work.  She has her own opinions, but also considers the person's opinion.  She will say, "I would like you to sing this role.  Do you think you can do it?"

BD:    Did you know Carol Fox?

GN:    I auditioned for her to come here, but I didn't really know her.  People have told me that I would not have gone on in the Così if Carol had still been here.

BD:    Do you wish all the other tenors in this repertoire would drop dead?

GN:    Oh no, but I do hope they all cancel a few performances here and there so I get a break.

BD:    Are there enough performances being done for all of you?

GN:    I think, so.  There's a lack of this kind of tenor.  Compare the number of tenors for Cenerentola and Bohème.  There are lots of Rudolfos and very few Ramiros.

BD:    Is your high C fun or a chore?

GN:    Oh it's fun.  I enjoy it.

BD:    You never ask to have things transposed?

GN:    Up maybe.

BD:    How's your high D?

GN:    It's there.

BD:    If you do Puritani, will you sing the high F?

GN:    Yes.

BD:    Really ???

GN:    As a matter of fact, I just did that on an audition with the F.

BD:    It's a weird note.

GN:    Dramatically, it works.  That's my dream, to take a moment that is so death-defying and work it into something dramatic.

BD:    You're very much into dramatics in opera.  Does opera work in concert?

GN:    [Pauses a moment]  Yes, I think it does.  You have to have very intelligent singers or such incredible voices that people don't care about anything else.

BD:    Are you optimistic about the future of opera?

GN:    Yes.  We've gone through a time of great experimentation in opera, trying to revitalize the works.  We have gotten into a pattern of forgetting the voice and asking only that the person look the part as it fits into the concept.  But we're coming back to singers who sound good as well as look good.

BD:    Are you today where you thought you'd be a year ago?

GN:    I'm today where a year ago I thought I'd be five years from now.  It's always slow when you're in the middle of it, but I look back and see how far I've come in these two years.


Gualtiero "Wally" Negrini (born January 24, 1961) is an American singer, actor, conductor, director and internationally renowned vocal coach of Irish-Italian heritage. His great uncle, the tenor Carlo Negrini, created the role of Gabriele Adorno for Giuseppe Verdi, in the premiere of Simon Boccanegra in Venice in 1857.

Negrini began his studies at a very early age as a pianist and conductor under teachers such as Berlin Philharmonic conductor Fritz Zweig, soon conducting his first performance at the age of 13, a two-piano performance of Madama Butterfly with a small local Los Angeles opera company. In his subsequent teen years, he continued conducting local productions of Don Pasquale, Faust, and Lucia di Lammermoor. Negrini made his singing debut at age 15, as Dr. Malatesta in a production of Don Pasquale mounted by a small company known as L'Opera Comique, a group begun by his father, the bass Luciano Negrini, and his mother, the mezzo-soprano Clare Mary Young. In 1978, he graduated from Daniel Murphy High School. At the age of 17, he made his tenor debut as Paolino in USC Opera's production of Il matrimonio segreto. While at USC Opera Workshop, he also did work as a repertoire coach, rehearsing the likes of later Metropolitan Opera singers Suzanna Guzman mezzo-soprano and Thomas Hampson baritone .

Soon afterward, at age 19, he became a finalist in the 1980 Lyric Opera of Chicago auditions, alongside his own student, bass-baritone Rush Tully. There, he was later mentored by Walter Baracchi, the noted repetiteur who had been with Lyric Opera of Chicago for a decade, and Milan's La Scala since the late 1950s. This launched a professional singing career for Negrini. Among his most successful performances are his portrayal of the "rock star" Nanki-Poo in Peter Sellars's updated production of The Mikado and his rendition of Don Ramiro in the Gian-Carlo Menotti production of La Cenerentola at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. - a role he would eventually perform over 100 times. During this period he also performed the role of David in Die Meistersinger with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under Erich Leinsdorf.

He made history at Lyric Opera of Chicago, when in 1982 at the age of 21, he replaced Gösta Winbergh as Ferrando in Così fan tutte, making him the youngest tenor ever to sing a leading role there.  In the late 1980s, while continuing to sing throughout the United States, in such roles as Hoffmann in The Tales of Hoffmann, Lord Percy in Anna Bolena and Dick Johnson in La fanciulla del West, he was approached by Hal Prince to re-create the role of Ubaldo Piangi in Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera, for its Los Angeles premiere. This would take Negrini through 8 years and over 3,000 performances of that role, in both Los Angeles and San Francisco.

In the early 1990s he began conducting again, founding the Opera Orchestra of Los Angeles with business partner Donald Rivers. With that organization he conducted Verdi's Attila, Puccini's Turandot with Met stars Ghena Dimitrova and Giuliano Ciannella, and An Evening with Jerry Hadley, a gala concert featuring Metropolitan Opera tenor. He has also conducted local Los Angeles productions of Tosca, La bohème, Madama Butterfly, and Carmen.


While continuing to sing in such performances as A Gala Vienna New Year's Eve with the San Francisco Symphony under conductor Yves Abel and alongside soprano Lisa Vroman, and the role of Martin in Aaron Copland's The Tender Land for the Cabrillo Music Festival, he also began producing recordings. Some of the best known of these are Broadway Classic which he also conducted, starring Lisa Vroman, and Dangerous Type, starring jazz singer and actress Bettina Devin. In the past two decades, he has maintained teaching studios in both Los Angeles and San Francisco, working with such widely varying talents as Metropolitan Opera tenor Raul Hernandez, Bettina Devin of the film Rent, tenor Franc D'Ambrosio of Godfather III fame, TV and stage star Nancy Dussault, Broadway singing actresses Lisa Vroman, Aneka Noni Rose and Karen Morrow, and the Tony Award-winning Dame Edna.


In the Fall of 2009, he guest starred on the HBO TV series Curb Your Enthusiasm, as an amiable opera-singing restaurant owner who was rudely interrupted by Larry David. In March of 2010 he played Tony in Frank Loesser's The Most Happy Fella to great acclaim with the Silicon Valley Symphony (formerly San Jose Symphony). His longtime friend and colleague Lisa Vroman was his Rosabella. In 2011 he performed the role of William Randolph Hearst in the musical W.R. & Daisy, of which he also recorded excerpts. The same year he filmed the leading role of Mr. Benedict in the Indie thriller No One Will Know.

In October 2012 he made a guest appearance as Louie on the Fox TV series Bones.


He is also now (2013) in his fourth year as resident conductor of the Opera Arts Festival in Palm Desert, California.


© 1982 Bruce Duffie

This interview was recorded in the Green Room of the Opera House in Chicago on November 15, 1982.  The transcription was made published in Opera Scene Magazine in March, 1983.  It was slightly re-edited, the chart and bio and photos were added, and it was posted on this website in 2013.

To see a full list (with links) of interviews which have been transcribed and posted on this website, click here.

Award - winning broadcaster Bruce Duffie was with WNIB, Classical 97 in Chicago from 1975 until its final moment as a classical station in February of 2001.  His interviews have also appeared in various magazines and journals since 1980, and he now continues his broadcast series on WNUR-FM, as well as on Contemporary Classical Internet Radio.

You are invited to visit his website for more information about his work, including selected transcripts of other interviews, plus a full list of his guests.  He would also like to call your attention to the photos and information about his grandfather, who was a pioneer in the automotive field more than a century ago.  You may also send him E-Mail with comments, questions and suggestions.