Marcelo Alvarez: Astana Opera House is on the level with Metropolitan Opera
This spring is truly special as the great premiere of Giacomo Puccini’s Tosca featuring the distinguished guest opera singers including Marcelo Alvarez, Anna Pirozzi, Alberto Mastromarino was held at the Astana Opera House. Marcelo Alvarez, an audience favorite, the inimitable, world-famous tenor of our time who performed the part of Cavaradossi gave an exclusive interview.
You have a very big fan club almost like a pop star. What do you think why this happens so?
I am happy that I have a lot of fans. But I must admit that I have never paid for the promotion. These people just love the art, opera and my performance. When I leave the theatre, the fans are always waiting for me and they are all young people for the most part. If you are honest withthe ??audience, they feel it. This is the golden rule.
What is your impression of the Astana Opera House?
I was interested to come to this opera house as for me it is on the level with the Metropolitan Opera. When I received an offer to perform the part of Cavaradossi here, I was thinking it over as this is a new theatre and it is only gaining momentum. But when I arrived, I saw how everything is prepared, the level of preparation and all the anxiety disappeared. My Kazakh colleagues have tremendous energy and desire to work that is very important. I have been working in the theatre for a few days but I saw that the people, who work here, are ready to give the best of their energy rehearsing on stage.
Is the opera turned into the opera industry?
Yes, for the most part. Unfortunately, the classical opera became the industry for many singers, but not for me. I perform only for my audience.
You perform Cavaradossi in Tosca who involved into the political vortex. As for you, do you follow the news on what is happening in the world? Are there any politicians whom you sympathize and who are they?
Unfortunately, I do not have time to get involved into politics. I live at home maximum one month in a year. I work all over the world. I got acquainted with various ministers and presidents. We are the gypsies, high-class gypsies. Thanks God, a lot of people know me. In regards to the work at the theatre, if I do not like something, I will speak openly. For example, you said about the three tenors recognized the world wide. But I do not like this thing concerning the number of great tenors. This is the system of pressure which enables other singers to reveal their talents.
There is such a pressure system in each field not only in the opera. There are a lot of things which I do not like. I mean the prices and expenses that we have in the theatres. I always speak about this openly but the greatest theaters invite me for performing. And you know why, because the audience chooses me. If the great tenor Domingo at least once said that we are all the slaves of the system, everybody will listen to him and there would be no young people who sing for pennies. I always tell the truth and I will. For example, how was the Astana Opera House founded? If President Nursultan Nazarbayev had not insisted on his own ground and had given an order to build a theatre, this theater would not be built now. There is always an engine that leads the rest. In my example, I can say that if you see that the action has started, it is better not to interfere, not to interrupt with the speeches in the work of other people.
Are there any love affairs, scandals in the art of opera?
Yes, everything happens and you can see it on TV. However, for example, there can be an office romance between the employees in a bank like in any other fields. The most important thing is what we see on the stage not behind the stage.
Why the viewer goes to the opera today?
Many people go to the opera in order to be an esthete who attends good performances. Once I was lucky enough to reveal my love for opera, however, it happened too late. I was the owner of a furniture factory in Argentina before I was 30 years old. Then I realized that this business is not my cup of tea and I am a different person. I found my place in life and my mission. It is difficult to become a good singer in Kazakhstan and in Argentina, and anywhere else in the world. I would like to wish each of you to find something for your preference and choice. Many people laughed at me including my dad who said: ‘Let him to sing his songs there’. He did not take seriously my lessons. My friends laughed at me as I started to sing too late and it was very difficult for me.
How tenors are recognized in Italy?
Tenor is the favorite of the opera. This is the most difficult type of voice. We are the only soloists who speak and sing differently. The tenor’s distinctive feature is that women are fond of them. There are beautiful women in Kazakhstan and I am happy to be among them.
You do not like to be separated from your family for a long period. Is it difficult without them now?
I was in St. Petersburg before coming to Astana and my family was with me there. Unfortunately, they had to come back as a child had to go to school. But they always travel with me to all the parts of the world. I am one of those who is in need of family, love of family. Perhaps, I could not be a singer without my family. Now famous people are embarrassed to talk about their families, it is sign of weakness for them but it is strength for me.
Thank you for the interview!