Alex Esposito, four villains in one at Les Arts


The Italian bass-baritone Alex Esposito is as appreciated for his vocal qualities as for his brilliant performances. Now he arrives for the first time at the Palau Les Arts to interpret the four
Villains of Les Contes d'Hoffmann.
Claimed by the world's leading opera houses, we are looking forward to checking in
Spain how good it is doing bad.

Brío Clásica: He now arrives in Valencia to present Les Contes d'Hoffmann at Les Arts, interpretando Lindorf, Coppelius, The Doctor and The Captain. He looks very comfortable playing these “devil” roles, Are you attracted to these types of characters??

Alex Esposito: Yes, I will play the four roles of the devil in Les Contes d’Hoffmann… I have always been fascinated by evil characters… when I went to see horror movies as a child, I was always attracted by the capacity that the evil one had, the murderer, the devil… of exercising that terror in people… I felt a great fascination for those directors and those actors who, through its technique and interpretation, they had the ability to create this great fear and terror... So I've always been drawn to those evil roles because, especially, I think they are more interesting, since there would be no plot if there was no evil character, and evil is a bit the triggering motor of the plot, of the drama… I also think that the devilish part of ourselves is the most interesting, because it is the most transgressive, the spiciest... is, definitely, our dark side, that in the end is the one we like the most… And I think that most of the public is attracted to these characters, From a psychological point of view...

B.C: His repertoire is wide, from Mozart to Verdi, passing by Rossini, Donizetti, Gounod, Offenbach o Berlioz, among many others. What is that character you dream of playing?, if it hasn't arrived yet?

A.E: Yes, I have always liked to experiment… Mozart, Rossini, Stravinsky, Verdi… actually, Verdi I have recently started doing it... I always try to choose the roles knowingly, and before risking anything I prefer to say no… There is a role that I would like to debut in the future, and that in reality it was already scheduled but COVID canceled it... it is the villain par excellence, the Mefistofele of Boito… In addition, I would also like to experience other forms of entertainment… I am not saying that I would like to make movies, because I don't know if I have the capacity, but I have had on several occasions the possibility of doing things with cameras in that sense, even in this production of Les Contes d’Hoffmann here in Valencia and also in another production where cameras were also used during the live performance, and I really liked doing things with this mysterious object that has only one eye, as if he were a polyphemus, that observes you and that through a mechanism launches you to millions of people...

B.C: You are a renowned Rossinian and Mozartian interpreter, even verdean, What do you think each of them contributes?? Y, From a technical point of view, do you think that an order can be established when interpreting them or does it depend more on the vocal characteristics?

A.E: Yes, Indeed, I have interpreted Rossini and Mozart a lot before arriving at Donizetti and Verdi... I don't think there is a pre-established path since each one of us develops his own path and establishes his own bases to reach certain objectives... but I can affirm that Mozart and Rossini have been for me the basis of theater, because with recitatives it's practically prose... There's a lot of talk, there is a tug of war, the action happens in the recitatives, because in the arias and duets we attend only the contemplative phase, but the theater itself is in the recitative... With Mozart and Rossini you learn to be on stage, because you don't have to follow an orchestra, and therefore you can take your time to say things, to make the phrasing in the recitative... in short, you have a lot of autonomy and a lot of room for inventiveness and interpretation… … I think Mozart is a true Master of the theater, of interpretation...

B.C: Rossini is a very present author throughout his entire career, which Rossini do you like more, the serious or the buffo?

A.E: Well, my relationship with Rossini is strange because when I look at a score and I see Gioacchino Rossini's name written, i get sick (laughs), because Rossini never writes easy things (laughs), but in the end it always gives you great satisfaction… With Rossini you can't improvise anything, because the rossinian song is like the game of dominoes that when you have all the tiles lined up, if you throw one, they all fall... It's about, definitely, of a game of balancing and tightrope walking, that requires great concentration and great control of one's own vocal organ… Rossini is a great Master of singing… what if I prefer the serious Rossini or the buffo? The truth is that I have sung quite a bit of Rossini buffo, so I prefer the serious Rossini for everything he has written for my vocalità, but when I attend or listen to an opera as a spectator, I like to see my colleagues buffi, because I also really like that other type of writing.

B.C: His beginnings in opera are wrapped in a halo of a certain lyrical romanticism, a young spectator at the Teatro alla Scala, dreaming of being a protagonist on stage. This being a singer, it's how i imagined it? Is there something you have discovered in this career that you could not have imagined then??

A.E: Yes, That's right... I fell in love with lyrical opera when I went to see Nabucco at La Scala when I was eleven years old and I was convinced that this was going to be my world, and I am very glad that it turned out that way… When the curtain rises, one sees all the pretty things, sees the result… but inside it is a very hard world, that requires a lot of sacrifice and it is fair that the viewer sees only the beautiful part, because when he goes to the theater, have to enjoy, relax, and obviously he doesn't know all the effort behind it... actually, there is a month and a half of joint work, in addition to months of prior preparation for a role... And all this to put on a show that is consumed in three hours, and that is done live every night, that is to say, it's not a movie, so if one sees ten performances of the same production, You will never see ten equal performances…

B.C: With the perspective of the years and a consolidated career, what would you say to those young people who, like you, attend a performance and dream of being on stage? What should they do and what shouldn't they?

A.E: Well, I would be excited to know that they have also experienced the same feeling as me., and I would tell them that they have to be aware that the life of the lyrical singer, is something you really have to want, whatever it takes, and that therefore it is not a job but a vocation... The advice I could give is that they not only study singing because singing counts for a 50% about him 100% of the result… you also have to know how to be on stage, know the techniques of theater, interpret… because lyrical works are not done as they were twenty or thirty years ago… You need to be informed, go to the theater, to whom, meet the great actors... because what you see on stage is the result of a whole cultural background that is acquired over the years...

B.C: 2020 had very intense moments, also professionally, how do you remember Donizetti's Requiem that you performed in Bergamo?

A.E: Yes, Donizetti's Requiem in the Bergamo cemetery was perhaps one of the things that has moved me the most in my career… it is not something that I can consider as a professional commitment, because it was more of a memory of the disaster that happened… I could say that for me the theater life closed on 22 February 2020, when the Teatro alla Scala lowered the curtain in front of my eyes, and then it opened when I did that concert in front of the Bergamo cemetery after everything that had happened… The days we did the rehearsals were days of great emotion because we were precisely in that place and we were in contact with workers from the Bergamo cemetery, who told us really incredible things... also, I am from Bergamo, so it touched me especially...

B.C: How is the return to the stage after events like the ones we have experienced?

A.E: The return to the stage was very beautiful and exciting because it's like when you go back to school, after a flu, for example, and you meet again with all your friends, you return to your environment… It seemed as if I liked my profession even more, because as with all the things you own, you don't really care until you see that you can lose them... It was like it was all new, because at that time the health protocols were even stricter and it was not very well known how to treat all this... now we are vaccinated and everything is much less burdensome...

B.C: What are the great performers you have noticed throughout your career?

A.E: The truth is that I don't have a particular reference interpreter... I could say Cesare Siepi and Samuel Ramey, but everyone has something and everyone lacks something... There is no perfect voice, the perfect interpreter… defects become characteristics… I have always liked to listen to everyone… it makes me laugh when I hear those ridiculous phrases like “there are no interpreters like they used to be”, that respond more to nostalgia for past times than to a true analysis of things... I think there is something good in all of them, and something less good but, in general, it is very nice to meet, hear, without taking as a model, but listening to him to get to know the profession and get an idea of ​​what was done.

B.C: It is said that deep and quality voices, like yours, are becoming more and more scarce. Do you agree with this opinion?, if so, why do you think this is happening?

A.E: I don't think there is a shortage of deep voices... the matter itself is not scarce but rather the perspective of this matter... I mean that the deep voice is a voice that matures over the years, and the older you get, it gets more interesting… Anyway, I think it's not so much a question of voice but of an artist to 360 grades… debuting Don Giovanni is not difficult from a vocal point of view, but it is difficult from an interpretive point of view… it is a very dangerous role… you stumble in each part, that's why I've never wanted to do it... I did it once when I was young in a provincial theater in Italy but I swore to myself that until I find a director who offers me a satisfactory reading, I will not do it again… because in the roles there is not only the vocal aspect, But all aspects must be taken into account., as I said before… and to play certain roles you need vocal and intellectual maturity…

B.C: What is the first thing you consider when choosing a new role?

A.E: The first thing is to see if the role that is proposed to me is made for me, and so I watch the music, the tessitura, and all the characteristics that are needed to know if it is so… I do a general study of the character, to know where it comes from, who has interpreted it, I go to different pianists and friends whom I trust to help me in the preparation, and I try to make the debut in an ideal context, which not only means that it is in a prestigious theater, but also that there is a great stage director and a great conductor with a preparation... it is also important that he has the necessary time for rehearsals... I do not study the role only in a month... as we are lucky enough to know our planning for years in advance, I study the roll in small doses… sometimes, it is necessary to let it rest to resume it later...

B.C: And when they present a new production, What is your opinion of some of the current scenery?

A.E: I have worked with great stage directors, from the most classic to the most groundbreaking, but it's not that I love modern staging and hate the classic ones, or vice versa… I like smart scenery, and I hate conventional and decorative sets… I like the idea… I mean that a set can wear period costumes but it can have a conception and a freshness that, sometimes, are better than those of a modern set… I don't like art that comforts, because I think that when one leaves the theater happy, and he goes to the pizzeria and starts talking about something else, and he goes to the pizzeria and starts talking about something else, and he goes to the pizzeria and starts talking about something else, and he goes to the pizzeria and starts talking about something else, and he goes to the pizzeria and starts talking about something else

B.C: and he goes to the pizzeria and starts talking about something else, What are your future engagements?

B.C: Yes, and he goes to the pizzeria and starts talking about something else, and he goes to the pizzeria and starts talking about something else