INTERVIEW FRANCO VASSALLO / CLASSIC ELAN
B.C: His beginnings were very original: he heard a singing teacher casually in school corridors. If there had been so, Would he have equally determined by music and singing? How did that start?
F.V: At this stage, with the experience of these years behind me, It is hard to say what would have done if that endearing episode occurred in the school would not have happened, but with all security I had found another way to focus my passion for art, culture, literature and philosophy. First of all, say that I consider myself a humanist.
B.C: Could you describe the characteristics of your voice?
F.V: It is always difficult to talk about one's voice on tape, singers and unfortunately we can not hear ourselves live. I would say that mine is frank, sincere, direct. I think it has always had a certain sweetness, it still retains, but obviously over the years he has matured and gained in roundness, taking a tan that has allowed me to face a more dramatic repertoire.
B.C: We know of your interest and knowledge of dramaturgy, cornerstone in the opera. When a role is interpreted on many occasions, that character, Does it yours and gives it a certain character forever or outweighs production and stage manager?
F.V: Dramaturgy in the operatic genre is critical because the opera is theater and music, so you can not do without his theatrical part. But the truth of the opera stage is obtained by finding the right key character, which is not only in the acting part but is also obtained and, especially, through score, because the composer leaves everything clear. Everything is in the score! In fact, these composers, as Verdi, They have never been forgotten because they were true geniuses; They created some masterpieces that still listen to and why they have become immortal. They had an intuitive and innate ability to capture the scenic score truth of the character. When you make it yours in my case also has helped me the Stanislavski method, I studied- revive you do through you. In the study period we thought to build character and shape, but once we got on stage to stop thinking just be him and live like him, that is to say, in my case I try to look and feel like the character; let it flow. Interpreters rationally know what is happening in the scene and what will happen next, however the character does not know, so you have to live it and react true self to everything that is happening. It is complex, but at the same time exciting, very similar to what an actor feels, although we, the singers, We also have the advantage of relying on the soundtrack, music, describing the situation we are living our performance and offers an incredible expressive force. On the other hand, we also have the disadvantage that if we acatarrados no choice but to leave and we still sing [laughs].
B.C: From 13 January is participating in the production of the Liceu Aida, in Verdi, with the musical direction of Gustavo Gimeno and scenery Mestres Cabanes. What Amonasro will look at the Liceu?
F.V: When I get the first tests naturally and I feel that the character runs through my veins; I feel mine and I've done a complete picture of the role that obviously have to be contrasted with the stage manager; I always try to find a balance between the idea of the character he has and I do. Obviously there are always some directors with whom I connect more than others, but sometimes I have a vision of the role, although input does not agree with it, if the idea is smart, I just get carried away by his instructions to finish making my proposal. In any case, we, interpreters, as music directors or scene, We must be at the service of music and composer. It comes to my mind a beautiful phrase that Verdi told the baritone Felice Varesi, which premiered several of his operas: "I ask you please to serve before the poet to the musician"; Coming from Verdi fascinates me, because it means it had a great respect for the scenic realization, because it was like saying: if we do a good theater music comes alone, so I think you have to have a great respect for the libretto. As for the Amonasro I play, I feel like an intense character, tragic and painful; Verdi is a king who invites us to describe and interpret "impeto selvaggio" (wild momentum), a fact that is there, in the score; but sometimes we forget the immense humanity. In the big time stage, in duet with Aida, practical and decisive character must have as a politician meets with the affections and feelings; we see a father who is forced to ask his daughter a huge sacrifice, He is forcing his people to betray the man she loves. Hence his rage, which it is nothing but a human reaction to the internal pain she feels for having to ask something so cruel to a daughter. Is a character who lives intensely the pain; at the end of the duo tells his daughter something amazing: "Think that a people, won, heartbroken, for you can only rise again " ("Think a conquered people, torn, Only thanks to you can rise again), that is to say, "Everything is in your hands and our people must make this sacrifice, I know it's infamous, but there is no other way ". It is certainly one of the most beautiful moments of the whole scene. On the other hand, Amonasro proves to be a great king, intelligent warrior despite having been defeated in battle. Live extreme situations from the beginning to the end, since from entering scene he is almost sentenced to death and very little time to do everything to achieve their goals, save his people and his own life. In summary, We are facing an absolutely tragic character for everything that happens, but both fascinating still being relatively short.
B.C: In 2004 he played Zurga, in Bilbao in The Pearl Fishers, in 2008 was Figaro in Il Barbiere di Siviglia at the Opera de Las Palmas, in 2014 Vespri Siciliani I participated in the Teatro Real Guido di Monforte playing, and now he comes to the Liceu in Barcelona with Amonasro. Why have you been so spaced performances in Spain?
F.V: In addition to the commitments that you quote, I actually made my debut in I Vespri Siciliani Spain with the Opera Bilbao 2001 and also I sang Ernani in Las Palmas de Gran Camaria in 2005 and I Puritani Minorca 2008. In any case, and compared to the career I've done in other countries, It is true that my presence in Spain has been little, but it was not my will, because the truth is that I love this country and I love working here; It has just happened than usual in these cases: deals sometimes come at times when you are busy and time passes without matching agendas.
B.C: How do you feel more comfortable, with expressive intensity and strong vocalism of Amonasro or lightness and brilliance of Figaro? How they are approached as different technical roles?
F.V: As the old school of the "canto sul fiato" he said, are at odds on these two forms of singing and interpreting, that is to say, It is important vocal ductility; It must be able to move from one dramatic role bright and vice versa, especially when the instrument allows it. When the voice with the experience and maturity is ready to face the dramatic repertoire, It is important to return occasionally to the bel canto repertoire to maintain elasticity and squillo, so we avoided the voice becomes heavy. Recall that the singers of the past changed light heavy repertoire with astonishing rapidity; I just think having a minimum of time, If you keep your voice in the right place, without forcing, You can change without problems. This year I happily returned to play Figaro (The Barber of Seville) at the Hamburg Opera coming to interpret Rigoletto, and I found quickly comfortable in the freshness and elasticity adequate almost naturally and without any previous work. What we call "muscle memory" always works. Definitely, not to force anything because the sound becomes heavy, you just have to keep always loud and mask.
B.C: It seems that increasingly more difficult to find truly serious voices. In that case, Why do you think that is due?
F.V: I think the voice is certainly hard to find is the true deep bass; today under-baritone dominates over the, but I could not say a precise reason. Serious, sometimes voices, They not always tend to sing naturally because the voice already sounds itself, without applying any technique you certainly do need more acute voices to sound good. This sometimes makes racing more serious voices are slightly shorter, unless the technique work with a good teacher. In any case, technical work is essential for all strings, and not always due to have a good teacher. Like mine said, It is important not only a great teacher, but that great teacher must find the great student.
B.C: Given the evolution of his voice and his singing, What new roles have in mind for future seasons?
F.V: I would like to further explore the verismo and Puccini repertoire, como La Fanciulla del West, Gianni Schicchi, Pagliacci or Cavalleria rusticana, for example, but at the same time maintaining the Verdian baritone repertoire that is basic, and of course the bel canto. Próximamente sing Il Pirate, Lucia di Lammermoor y Roberto Devereux, a repertoire that is essential for me to keep up the ductile voice.
B.C: Must we wait four years to return to listen to him in Spain?
F.V: Hopefully not! I sincerely hope to be at least every year in a Spanish theater.