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" I am a very good friend of silence..." - interview with Franco Fagioli

Franco Fagioli – Argentinian countertenor performing for ten years in Europe – recognized as one of the most successful singers. Each of his concert brings sensation, admiration and esteem. In his repertoire we can hear roles in Händel’s, Vinci’s, Mozart’s operas and long forgotten pieces of Italian 18th century composers. His three solo records – "Canzone e Cantate", "Arias for Cafarelli", "Franco Fagioli il maestro Porpora arias" – present masterly skills. He also takes part in recording of complete operas: "Teseo", "Berenice", "Ezio", "Artaserse", "La Concordia de pianetti", "Siroe".

On 28th of November Franco Fagioli will give the concert in Poznań, where he will sing famous opera arias.

Short interview with Mr Fagioli by Małgorzata Cichocka.

Polish version Flaga polska

 

Franco Fagioli photo (c) Julian Laidig
Click to magnify

Małgorzata Cichocka: How did you get interested in music?

Franco Fagioli: It was when I was a child singing in a choir.

When you were a child you wanted to be pianist but you have became a singer. Was it a coincidence; one day you heard a voice of countertenor and then you decided to sing?

Yes, it was like that, I heard to James Bowman singing the Stabat Mater of Pergolesi and because of this I know about the existence of a vocal register called “countertenor”, before of that I was already singing in the high voice but I thought I was only imitating the mezzosoprano sound…

How old were you when you started learning to sing?

I was 18 years old.

Do you remember your first singing lesson?

Yes, I went to my teacher’s house with a book of “Arie antiche” and I said to her that I want to sing that music, then she make a voice test to me, she said that she never had a countertenor before as a pupil, therefore that she would teach me what she knows about singing technique, and that was great as I learned the basis of the Italian technic, the bel-canto.

When did you begin your education at the Instituto Superior  de Arte in Buenos Aires and how long did you study there?

I started in 2003, and I was there two years, but before that I did the Piano degree in San Miguel de Tucuman the city in which I born, and I also start my singing lessons there.

Franco Fagioli photo © Thibault Stipal / Naïve
Click to magnify

When was your debut on stage and what did you sing?

Oh, my debut on stage was when I started in the choir as a child also singing the solo parts, I was 9 years old, later I sung one of the boys in the Magic Flute by Mozart, after that I did some little piano concertos. And later after my singing lessons already as countertenor the first complete opera I sung was Hansel und Gretel by Humperdinck singing the part of Hansel.

In 2003 you won the competition  “Neue Stimmen”  in Germany. With it your international career started. It was the period  of  Händel and Gluck. In my mind your voice especially suits and sounds beautifully in the music of these composers. Do you still like singing Handel’s music?

Of course I love Handel!!! And I hope to sing a lot of him!

Today you are singing and recording mainly music of 18th century. Baroque music is most challenging for vocalist. Do you agree?

Yes, some baroque arias are the most difficult things I ever sung…

Do you think sometimes about widening of your repertoire out of this epoch?

Yes, as I also love composers like Rossini, Mozart…

How do you work on a new piece?

Well, is a very complex process, not only on the music but also about all that can be related to the composer, to the text and of course the voice…

Do you practice every day and how long?

I try to practice every day, on Sundays I try to rest… then as the voice is a muscle I have to be very careful about to do not over practice…

Franco Fagioli photo © Thibault Stipal / Naïve
Click to magnify

You released 3 solo records. Who chooses what you sing?

Its depends on the project, normally in between my artistical advisors and me.

In your records you enchant listeners with your beautiful timbre and excellent technique. How much work, technical improvement and how much gift is in your singing?

Thank you for your compliment… it is a lot of both…

In old scores many instructions about embellishment were not written – at that time their execution was widely known.  How did you achive it - beceause your coloratura is admirable.

I think the fact to be a pianist in my case was a big help at the moment to compose my variations.

What factors in your opinion are most important in singing education?

Right teacher, right technic and right pupil…

Your breath support is outstanding. How did you achieve it?

Oh thanks, you bring colours to me… Practicing and practicing, thinking and thinking...

Franco Fagioli photo © Thibault Stipal / Naïve
 Click to magnify

What is bel canto for you?

Bel canto for me…the possibility to “say” with the voice, on the air, with the breath, the sound a conclusion of all together, among other things…

Your singing is very expressive. How important are emotions in music rendering?

Thank you very much. Emotions are essentials, by singing we are using words, we are saying…

You sing within numerous conductors and  instrumentalists. What features should the conductor represent to ensure you comfort  in  singing and music interpretation?

That we are at the service of the music…

Many performing artists spend much of their time out of home. Apart from the stress being the result of the profession itself, artists sometimes must face solitude. Do you also experience it? And how do you live through it?

Long live to Skype! Ha ha ha….

Your last operatic role is Idamante in Mozart's Idomeneo. Would you like to comment on it?

Performing the role of Idamante in Royal Opera House written by Mozart to the castrato Vincenzo del Prato, in London, a city who received all the great castratos of the baroque era, was for me a great and inspiring joy.

What artistic plans have you got for future?

Very interesting ones! There is everything, Mozart, Handel, Rossini…

Franco Fagioli photo (c) Julian Laidig
Click to magnify

How many languages do you speak?

Spanish, English, Italian, I want to learn French and German.

How do you spend your free time?

Oh, I love to be with friends.

What do you do to keep fit?

Fit… should I say thanks? Ha ha ha, well I like tennis…

What music do you listen to in private?  Maybe you love listening to silence?

Well I am a very good friend of silence… but if not, I like several kind of music, some film music, some pop music, some folkloric music from Argentina but also from Spain and Italy… I think everything can be inspiring.

Thank you very much for your time.

Author: Małgorzata Cichocka

All rights reserved © Małgorzata Cichocka and opera.info.pl

 

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