Alberto Gazale, the young yet accomplished baritone who stepped into the international operatic limelight ten years ago under Riccardo Muti’s baton, held the title role in Opéra de Montréal’s rendition of Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra, a dark and fascinating melodrama set in late medieval Genoa. The performance was met with enthusiastic reviews and nary an empty seat at Place des Arts. The Sardinian-Veronese baritone held centre stage with authority and a well-rounded and powerful voice. I caught up with him at the end of his Montreal tour.
“My Sardinia has an ancient love for the arts and culture,” says Gazale. “We gave birth to great writers, scholars poets and painters. I grew up in a family of artists who have always fuelled my artistic vocation. My first love was painting, then architecture and literature; then, one day, music. It was love at first sight! When my first voice teacher heard my voice for the first time, he almost fell off his chair! He was the one who forced me to study hard and embrace this career. If today this is my life, I owe it to him.
“I do not mean to sound rhetorical,” continues Maestro Gazale, “but I will bring back truly wonderful memories. At first I was a little worried – oddly enough I do not like to travel. But once in Montreal, I felt great and I found friendly, helpful and very capable people. Everyone was always smiling! And what a superlative audience! I will never forget it. A love is born!”