Artist Of The Week: Leonardo Capalbo

American Tenor To Sing New Production Of ‘Don Carlos’ At Opera Vlaanderen

By Francisco Salazar
(Credit: Robert Workman)

Don Carlo is one of Verdi’s most complex works and one that the composer never quite resolved. There are so many versions performed to this day and editions that include unperformed music. However the work continues to be sought after due to its juicy and complex characters. The title role in particular is one that most tenors aspire to sing. Today as companies rediscover the work, the original French version has become the focus of new productions and has reemerged.

This week rising star Leonardo Capalbo will take on the title role for the second time in his career but for the first time in French at Opera Vlaanderen. Having already performed the work, the tenor goes into the French version with an important experience and command of the musical journey the character goes through.

When Capalbo spoke to OperaWire about the role, he said, “Don Carlo demands a broader range that progresses from lyricism to dramatic as the story unfolds. The Fontainebleau scene, for example, benefits greatly from a secure and anchored voice that can elegantly access the upper range. As the role progresses Don Carlo dissolves before our eyes and ears. Verdi asks that his trauma, pain, and yearning to become more apparent. As Carlo’s turmoil increases, his vocal lines require more thrust.”

And that evolution of character was noticeable in his first interpretation as the tenor scored rave reviews. Critics stated “he was singing with warmth to add to that strength and to his smooth phrasing” and “Capalbo’s interpretation makes Don Carlo a believable character.” After making such a great impression on his role debut, with the five act version and in a a different language, the tenor will likely build upon his interpretation and find new colors in the work.

For those not in Belgium for the performances of “Don Carlos,” Capalbo has an ambitious 2019-20 season that will see him at the Teatro Real, Gran Teatre del Liceu and Komische Oper Berlin. He will perform in Mascagni’s rarely performed opera “Iris,” Bizet’s “Carmen,” and Verdi’s “Rigoletto.”


For those that have never heard Capalbo’s voice, the tenor can be heard on a recording of Verdi’s “Nabucco” on Chandos.

Here is the tenor performing from “Nabucco.”

And here he is performing from “Tosca.”



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