Q & A: Tenor Andrea Carè On ‘Tosca,’ ‘Otello’ & Overcoming Stage Fright

By David Salazar

Tenor Andrea Carè is a man on the rise. Over the last few years, his star has risen with his interpretations of some of opera’s most potent tenor roles garnering high praise and interest.

It all started for him in 2001 when he started his vocal studies at the Conservatorio “Giuseppe Verdi” in Turin. In 2005, he won the Teatro Lirico Sperimentale “A. Belli” competition, and from there he was off and running. He became a pupil to Luciano Pavarotti with the help of the legendary Raina Kabaivanska. Carè studied six months with the legendary tenor until his death, following that experience with a debut at the Seoul Seyong center and Teatro Verdi di Terni. He has performed throughout Italy and has also appeared at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, Royal Opera House Covent Garden, and the Grand Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, among others.

He has taken on a number of major Verdi roles and his Don José interpretation (in “Carmen”) has been highly acclaimed. This month, he steps into the role of Cavaradossi in “Tosca” at the Michigan Opera Theater and Teatro Regio. He recently spoke to OperaWire about this demanding role and his other major career goals.

OperaWire: How is Cavaradossi similar or different from Andrea Carè? 

Andrea Carè: Each character I’m interpreting is luckily and unluckily very different from who I am in my private and real life. Of course, there are sides I love of the characters I’m impersonating. For instance, in Mario Cavaradossi, I love his revolutionary soul, pride, passion, and bravery although, I’m not sure if I would be ready to die for my visions as he does. I wish I could say I would, but it wouldn’t be honest since I’m not 100 percent sure of it.

OW: What is your favorite musical moment in the opera? What makes this opera appealing to perform for you? 

AC: I think there is no “weak” moment in this opera: not musically nor dramatically. If I have to pick one moment above all, it’s the “torture scene” in the second act. The music there has everything: pride, love, care, threat, power, pain, blood, revenge, greatness, suffering, hope, and death. An incredible masterpiece.

OW: How difficult is this role relative to other ones you have interpreted?

AC: There are some key and demanding moments in this opera. The beginning is tricky with one of the most difficult arias for the tenor voice after having sung just a few bars before it. Basically, you have to come on stage warmed up to be ready to face the whole range of a tenor but without being too warn or tired because the most dramatic parts are yet to come. Then you’ve got the second act where you have to sing with rage and violence as if there will be no more notes to sing. And then, you still have the third act where your voice should be once again clear, lyrical, warm, desperate but not too tired during one of the most famous arias in the tenor repertoire “E lucevan le stelle.” There are no easy roles in my repertoire and for my kind of voice. Each one of them has challenges and they are very different from the other although they’re always dramatic roles.

OW: You recently performed the role of Don Carlo, who as opposed to Cavaradossi is quite confused and indecisive on his role in revolution. Which of these two men do you feel more connected with personally in terms of fighting for a cause?

AC: I naturally feel closer to Cavaradossi. Don Carlo is a role that I love a lot but there I have to picture a troubled man without any direction or strength, just a passionate desire for a woman, who was his lover but became the spouse of his father. Cavaradossi is a more secure man. He knows what he wants and what he has to face to be the man he wants to be.

OW: What is your dream role?

AC: The most beautiful and complete opera and tenor character is, in my opinion, Otello by Verdi. I love how the Italian composer described each kind of feeling with the music in that opera. Otello is my dream, my goal as an opera singer, as a tenor and as an actor. Many theaters already asked me to sing it, but I don’t want to debut it yet. I’ll know when it’s time to accept that big challenge and I’ll be the happiest man on earth and a very realized artist when I’ll feel I can face that opera being sure to do exactly all what Verdi suggested on the score and imagined for his masterpiece.

OW: Looking back at your career as a whole, how did you first know you wanted to be a singer? 

AC: To this question, I always answer that I still don’t know. I never decided to be a singer nor wanted to be a singer. I have always been a singer. It’s a call, a need, and the only way I could be. I don’t mean that I couldn’t be anything else but a singer. I mean I can’t imagine my life without music, without singing for fun or for a job.

OW: What is one of the greatest challenges you have dealt with in your career and how did you overcome it?

AC: My biggest challenge is Stage fright and the audience. I have never been shy to sing in front of an audience or on a stage, until the moment I realized someone was really interested in my singing and until I started to have knowledge on how to use my voice. It takes time and lots of effort to deal with your unconscious but once you accept that you’re what you are and that you don’t have to please yourself but your audience, you just surrender and learn how to focus on what you know you need to do in order to give your best to the people that love you or to potentially new audience.

OW: What is the key to a successful career as an opera singer? How do you define success?

AC: Success in each career can be subjective. For someone success can be to sing in the most important theaters in the world but, once you’ve done it, you’ll miss the chance to still aim for something. I personally think that a successful career is a career full of goals and challenges. Being always on track to succeed in some goals or challenges, it’s for me real success because it’s the exact opposite of the failure, experienced by the people, who give or gave up too easily.


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