My first opera in Italy: I met tenor Stefano Secco in Turin

Photo of Teatro Regio by Lina de la Torre
Photo of Teatro Regio by Lina de la Torre

I came to Turin to see Stefano Secco interpret the role of Rodolfo in La Bohème, but I saw so much more. I had interviewed Stefano by phone when he was in Seattle, Washington and as a result I was very intrigued to see him perform in person. Luckily, I was able to fit the opportunity to hear him sing into my visit to Turin this summer. It was not only a wonderful chance to meet this charming opera singer, but also a perfect introduction to the opera experience in Italy.

The nearly sold-out opening performance was extremely well-received with generous audience applause, especially for the wonderful aria that Stefano sang in the opening act. It may have been just my impression, but I heard the unmistakable echo of Caruso in Stefano’s rich tenor. The crowd was an interesting mixture of newcomers, seasoned opera lovers, tourists and a younger crowd that appeared interested in soaking up the experience.

The full context of the interview can best be seen with the backdrop of my experience in Turin starting the evening before the performance. I had the honor of accompanying Stefano and his girlfriend Sarah at dinner where we chatted in Italian about our common interests of music, languages, Caruso, and even “old school” video game systems.

The interview was done in Stefano’s dressing room in the bowels of the theatre after his very successful opening. The atmosphere was light as a few admirers streamed in and out of the room. When it came to the actual interview, it was short and extremely pleasant and Stefano was as generous with sharing his perspective as he was in inviting me to dinner, and in sharing his tremendous passion with his audience.

Photo by Lina de la Torre of Lina and Stefano Secco in Turin
Photo by Lina de la Torre of Lina and Stefano Secco in Turin

There were several touching moments in the interview, but here are a couple that stand out:

When asked what effect his early experience with opera had on his career, his response was immediate and emphatic: : It is absolutely everything! When you learn something as a child, it is like a game. When you are young, you can’t possibly imagine that this wonderful game could become a career. Of course, as an adult you have to take it seriously. But, life has given me this generous gift of letting to do what I love.

When asked if he wanted to add anything to the interview, he responded with a sentimental, and heart-felt comment: Yes. They say that behind any great artist there is also a great woman. Not that I am implying that I am a great artist, but I certainly do have a great woman. During my career I have found comfort in music and now I also find comfort in my wonderful companion. These are two fundamental aspects of my success in music and in life.

The interview was published by l’Italo Americano: http://www.italoamericano.org/story/2015-9-4/stefano-secco

Ci sentiamo presto, Lina

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