My House – Antonio De Stefano – Junel 2006 – from “The House”

June 2004 

My House by Marcelo Alvarez

What role has the Royal Opera House played In your career?

For me, its the centre of my career, its where my heart is. Peter Katona [Director of Casting] was one of the first to give me a lot of contracts and he’s just kept me signing up for more. Covent Gardens always the first theatre I look at before taking on an engagement anywhere else. I’ve been offered lots of new roles here, new productions, debuts, and when you receive so much you’re inclined to give something back — it’s a very vital exchange.

What’s the Opera House like to work In?

Magnifico! Everyone here is always on hand, anticipating my needs. I don’t even need to say I need something done, it just happens. I sweat a lot and, while my back is turned, I find a fresh shirts been laid out. That doesn’t happen anywhere else.

How has your voice changed since you first

started singing at the House?

Its evolved rather than changed. When I first started here in 1998 my voice was very young. I had a doctor look at my throat and he said it wasn’t the throat of a tenore leggiero, more a lyrico. So I listened to my body, and I now feel my throat is much more connected to my body; I don’t have to push it any more and I’m more comfortable singing bigger, more lyrical roles.

Why have you preferred to make so many role debuts here?

I was a late starter, and so 1m having to do everything at a much faster pace, but I get longer rehearsals here, which means more time to build a rounded performance. Lots of people say to me, ‘Why don’t you debut in smaller theatres where you can get away with things?’ But I say no, because in a smaller theatre I’d get a younger director or conductor who’d tell me to do whatever I liked. But I wouldn’t learn as much. I prefer somebody who’ll point out where I’m going wrong!

What kind of working relationship do you have with Antonio Pappano?

He really is quite marvellous. He has this ability to help bring out so many of the really beautiful musical moments. I don’t just learn the notes with him; he knows how to really build the character, layer by layer. In Tosca, for instance, 1m passionate about showing the love and admiration Cavaradossi has for Tosca- there are lots of subtle phrasing changes where you can really show your depth of feeling. And that’s what I love doing — its not just about the big moments.

I’ve heard you’re a very fast learner?

Yes, I just finished Trovatore last week and when I arrived on Friday I couldn’t n today?!’

Prop or costume you’d most like to have kept?

The cape in Rigoletto  the fabric was amazing quality. I wanted to keep it, but they’re very reluctant to let anything go here. I haven’t succeeded yet but I’ll keep on trying!

Favourite post-performance meal…

I no longer eat late at night – I’ve changed my diet. I used to, but at lam all you want to do is eat, eat, eat, and that’s not veryhealthy.
Interview interpreted by Antonio De Stremember a note of Tosca – it had all been wiped out by Trovatore. But today it’s come back. I woke up this morning at 5 am, went through the score, and now it’s all come flooding back Pappano was like, ‘You couldn’t remember a thing on Friday, how come you caefano