Arthur Espiritu, who has gained acclaim as Rodolfo in “La Boheme” at the Sydney Opera, Alfredo in “La Traviata” in Vienna, and Gualtiero in “Il Pirata” in Switzerland, will make his concert debut at Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) on Sept. 28.
Espiritu came home to Manila last Sept. 18 after playing Cassio in “Otello” at the Frankfurt Opera.
The tenor told the Inquirer commuting from opera to recital requires vocal discipline. “There are many methods and ways to try to search for the right approach to each role,” he explained. “And depending on the work involved there is one word for it: consistency.”
He said switching from opera to concert made him search “for the right technical approach to maintain a level of consistency.”
“Before switching to bel canto from verismo (“Boheme” to “Pirata”), I had to train myself to make the switch from one style to another,” Espiritu said. “But at the same time, I try not to wander away from what my goals are, which are to evolve and keep the consistency of my vocal health.”
“‘Pirata’ to Alfredo was a lot easier because I came from the bel canto approach,” he added. “And from Alfredo to Cassio just involves a lot of figuring with the musical challenges of the part of Cassio. You have to count and concentrate. It is as challenging as the Role of Shepherd in Szymanowski’s ‘King Roger’ as far as counting and focus.”
The CCP recital will be a breath of fresh air for him. “It will be a mixed bag and a lot of challenges—interpretation wise,” he said. “And that is being able to present something that you love and hope that the audience would appreciate.”
“Planning the repertoire has always been a challenge for me because there are so many fantastic works out there that I feel like singing them all. So you have to choose very well to choose just a few and keep the right balance.”
Of the repertoire, he personally chose “Three Petrarch Sonnets” by Liszt. “It is like I feel connected to what’s happening to Liszt at the time he composed these pieces. The text is just exquisite.”
The rest of the program: “Tre Sonetti” by Liszt, “Com’e gentil” by Donizetti (“Don Pasquale”), “Après un rêve” by Gabriel Fauré and “Chanson d’amour, Pourquoi me réveiller” by Jules Massenet (“Werther”), “Kuda, Kuda vy udalilis” by Tchaikovsky (“Eugene Onegin”), “Ständchen, Zueignung, Salut demeure chaste et pure” by Gounod (“Faust”), and three Filipino songs for the finale.
Espiritu said he looks forward to his first collaboration with pianist Mariel Ilusorio.
Asked how he feels when some European fans follow him even in minor roles, he said: “I feel very grateful and lucky to be able to have an impact to some people. It is a wonderful feeling to be appreciated of course, but it is not my main goal.”
The Filipino tenor already has a schedule early 2019. He will play Roberto, Earl of Leicester in Donizetti’s “Maria Stuarda at Staatstheater am Gaertnerplatz” in Germany, Feb. 8 to May 5, 2019. —CONTRIBUTED
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