Saturday, July 28, 2007
An Opera Memphis Aside--Arthur Espiritu to make La Scala Debut
Tenor Arthur Espiritu was scheduled to appear twice in Opera Memphis' 2007-2008 season, first as Pang in TURANDOT and then as Prince Ramiro in CENERENTOLA on April 5, 6, 2008. But La Scala called. Actually, Espiritu made it to the final round this summer at the Belvedere Competition, an international competition for promising singers in Vienna. After one of the competition rounds, a representative of the famed Italian opera house approached him and they planned to fly him to Milan the next day for a stage audition. "I had to find a music store in Vienna and buy a score to COSI FAN TUTTE for sixty Euros. I had covered the role at the Pittsburgh Opera, but had to study hard, because they wanted to hear the arias and some recitative." The audition panel was a distinguished one, including Mirella Freni, Teresa Berganza, and Luigi Alva. As a result, Arthur will get eight performances of Ferrando, four at La Scala and four at the associated Teatro Piccolo. In order to do this, Opera Memphis has had to release Arthur from his contract to sing one of the councillors, Pang, in TURANDOT. But his La Scala debut is sure to raise the interest level of our audience when he comes to Memphis in March/April to sing in LA CENERENTOLA.
This exciting debut is a bright spot for Arthur, whose family home in Chalmette, Louisiana was destroyed by hurricane Katrina. Arthur lived in New Orleans for sixteen years, but does not anticipate being able to move back there. He currently resides in Phoenix.