Freddie de Tommaso: The beauty of the music can transport the audience to another universe altogether  and maybe for someone who is having a hard time in their life whether through stress or illness or anything else, they can forget their hardships for this time and be immersed in the music.

A phenomenal voice and talent in the tradition of the great Italian tenor voices, 28 year old British-Italian Freddie De Tommaso shot to prominence when he won the First Prize, the Placido Domingo Tenor Prize and the Verdi Prize at the 2018 Viñas International Singing Competition in Barcelona. Since then, he has performed at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden, Bayerische Staatsoper and Dutch National Opera and in September 2020 he opened the Wiener Staatsoper 20/21 season as Pinkerton in a new production of Madama Butterflyconducted by Philippe Jordan. Shortly after, De Tommaso was announced as the first tenor to be signed exclusively to Decca Classics since Jonas Kaufmann. In March 2021 his debut album ‘Passione’ released by Decca debuted at number 1 in the classical charts and was met with huge critical and public acclaim. Hailing from Tunbridge Wells, the British-Italian tenor is a graduate of the Royal Academy of Music where he studied under the guidance of Mark Wildman. His roles there included Don Jose La Tragedie de Carmen and Rodolfo La bohème. De Tommaso was generously supported by the Josephine Baker and Countess of Munster trusts. He is a Joseph Karaviotis scholar, a recipient of a Gregory-Carr scholarship and the Richard Lewis scholarship. As a previous member of the studio of Bayerische Staatsoper for the 18/19 season, De Tommaso appeared in productions including NormaLa Fanciulla del WestLa Boheme and the programme’s production of Mavra and Iolantadouble bill. Prior to this, he was a member of the Young Singer Academy at the Salzburg Festival in 2018.  Following the Viñas competition, De Tommaso was invited to appear in concert at Teatro Real, Madrid and in recital in Vilagarcia, Spain. Other performances included concerts with the Georg Solti Accademia in Tuscany and a gala concert at the Victoria Hall, Geneva. His concert credits also include Mendelssohn Elijah, Puccini Messa di Gloriaand Verdi Requiem. Recent highlights include Cassio Otello at the Royal Opera House under the baton of Sir Antonio Pappano ; Macduff Macbeth, Italian Singer Der Rosenkavalier and Ismaele Nabucco all at the Wiener Staatsoper; Don José Carmen with Orquesta Filarmónica de Gran Canaria; his return to Bayerische Staatsoper in their “Next Generation Talent” concert; and Ismaele Nabuccowith Dutch National Opera.

Hello, Freddie! I’m glad to have the opportunity to chat with you! These days you should have had both your house and role debut in Adriana Lecouvreur at Teatro alla Scala, but unfortunately COVID stoped you. How are you feeling? When will you perform and what’s you Maurizio like? What about the production?

Yes it was incredibly frustrating to be honest. We rehearsed for one month, working hard to create a beautiful production and then, just before the general rehearsal I got a positive test. It was very upsetting for me. Fortunately now I am feeling much better and as long as my tests stay negative I will sing one performance of Adriana on the 10th and then I will go to Dresden to start to rehearse the new production of Madam Butterfly. I would say my Maurizio is a man who is torn between his heart and his duty. He loves Adriana but feels that it is his duty to do certain things (with la Principessa for example) to be able to continue his political career. The production is a beautiful work by David McVicar, traditional in style, I have loved being a part of it and look forward to doing it again.

This season you set out to approach new roles: Maurizio in Adriana Lecouvreur, Don Jose and Mario Cavaradossi. What’s your strategy on choosing the right role at the right time? What is your strategy on a healthy way of developing the voice and enriching the repertoire?

Yes, three big debuts for me this season which is a very exciting task, each role requiring different things. In terms of choosing repertoire, I sing roles that feel comfortable and appropriate to me. I discuss parts with my teacher and my agent and together we decide what is suitable as time goes on. In my opinion there is no magic age that when you arrive at you can sing a certain role…it is totally dependent on your voice and body. Everyone is different in this way.

Let’s get a bit backwards… Everyone has a story about the first impression we had on opera. What’s yours? When did you realise that opera was your path? Who guided your first steps?

My first impressions of opera as a child were hearing it played on the radio at home. Both my parents loved opera and would play it in the car, and my father would play it in his restaurant. My mum took me to Glyndebourne when I was about 12 to see Gianni Schicci, this was my first live experience of opera. I realised that opera was my path when I began to study at The Royal Academy of Music, this is really where I knew that this would be my profession.

Read the entire interview here, in the 2th/2022 issue of OPERA Charm Magazine.

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