PIERO PRETTI made his professional debut on a European tour in 2006 performing the role of Rodolfo in La bohème. In subsequent seasons, he played Alfredo in La Traviata in Jesi and Treviso, the title role in Poliuto in Sassari, Manrico in Il Trovatore in Ravenna and Achille in Iphigénie en Aulide at the Teatro dell’Opera in Rome under the baton of Riccardo Muti. Seasons 2011-2012 mark a precise turning point in the artist’s career, who rapidly walks the stages of the main opera houses worldwide: Wiener Staatsoper, Bayerische Staatsoper, Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Royal Opera House in London, Théâtre des Champs Elysées in Paris, Teatro Regio di Parma, Teatro Filarmonico di Verona, Teatro Regio di Torino, Teatro Real in Madrid, to name a few. Among his recent engagements: Lucia di Lammermoor at the Hamburgische Staatsoper, Paris, Muscat and Trieste, La traviata at the Teatro La Fenice in Venice and at Teatro Regio di Torino, Nabucco at the Arena in Verona, Madama Butterfly at the Opéra de Paris, Rigoletto in Madrid and Milan, La donna serpente in Turin, Il trovatore in Macerata, Rigoletto in Rome and Naples, Anna Bolena in Milan, Macbeth in Edinburgh, Un Ballo in maschera in Vienna and Paris, La bohème in Madrid, Il pirata in Milan, Il Trovatore in Florence, Rome, Seville and Madrid, Don Carlo and Werther in Venice, Ernani and Un Ballo in maschera (Gustavo III) at the Festival Verdi of Parma, La Traviata in Naples, Il Trovatore and La Bohème in Rome, Rigoletto in Florence.
My dear Piero, it’s a great pleasure to finally have the chance to chat with you! Since we’ve met at the XXI Festival Verdi, where you performed Un ballo in maschera (Gustavo III), you’re schedule has been quite busy with some important engagements in some of the most important Italian theaters. Also, the roles you performed receiving are quite diverse and required different vocal approaches. But I’d like to talk about these last few months and the secret behind his immense flexibility that you have proved, because you are one of the very few tenors of your generation able to perform all the three tenor roles of the Verdian trilogy.
Indeed, this summer I sang all the three tenor role of the Verdian trilogy: in June, La Traviata at Teatro San Carlo di Napoli; in July, Il Trovatore at Circo Massimo in Rome and also in concert form in Palermo, at Teatro delle Erbe; and in September, Rigoletto at Maggio Musical Fiorentino. Among these, I had La Bohème in Rome and Un Ballo in maschera at Festival Verdi, in Parma. To tell the truth, I am happy about this because Maestro Muti was the first to tell me that I should sing these roles and that the tenor who should perform all the three of them has the same vocal characteristics. Verdi too, and history tells us this, it was customary for a lyric tenor like me to incarnate Alfredo, Manrico and the Duke. I believe that at the base of this there must be a continuous technical research of breath balance, resonance and voice projection, as well as and above all the stylistic exercise of the sung word in Verdi, of legato and the excavation of its expressiveness. Obviously the rule is valid for all composers, each one with its own differences and peculiarities, but in the specific case of the Verdi trilogy this is even more necessary. Without looking for the exasperated lunge or thrust to seek effects that would then limit the entire performance process.
In addition to the technical aspect, how do you approach the interpretation and psychology of these characters?
As I was saying, I have been studying these scores for about 15 years, more or less since my debuts in these roles, and I have continued to study them, reading them, and every time I tackle them, I certainly bring with me the wealth of experience and performances I have done before, as well as the indications of the directors and conductors I have met, but in the writing itself, new aspects arise, some words are enriched with new meanings, and at times some breaths change, are added or disappear to make room for a different, more organic, expressive and functional legato. It is a continuous study process, just like the performances we have the honour of giving.
Read the entire interview here, in the 7th/2021 issue of OPERA Charm Magazine.0