The Man and His Art an­gelo


Vision Magazine - - Cover -

The evening be­fore, in Mozart’s Don Gio­vanni, the larger-than-life char­ac­ter that com­manded the stage and wowed the au­di­ence with his mag­nif­i­cent basso cantabile voice is KS Ilde­brando D’ar­can­gelo. The name is real. The ti­tle Kam­mer­sänger was be­stowed on him by Aus­tria long be­fore the cus­tom­ary min­i­mum age of fifty for out­stand­ing con­tri­bu­tions to the world of mu­sic, in par­tic­u­lar the Vi­enna Staat­soper. Other pres­ti­gious ac­co­lades over the years such as Italy’s top mu­sic critic award, Premio Ab­biati , at­test to his world-wide rep­u­ta­tion as one of the most ex­cit­ing singers of his gen­er­a­tion. Crit­ics, col­leagues and au­di­ences alike praise his su­perb mu­si­cian­ship and in­sight­ful psy­cho­log­i­cal in­ter­pre­ta­tions to be ut­terly con­vinc­ing in tragic as much as comic roles. Ja­copo Spirei, the di­rec­tor of the cur­rent Sf­opera pro­duc­tion, en­thuses about his “sen­sa­tional vo­cal in­stru­ment” which bass-bari­tone Bryn Ter­fel com­pared to “hot choco­late” and greatly val­ues his “phenomenal qual­ity to make each role new again”. He is ar­guably the reign­ing Don Gio­vanni in the world to­day.

「對我來說,劇院如教堂一樣神聖。年幼時,我曾視莫扎特為上帝;而今天,更多的音樂家永存我心中」。伊爾迪布蘭多(Ilde­brando D'ar­can­gelo)的身形並不像舞台上那般魁梧和壯碩,給人的感覺也不是那樣的高高在上和不可一世。在和他的交談中,似乎完全無法將眼前的他與幾乎被視為莫扎特《唐璜》的代表『全世界最有名的歌唱家』聯想在一起。他,伊爾迪布蘭多,平易近人而謙遜的男子,帥氣剛毅的臉龐上帶著一股淡淡的憂傷。


與 Vi­sion 雜誌見面的前一晚,伊爾迪布蘭多剛好演出莫扎特經典名著歌劇《唐璜》。他的男低音在詮釋歌劇中的詠嘆調時,壯觀、澎湃富有的深沉內涵的歌聲,在舊金山歌劇院內造成轟動。


莫扎特歌劇中的《唐璜》是虛幻的,但眼前的伊爾迪布蘭多確是真實的。男低音的他在音樂上的傑出成就,被奧地利的維也納國家歌劇院授予宮廷歌手 Kam­m­er­sanger 的頭銜,是有史以來第一位不到五十歲就獲此殊榮的音樂家。他也是當代獲得意大利音樂評論大獎阿比亞蒂 (Premio Ab­biati) 的才子。舊金山歌劇院的藝術總監 Ja­copo Spirei 評價他是「帶著震撼人心的『聲樂樂器』,精湛的音樂風格,對劇情的完美詮釋,動人心弦。」與伊爾迪布蘭多同台的著名男中音歌唱家Bryn Ter­fel則形容他是一杯香濃的熱可可,「他總是讓人驚奇,每一場演出,展現的都是全新的一面」。歌劇界視他為「當代唐璜」。


Forty-seven years ago Ilde­brando came into the world in Pescara on Italy’s Adri­atic coast. The city has no opera house but his mu­si­cian­fa­ther sealed his fate by play­ing Men­delssohn’s 3rd Sym­phony on his birth and named him af­ter the com­poser Pizzetti. Pi­ano lessons started early and prac­tice time was in­tense. At thir­teen he re­belled and stopped play­ing…but only for the sum­mer. When he was a boy, opera bored him to sleep un­til he heard Di­et­rich Fis­cher-dieskau sing Don Gio­vanni. Thus be­gan his love of all things Mozart. Dis­cov­ered in a school choir, he started vo­cal train­ing at the lo­cal con­ser­va­tory and con­tin­ued with Paride Ven­turi in Bologna. Back-to­back wins of the in­ter­na­tional Toti Dal Monte com­pe­ti­tion launched his in­ter­na­tional ca­reer. When of­fers from abroad poured in, his teacher coun­selled him wisely to al­low time for his voice to de­velop and gain ma­tu­rity.

To­day, D’ar­can­gelo is at the height of his ca­reer. With his voice grow­ing richer with time like “good wine”, he is equally at home in a var­ied reper­toire rang­ing from Vi­valdi, Rossini, Bellini, Donizetti, Verdi, Puc­cini, to Boito and Stravin­sky. Sought af­ter by all ma­jor opera houses in Europe, North Amer­ica and Ja­pan, he con­sid­ers him­self for­tu­nate to have worked with most of to­day’s lead­ing con­duc­tors and such late mae­stros as Clau­dio Ab­bado, Sir Ge­orge Solti, Christo­pher Hog­wood, and Ni­cholas Harnon­court. An ex­ten­sive, crit­i­cally ac­claimed discog­ra­phy of CDS and DVDS in­clud­ing two solo al­bums of Hän­del and Mozart arias has by now ce­mented his in­ter­na­tional fame.

Yet he is keenly aware of the per­sonal price he is pay­ing for a life on stage and in mu­sic about which he is deeply pas­sion­ate. The hec­tic, travel-in­ten­sive life­style the in­dus­try im­poses to­day af­fords him pre­cious lit­tle time to be home, to sup­port his age­ing par­ents, to see his daugh­ter. Lead­ing as nor­mal a life as pos­si­ble and fol­low­ing an ex­er­cise rou­tine for his “breath” ca­pac­ity help him stay grounded and fit. Per­haps be­cause of the way opera-mak­ing and au­di­ences have changed over the years and artists are pi­geon­holed to­day, he grasped quickly what ev­ery singer must learn: when “to turn the page”. That “life is frag­ile” he al­ready ex­pe­ri­enced when a health scare could have ended his ca­reer early on and by wit­ness­ing his daugh­ter’s strug­gle with a life-threat­en­ing disease. Thus, the old say­ing that singers die twice is brushed aside, jok­ingly; af­ter all, he has died more than a 100 times as Don Gio­vanni! Still, he ad­mits he is in­clined to teach one day. Al­ready his mas­ter­class for Lyric Opera of Chicago was highly suc­cess­ful, and next April he will con­duct an­other mas­ter­class in Rome. His ad­vice to the next gen­er­a­tion: to “fol­low your heart!” as the best way to flour­ish in to­day’s com­pet­i­tive world.

D’ar­can­gelo’s many fans, mean­while, look for­ward to hear­ing him in big Verdi roles, such as Filippo II in “Don Carlo” next May in Ber­lin, and hope­fully soon in Aus­tralia.


 Ilde­brando D'ar­can­gelo in the ti­tle role of Mozart's Don Gio­vanni (Photo credit: LA Opera / Robert Mil­lard)

Ilde­brando D'ar­can­gelo in the ti­tle role with Diana Dam­rau (Su­sanna) in Mozart's Le nozze di Fi­garo (Photo credit: Teatro alla Scala©marco Bres­cia)

Ilde­brando D'ar­can­gelo as Méphisto in Gounod's Faust (Photo credit: Deutsche Oper Ber­lin ©Matthias Baus)

Ilde­brando D'ar­can­gelo as En­rico VIII in Donizetti's Anna Bolena

(Photo credit: Vi­enna Staat­soper / Michael Pöhn)

Ilde­brando D'ar­can­gelo (Il Conte di Al­ma­viva) with Dorothea Röschmann (La Contessa di Al­ma­viva) in Mozart's Le nozze di Fi­garo (Photo credit: Staat­soper Ber­lin©her­mann und Clärchen Baus)

Ilde­brando D'ar­can­gelo as Es­camillo in Bizet'scar­men, with Pa­tri­cia Bar­don in the ti­tle role (Photo credit: LA Opera / Robert Mil­lard )

Ilde­brando D'ar­can­gelo as Fi­esco in Verdi's Si­mon Boc­cane­gra

(Photo credit: Vi­enna Staat­soper / Michael Pöhn)

(Op­posit page) Ilde­brando D'ar­can­gelo as Guglielmo in Mozart's Così fan tutte

(Photo credit: Vi­enna Staat­soper / Michael Pöhn)

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