As a young Roman, Luciano Ganci sang with ‘I Pueri Cantores’ of the Sistine Chapel. That is where his musical education began. Decades later, he made his debut in Gianni Schicchi, followed by Pinkterton, Madama Butterfly. He soon appeared on the boards of the greatest Italian opera houses, including the Teatro alla Scala in Milan and Teatro San Carlo in Naples. He has been a guest at the State Opera in Budapest, the NCPA in Beijing, the new theatre in Astana (Kazakhstan) and at the Mariinski in St. Petersburg. Luciano Ganci can regularly be heard as Foresto, Attila; Turiddu, Cavalleria Rusticana; Corrado, Il Corsaro; Pinkerton, Butterfly; Manrico, Il Trovatore, and many other.
On 10 March, the film-opera Adriana Lecouvreur, produced by Italian RAI in collaboration with the Teatro Comunale di Bologna, where the film was shot, will premiere on RAI TV Channel 5 at 9 PM. Opera Gazet’s Marina Boagno will review the show, and in the meantime we have interviewed (from a distance of 500 km) one of the protagonists, the tenor Luciano Ganci, making his debut in the role of Maurizio di Sassonia.
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In just under ten years of your career, you have performed in many theatres all over the world (only Australia is missing …), so you have accumulated extensive experience about how an opera show ‘is born’. How was this Adriana, which from a theatrical performance has become a film, different (if at all), both in terms of preparation and realisation?
“This Adriana was born for a traditional staging, but the contingency measures forced the director Rosetta Cucchi to rethink her original ideas and transform her project into a film, a true cinema product. I don’t know exactly what the original idea was, but in Bologna, from day one, it was thought and rehearsed in a movie-like way. Let me explain. The basic difference between a theatre performance and a film consists, first of all, in the absence of an audience, and then in how everything is recorded. Compared to the theatre, in cinema the gestures, expressions and movements change. In the theatre, the gestures must be broader, even slower, often emphasised, whereas this isn’t necessary for film and television shooting because the viewer experiences everything closely and therefore the intentions, movements and expressions can, or rather must, be more measured. The great work done, therefore, hinged precisely on this difference, which is something new for a singer accustomed to the presence of an audience or in any case to launch his own interpretative and vocal intentions beyond the orchestra pit.”
Maurizio di Sassonia joins an already vast gallery of characters you have brought to the stage. You are widely considered to be a Verdian tenor par excellence, but your repertoire also ranges – among others – from Donizetti, to Puccini, Bizet and now to Cilea. How do you see the future of your career? What roles are you already planning to debut – virus permitting – and what are your possible ‘dreams in the drawer’ ?
“My career, like all of the rest of life, must be built day by day and taken care of in every single moment of study. I don’t know how people view me; I simply consider myself a tenor with no particular ties to this or that composer. Some works are more congenial to my temperament and my voice, others less so, and this does not depend on the author. Certainly, if I accept the challenge of debuting a role, it becomes ‘my child’, and I try as much as possible to make it grow in the best possible way, devoting to it the time it deserves and giving it the right time to mature.”
“Often the roles mature in silence, because the singer himself matures, and this makes every day and every performance different from the previous ones. It’s somehow a sacrifice, but I can’t say it’s not fun! Each role I have played has given me great satisfaction, and in a single gesture I can embrace all the composers I have had the honour of interpreting. I by nature have no dreams in the drawer, so I don’t even have any for the roles to debut. The ones I want to sing are coming, time by time, and I will slowly debut them all. I’m in no hurry, every day that passes is one more day of growth, and this can only benefit every new character I meet on my path. About future debuts, always subjected to unpredictable restrictions which, I hope, will diminish soon, I can anticipate Aroldo, I due Foscari and Francesca da Rimini. There are others, but let’s allow ourselves a bit of superstition, so let’s wait and see what materialises!”
In this last year, opera has had to adapt to new and unforeseen conditions. The movie-opera is nothing new – there are classic examples of it, also by great directors – but they’re always limited in number. Instead, nowadays stream opera has almost become the rule. What’s the difference between these two media in your opinion? And do you think that a return to normal will be possible, or could the change affect the future of opera? In a word, what do you think the post-COVID-19 world of opera will be like?
“The opera on stream or the film opera are palliative, they cannot and should not be considered normality. Theatre is a sacred form of art that must be experienced live. Streams and movies are great opportunities to get through this period, and they will still be an excellent tool to, in some way, decentralise the theatre and bring it to as many people as possible. But I sincerely hope that they remain an instrument of cultural propaganda and not become the cultural norm.
The world of opera must return to shine before a live audience, perhaps aided by these new instruments, that we cannot and will not denigrate. But music must be made and enjoyed live, always and forever!”
(More about Luciano Ganci? Click HERE)