Skip to content
post thumbnail

Arthur Espiritu shines at Sydney Opera

Filipino tenor Arthur Espiritu logged another well-received international debut when an Australian critic gave him a highly positive notice in his debut as Rodolfo (La Boheme) at the Sydney Opera House.

Feb 28, 2017

Pablo A. Tariman


-minute read

Share This Article


A tender moment in La Boheme with Arthur Espiritu and Greta Bradman as Rodolfo and Mimi.

Filipino tenor Arthur Espiritu logged another well-received international debut when an Australian critic gave him a highly positive notice in his debut as Rodolfo (La Boheme) at the Sydney Opera House.

Angus McPherson of Limelight, Australia’s classical music magazine, wrote the Filipino tenor’s sound is “exquisitely polished and contained – almost delicate – with a fine, burnished sheen.”

For the most part, the critic found Espiritu and Greta Bradman (as Mimi) a convincing pair, both exuding a bashful youthfulness. “Espiritu’s voice warms in Che Gelida Manina as he sensitively crafts the swells and diminuendos. There is not a weak link amongst Rodolfo’s housemates, either, who keep the action charging forward with a boisterous energy. Pietro Rizzo leads the Opera Australia Orchestra in a lush, full-bodied reading of the score that, at times, stops just short of engulfing the singers.”

The tenor told Vera Files he had a great time during opening night. “I love the fact that all my colleagues were all very supportive and the people are so nice. The audience was so great and so welcoming and had so much positive vibes.Compared to British audiences, they are a bit more relaxed.I mean they say no worries all the time.”

Tenor Arthur Espiritu with Nelly Miricioiu at the Meralco Theater two years ago. All set for April 9, 2017 joint concert.

He added her Mimi has a beautiful voice and was so giving and very gracious.

Maestro Pietro Rizzo who led the Australian Opera Orchestra, found Espiritu simply fantastic. “He is such a singer friendly conductor.I have worked with him before so we know each other’s temperament.He helped calm me down and knowing that he is there to make music with me was such a treat.”

In the first rehearsal, Espiritu noticed the theater was a bit dry. “And so you really do have to sing, just like in La Scala, you have to cheat out and really sing.The first time I sang in rehearsals there, it took a while to get used to. But I figured out where the sweet spots are in the theater with the help of the wonderful coaches of the theater.They were all so helpful and thoughtful.I felt very much pampered with the whole experience.”

How the tenor got the role is another story by itself.

He was singing Ferrando in a controversial Calixto Bieito version of Cosi fan tutti in Basel (Switzerland) when Opera Australia artistic director Lyndon Terracini heard him.

He was invited to dinner after his performance along with his Fiordiligi (Anna Princeva).

“Mr. Terracini said he was impressed with our voices and said he will cast us in his upcoming productions in Sydney and Melbourne, basically with Opera Australia.So, that was quite awesome to experience.And he paid for the restaurant bill. What a great guy!He is one of the nicest artistic directors I have ever met.So, in that dinner, I got two roles — Rodolfo in Boheme and a role debut as The Shepherd in Szymanowski’s King Roger,” the tenor recalled.

Andrew Jones, Richard Anderson, Shane Lowrencev, Arthur Espiritu and Greta Bradman in the Café Momus scene in La Boheme.

The tenor sings the Szymanowski opera in Melbourne in May after which he will sing Rodolfo in Israeli Opera in Tel Aviv end of the year.

The big news is that he is singing with the world-acclaimed Romanian diva Nelly Miricioiu on April 9, 2017at the Ayala Museum.

“I’m so excited about it!Such a wonderful honor and opportunity to be able to sing with her,” Espiritu said.

Miricioiu also sang nine Traviatas at the Sydney Opera in the mid-80s.

On the subject of keeping his voice in good shape, he opined: “I try not to do anything too strenuous and I try not to catch anything, but no one can avoid it if they are getting sick.You just do what you can to sing above it and if you must cancel, you have to cancel.But I do things normally per day and try not to think too much about my voice.I find it too limiting if I think too much about my voice and my body.It’s all about setting a good mindset about it and not think about it too seriously.”

Opera Australia’s La Bohème is at the Sydney Opera House until March 24, 2017.

Get VERAfied

Receive fresh perspectives and explainers in your inbox every Tuesday and Friday.