Gino Lucchetti

Gino Lucchetti

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Tenor Gino Lucchetti has performed roles with Seattle Opera, Seattle Symphony, Tacoma Opera, Kitsap Opera, Bellevue Opera, Lyric Opera Northwest, Hans Wolf Memorial Operetta, Everett Opera, Seattle Concert opera, Puget Sound Concert Opera, Black Box Theater, and the Seattle Gilbert and Sullivan Society.  Recent roles include The New Papa for the world premier of Daren Hagan’s “The Cradle Song,” Rodolfo (La Boheme), Manrico (Il Trovatore), Canio (I Pagliacci), The Duke (Rigoletto), Faust (Gound’s), Pollione (Norma), Turridu (Cavalleria Rusticana), Don Jose (Carmen), Edgardo (Lucia di Lammermoor), Alfredo (Die Fledermaus), Florestan (Fidelio), Dick Johnson (La Fanciulla del West), Macduff (Macbeth), Lindoro (L’Italiana in Algieri), Guglielmo “The Tenor” (Viva la Mamma), Kaspar (Amahl and the Night Visitors). Has performed all the major Gilbert and Sullivan lead tenor roles.

Gino was selected by Seattle Symphony as one of three Pacific Northwest singers to participate in a public master class taught by the legendary soprano Jane Eaglen who called his “high notes so natural and gorgeous that no one should mess with them.”  Of his Manrico, Bernard Jacobsen wrote, “Lucchetti again showed himself to be a better singer than some I have encountered on the most famous operatic stages in the world. The voice is attractive in timbre, and beautifully produced throughout its range.” As Rodolfo, Mr. Jacobsen observed, “The star, and the outstanding figure by a long way, was the tenor Gino Lucchetti as Rodolfo… his voice rang out at once commandingly and with ample nuance when that was required, and he portrayed this rather feckless poet as a thoroughly likable figure. Even when he was not singing, his attentive way of watching his Mimì and responding to her was an object-lesson in intelligent stage deportment.”

In oratorio, Gino has performed the Verdi Requiem, Saint-Saen’s Christmas Oratorio, Handel’s Messiah, Rossini’s Stabat Matter and Mendelssohn’s Elijah. Of his Verdi, Dale Burrow’s noted, “Gino Lucchetti’s tenor added the robust, life-loving, lyrical qualities that trademark Verdi’s operas.”

He is a popular featured concert artist singing a wide range both operatic and  popular selections in repeat performances for the Seattle and Walla Walla Italian Festivals, the Gemperle Gala (for Seattle Opera Education Fund), Seattle Opera Guild Previews and Galas, Austrian Club of Washington, Bloedel Reserve Summer Concerts (Bainbridge Island), Bumbershoot and Seattle Folklife Festivals and in special guest appearances for Opera Coeur D’Alene, Lake Tahoe Summer Arts Festival, Tacoma Old Town, Artopia, Seattle Camarata, Bremerton Art Visions, and the Port Gardner Bay Chamber Music Series.

Gino has an extensive history of performing lighter fare in diverse venues. He is well-known for opera nights (over nine years of monthly shows) at restaurants including Salute (Bellevue), Pontevecchio (Seattle, Fremont District). For many years he was a member of Distant Mirror, a popular medieval renaissance music quartet, and appeared in the popular Gabriel Knight series of popular video games produced by Sierra On-Line.

His recordings include Howard Hanson’s Merry Mount (Gerard Schwarz and the Seattle Symphony), La Serenata and Bravo Fortissimo! and commercials for Starbuck’s.

In addition to his music, Gino is a senior staff scientist working on leading environmental issues in the Puget Sound area. He has authored numerous scientific papers, presented at major conferences and recently was both science advisor and on-air talent for a Telly award winning documentary on management of Puget Sound shorelines.

  • Influential people in your musical career (high school/others) –First off, my family, all of whom are artistic or creative in one way or another. I fondly recall Mr. Kitchen (music teacher of Hazlehurst elementary who had me sing a couple solos for my 6th grade graduation) and Bernie Reap (SAHS) and the Swingin’ 70s. More recent voice teachers include my current teacher, Marianne Weltman (teacher of Heidi Grant Murphy soprano w/ the Metropolitan Opera) as well as former teachers, including (deceased) William “Bill” Eddy (teacher of Gary Lakes a past tenor of the Metropolitan Opera) and my first voice teacher Ewan Minton. Having good, patient, knowledgeable coaches is important and perhaps chief among them has been Beth Kirchhoff, Seattle Opera chorus master who almost invariably gets rave reviews for her prep of the Seattle Opera Chorus and who has accompanied me in numerous concert and recordings for some twenty years. More recently, Glenda Williams, a friend and wonderful coach/accompanist in the Seattle area has been a huge help for me. For years she was the session accompanist for Mary Curtis Verna, a major soprano at the Metropolitan Opera during the era of Maria Callas. I have also coached w/ Joan Dorneman and Nico Castel (Metropolitan Opera), Dean Williamson (now w/ Cleveland Opera) , Phil Kelsey (Seattle Opera coach and assistant conductor) and David MacDade (Seattle Opera coach).  John Denver was a major and lasting influence on me even though he’s not a “classical” singer. I love his singing and his songs and even as popular as he was, I think he was the most underrated non-classical singer of his day. Finally, not sure where to mention this, but Mark Caldwell of Ormsby has been a great influence on almost everything in my life.
  • Origin of interest in opera – Before relocating to the wilds of PA, I was born and raised for almost 10 years in the Chicago area where my father and mother both performed opera and classical music and so I heard it on occasion early on. One of my early childhood memories (maybe I was five) is of me singing O Sole Mio (imitating my dad and brother) at the top of my lungs at some picnic party. Like most kids I became more interested in contemporary music — folk, pop, rock, etc. — and often thought that was my musical calling so didn’t listen to opera or classical much until one lazy afternoon in the early 1980s I happened to be watching a PBS live from the met broadcast of the now famous Sutherland/Horne/Pavarotti concert. I was enthralled by it, especially Pavarotti and thought “I could do that.” After that, I discovered Caruso, Gigli, Bjorling and many other great tenors of the past and really got hooked.
  • Transition from fisheries to opera – Not exactly sure what you’re asking. Since I do both on a daily basis, I’ll take a stab that you are asking whether the juxtaposition of science and music is difficult or does it require some special shifting of gears as on any given day I could go from doing field or office research to singing a concert? I tell people that in my experience a good scientist takes his science to an art and a good artist takes his art to a science. Doing both (using both sides of the brain as some people say) benefits both elements and helps my creativity which, I believe is the most important element of science or art. Although I’m no historian on the subject, it seems to me that the early great thinkers, like Da Vinci, were real renaissance men who used both the analytical and creative parts of their thinking to do both science and art. I’ve always liked that blend.
  • Favorite operatic role and why – Rigoletto – Although he’s a cad, the Duke has great music to sing and it’s such great fun to perform. When I first sang La Donna e mobile, it felt like it was written especially for me. I really like Verdi. I think he’s in the same league as Beethoven and Mozart, I get especially awed when I sing his famous requiem mass.  But there are many other great roles… Rodolfo (La Boheme), Manrico (Il Trovatore), Don Jose (Carmen), Canio (I Pagliacci) and Turridu (Cavalleria Rusticana) and Gounod’s Faust are some of my other favorites.
  • Several critics’ reviews –Bernard Jacobson, who wrote extensively about opera for the London and Chicago Times and now is relocated and semi-retired in the Seattle area and writes for the Seattle Times, has reviewed my Manrico in Verdi’s il Trovatore  ( http://www.musicweb-international.com/sandH/2009/jan-jun09/kitsap0706.htm ) and my Rodolfo in Puccini’s La Boheme ( http://www.musicweb-international.com/SandH/2007/Jul-Dec07/kitsap0811.htm ) . Among these I was very proud to have Mr. Jacobson say “As Manrico, Lucchetti again showed himself to be a better singer than some I have encountered on the most famous operatic stages in the world.”  Leone Cottrell-Adkins, Kitsap Opera’s founder, artistic director and conductor and someone who’s been around opera for a long time, said (he) “has that Pavarotti voice” (http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2009/may/25/from-the-cover-145il-trovatore-cast-goes-heavy/ )
  • Average # of performances/year – This is highly variable, but I probably average three to four shows per month, w/ some months more busy than others. In roughly the past year, I performed six complete major opera roles, including a world premier of a new one-act opera by Daron Hagan, plus two Verdi Requiems and another dozen of so major concerts. I also sing monthly for local restaurants where even people who aren’t opera fans love to listen to the great chestnuts of classical music as they eat. Upcoming, in November I will be performing Pollione in Bellini’s Norma for the Puget Sound Concert opera and in March, 2011, I’ll be Canio in Tacoma Opera’s I Pagliacci. I’ll be at the Seattle Italian Festival (http://www.festaseattle.com/calendar.htm ) in September
  • Languages spoken. Is Italian used most often in performances? In performances, have sung Italian, French, German, Spanish, Russian and Latin in addition to English, of course. I once did a concert in which I sang at least one number in each of those languages. Of the foreign languages, Italian followed by French and German is what I mostly sing. I am not truly “conversational” in any, although close in Italian and some might say I still need to master English (ha ha!). Despite not being conversational, I make an effort to fully understand what I’m singing as that is critical to communicating and being secure in what’s being sung.
  • Quotes about our area in PA and your musical career – As I get older, I find my roots in McKean County strongly influence what I do on any given day and affects the my future directions.  Growing up in McKean County , school in Smethport and all the people I’ve known back there, created a great foundation for my life. The people of the area are almost unfailingly nice and generous and have that small town, rural way of looking at things pragmatically. Aside from the fishing an outdoor stuff I enjoy, I really enjoy the people, including many old friends, some of whom I  have been remiss in keeping in great touch with but who are never far from my thoughts. Problem for me is I can’t visit everyone and still fish and be outdoors. Being too busy to do all that i want is a common theme in my life.
  • Musical training – As noted above, my formal studies are with private voice teachers, coaches, and a little bit of trying to learn the piano and guitar, both of which I am miserable at.
  • Occupation — For 20 years, I have been a senior staff scientist for King County , the largest municipal government in the Pacific Northwest . Prior to that I worked for the US Forest Service US Fish and Wildlife Service, US National Park Service and the Tulalip Indian Tribes ( Marysville WA )
  • Famous opera companies with which you have performed – To date, all Pacific Northwest, including Seattle Opera, Seattle Symphony, Tacoma opera, Kitsap opera, Coeur D’Alene Opera.
  • Videos featuring your performances – I have two commercial recordings (La Serenata and Bravo Fortissimo! ) as well as numerous clips of live performances on my website and on youtube.

Article written in the Bradford Era
May 25, 2010 By FRAN De LANCEY
Era Correspondent