Gezim Myshketa, baritone

Who or what inspired you to pursue a career in music and who or what have been the most important influences on your musical life and career?

I was born in a family of musicians from the city of Durres, Albania. My passion for opera came from my grandfather whom unfortunately I never met personally. In the 1930’s and 40’s he went to Italy for commercial reasons and was a passionate member of the audience at “La Scala” in Milan. Therefore the passion that he passed on to his children for the great opera has been with me as well since I was a child. The most important figure who influenced my choices is my father, an excellent jazz drummer.

What have been the greatest challenges of your career so far?

The biggest challenge in a career today is to stand the test of time. In a world that runs fast and where a new opera singer is “baked” every minute, being successful after 15 years on stage is, for me, the greatest challenge won. Apart from this, debuting important and difficult roles such as Macbeth, Nabuco, Don Carlo, Rigoletto and others in as many important theatres such as Rome, Naples, Tokyo, Zurich, Berlin, Salzburg, Seoul is certainly a source of great personal pride now that I am only 39 years old.

A legendary opera singer used to say: “the baritones start singing seriously at 40”, so I would say that with the timing we are ok.

Which performances/recordings are you most proud of?

During the pandemic in contrary to some other colleagues, I had great satisfaction. In one year I made my debut mainly in France in roles such as Macbeth, Don Carlo di Vargas, Miller and Rigoletto. The staging of this last piece at the Opèra Berlioz with the National Theatre of Montpellier, and the video recorded and to be released soon, are a source of great personal pride. Especially because Rigoletto’s production included a “one man show” that is only Rigoletto on the stage from the first to the last music note of the Opera. This makes me very proud.

Which particular works/composers do you think you perform best?

Giuseppe Verdi, there is no doubt about this. But I love and will always love Mozart, my first great love…

What do you do off stage that provides inspiration on stage?

I live life to the fullest. You cannot be a sensitive artist if you do not enjoy the beauties of life and if you do not carry those vicissitudes on to the stage.

Mozart Docet!!

How do you make your repertoire choices from season to season?

I am lucky to have sung and also recorded a repertoire that starts from Buxtehude, Handel, Rossini and Mozart up to Bellini, Donizetti, Verdi, Bizet, Gounod, Puccini, Weil, Ginastera and many others. My vocal usefulness and above all curiosity has allowed me to sweep a lot into the repertoire. But as my mentor and agent Angelo Gabrielli says “to be a good marathoner you sometimes have to alternate roles”. In this sense, making bel canto or Mozart after two or three roles by Verdi can be a panacea for the voice. However, I reiterate that Giuseppe Verdi remains my main goal and the composer who gives me the most satisfaction of all. In the end what is a baritone without Verdi?

Do you have a favourite concert venue to perform in and why?

I certainly dream of my debut at the Teatro Alla Scala where it all started, but for sure in the right moment and with the right role! I am sure that when this will happen my grandfather’s spirit will be in the hall to protect and listen to me.

What is your most memorable concert experience?

AIDS Gala in Deutsche Oper of Berlin. Giving a personal contribution for those who suffer is an unparalleled satisfaction.

As a musician, what is your definition of success?

Live well on and off the stage.

What advice would you give to young/aspiring musicians?

First think about it very carefully, because it will be tortuous, difficult, tiring… but a wonderful adventure!!

What do you feel needs to be done to grow classical music’s audiences?

The musical taste of people today is somewhat questionable. Very little is done in primary schools to introduce pupils to noble music, and I think a lot depends primarily on school education. It is true: What is popular is not Art and what is Art is not popular BUT we have a visceral need for the public. Therefore, the mission always remains the same: to bring people close to the wonderful and most complete form of existing art: OPERA!

What’s the one thing in the music industry we’re not talking about which you think we should be?

You have to ask the experts.

Certainly we have to be more daring… The big changes come from people who believe and dare! We often assume that people like or dislike this or that music but this is not always true. The music industry remains important in the Opera but the Opera remains a profoundly Theatrical form. YOU MUST GO TO THE THEATER, Breathe, Touch, See, Listen.

What’s next? Where would you like to be in 10 years?

In my restaurant on the sea.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Enjoy the simple things.

What is your most treasured possession?

My Family, My love

What is your present state of mind?

It changes every minute … I am Cancer, child of the moon

Gezim Myshketa sings the title role in Verdi’s Macbeth, opening at The Grange Festival on 9 June. More here

Albanian baritone Gezim Myshketa is one of the most interesting artist of his generation. He can boasts a warm and smooth baritone voice, he made his debut as Figaro in Le Nozze di Figaro, after that he won As.Li.Co Contest 2006 and made his debut as Leporello in Don Giovanni for the Circuito Lirico Lombardo Theatres in Italy, while in 2008 he won the “Francesco Paolo Tosti” Contest in Ortona. Followed interesting collaboration with important theaters and festival such as: Comunale di Bologna, Arena Sferisterio Macerata, Palm Beach Opera, Abao Olbe in Bilbao, Opéra de Montpellier, Fondazione Arena di Verona, Theatre du Capitole Toulouse, Opera de Marseille, Teatro Massimo Palermo,Teatro San Carlo Napoli, Orchestre National de France, Opera di Roma, Royal Opera Oman,Deutche Oper Berlin, Semperoper Dresden , Oper Leipzig,Stuttgart Staatstheater, Zurich Opernhause, Staatsoper Hamburg, Salzburg Festspiele…

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