Christopher Curcuruto. Photo: WinkiPoP Media
Since performing as a 2018 finalist in The Sydney Eisteddfod Opera Scholarship, bass-baritone Christopher Curcuruto has been refining and developing his skills as a professional opera singer through his vocal training with internationally-renowned pedagogue and voice teacher Dr Stephen F Austin coupled with his operatic roles with the University of North Texas (UNT).
For Christopher completing his Graduate Artist Certificate in Opera at UNT is an important investment for his classical singing career, and which will prepare him to reach a higher level as an opera singer.
"We are taking the time to do the work that the audience won't necessarily hear, but that forms the solid foundation to be able to make the consistent, professional, international standard of singing. By taking the time to undertake this intensive development now, I am investing in a healthier, longer-lasting career performing at a higher level than I might otherwise be able to achieve," he said.
His performance schedule with UNT Opera also looks promising, starting with Christopher playing the role of Priest in Janacek's masterpiece, 'The Cunning Little Vixen' commencing in November 2018, which will mark Christopher's singing debut in the USA. It was with Simon Kenway (Artistic Director of Pacific Opera) performing as Harasta in their production in 2015 that Christopher gained the confidence and skills needed to learn this new role and although the UNT production will be performed in English, he is planning for the future.
"In addition to performing the role of Priest, I have also elected to receive Czech language coaching for the roles of Priest, Badger, and Harasta, broadening my prospects for future employment singing these roles in their original language," he explained.
Christopher is particularly excited about his upcoming performance in the lead role as the antihero embodied in Schicchi in Puccini's 'Gianni Schicchi' followed by his other Italian role as Don Alfonso in Mozart's 'Così fan tutte' scheduled for April 2019.
Drawn towards more complex and villainous characters, acting as Schicchi, who emerges victorious from his lies and deceit, came as a welcome to both Christopher's familiarity with Italian character types and his personal preferences.
"Coming from an Italian family (both maternal and paternal sides), I was astounded to see in Schicchi characters that I recognised, knew, and loved so well. I am excited to inhabit Schicchi because of how familiar he is. I can't wait to get him on the floor and to draw from the many characters in my own family to bring Schicchi to life," he said.
Keen to make the most of his time at UNT, Christopher aspires to also take on Wagnerian roles, which will fortunately be supported by his sponsorship from the Wagner Society in NSW.
As far as singing competitions are concerned, he had this to say:
"I think the biggest lesson I took from my experience in Sydney Eisteddfod is to look at the experience as a performance rather than as an audition and to enjoy that opportunity to perform."