I had the great good fortune to be a spectator in a Master Class in the
Greenwich Village Settlement Music House in the 1980s with the divine Alfredo.
True gentleman that he was, he did not try to steal the thunder of the
nervous young tutorees (though he was asked); instead, he gently led them
through various phrases with kind words of advice and admonition.
I was lucky enough to sit right beside him and thus was able, before and
after, to speak with him for a few private moments.
I still hear his Hoffmann in my ears and the insoucience and elan of his La
donne e mobile at the Met as he perched on a table to the audience's left (I
was about row 10 orch). And he was lithe and affecting on stage. Though a
man of average height, he managed with the large Joan S to cut a dashing
figure as Edgardo in Lucia, as can be seen in their still in print Met video.
I am amazed to hear that at such a late date he was still singing those high
I have him on video at some kind of celebretory event, and you can see him
focus them right into the area of his eyes.
I have been bemused by the fact that I seem to have come late to
him--sometime in the early 80s. I think the problem is that in the 60s and
70s, we had so many other tenors (or at least I did), that I did not notice
him. Thank goodness I taped all those things from the Met broadcasts. And I
have a number of live video operas plus a couple of recitals.
Oh, check out his Met Hoffmann, the big tenor aria in the Giuletta episode,
and how he maintains those incredibly long lines--he rivals Gedda.
A true artist and human being.