Regarding Dario Volonte, the following article by Mayra Pertossi (1999) is a very
good presentation of him:|
" He has gone from being a target of British bombs during th Malvinas's war
to being in the spotlights of some of the world's most famous opera houses.
Tenor Dario Volonte, 35, is a survivor of the 1982 sinking of the General
Belgrano when Argentina and Britain went to war over control of the South
"I leaped into a life raft" as a British torpedo slammed into the warship,
Volonte told Reuters. When I jumped I fell into the raft, but all the others
I saw fell into the water and froze to death"
Now the Malvinas War is but a memory for Volonte, who has fashioned a
promising new career in opera: In 1997 and 1998, he won over demanding
Italian aficionados with his interpretations of Il Trovatore and Tosca.
This year he won Argentina's heart with his rendition of "Aurora", a piece
local critics say is a load of operatic rubbish but which fans flames of
Argentine patriotic favor by exalting the South American nation's
independence from Spain.
The Malvinas War and opera are intertwined for Volonte. "Music, living in the
moment and honoring life, for me, is a way to honor those who didn't
survive" he said.
Born in a humble household in Entre Rios, 250 miles north Buenos Aires,
Volonte discovered his vocation by chance.
"I discovered I had the right voice when I was 17 while listening to Placido
Domingo singing on TV when he was on an Argentine tour (It was 1981 when
Domingo sang Otello at Teatro Colon), I started imitating him and I saw I
was able to imitate him, singing the high notes he sang... That's when I
realized I had a voice for singing", he said.
A year later he was sent to wart with the British in the engine room of the
ill-fated General Belgrano. That is when he witnessed most of his fellow sailors die and years later he
dedicated his rendition of the Argentine national anthem sung in Aurora to
his fallen comrades. He sang the anthem on June 10, Malvinas Day in
Argentina, at Buenos Aires's Colon Opera House.
It was upon his return from the war, in 1983. that Volonte met his first
operatic maestro. "I started singing in church choirs and that's were I met
maestro Jose Crea, a baritone at the Colon Opera house, who tutored me for
free: He was my first patron, the first to hepl me sing, teach me technique.
I studied with him for years", Volonte said.
"This is like a calling for me, I never thought I'd make a living from
singing" he added.
Volonte credits his days job of 12 years as a moving van driver for giving
him the brawn that aids his performances. His next break came in 1994 at his
audition with the renovated Teatro Avenida, in Buenos Aires, where he was
cast as a tenor in Zarzuela.
His subsequent performances at the Buenos Aires Opera helped by late 1997 to
launch his international career in Europe, where he sang in Tosca, Il
Trovatore , Beethoven's ninth symphony I cavalieri di Ikebu by Montemezzi,
among other works.
The tenor's renditions at Turin' Reggio and Trieste's Comunale in Italy,
Nice Opera in France and Wexford festival in Ireland, as well as operas in
Zurich and Tokyo, were critically acclaimed. After being so widely praised, Volonte returned to Argentina in 1999 to
undertake the greatest challenge of his career singing Aurora at the Colon.
He played Mariano, one of the leaders of the Argentine revolution of May
1810 that ended the Spanish rule of the South American vice-royalty.
It was the first time in the Colon's history that an Argentine singer encored an aria. It was in the "Canción a la Bandera" piece in Aurora.
"Singing at the Colon was a moving experience. It was an especially
powerful moment for me to sing the anthem and think of my friends who died in the Malvinas because that's what the flag represents for me and anyone
who fought in the war," Volonte said.
Volonte plans to cut a CD of Argentine patriotic songs that will be
distributed free to schools and sold in record stores. Part of the proceeds
will go to veterans of the Malvinas war."
Since June, Volonte is in Argentina. He sang Rigoletto at Teatro
Argentino de La Plata, and many concerts over the Argentine Republic. One of
them in Salta province, was heard by an audience of 25.000. Everywhere he
goes, TV or radio interview's he is asked to sing "La canción a la Bandera".
Because of Alfredo Kraus's death, he will sing in November Lucia di
Lammermoor at Colon with June Anderson.