Baritone Ambrogio Maestri may be a sinister villain on stage as Scarpia in Tosca, but he’s quite the opposite off stage.
A large, booming man, Maestri who comes in at 6 foot, 5 inches tall, he towers over the parishioners, his victims, and the doomed lovers, Cavaradossi and Tosca. Maestri, who plays Scarpia through the end of the month, has sung the role many times and developed the role over the years. In Maestri’s interpretation, Scarpia is stoic and still, believing that such a powerful man would command the room and force others to move about him, responding to his orders and will. The effect is a Scarpia that is completely in control and with an evil essence that makes Rome quake.
But, the evil Scarpia couldn’t be further from who Maestri really is.
Backstage, you’ll find him joking around with his cast mates and the crew. His laughter and his lighthearted demeanor are infectious.
Maestri’s talent was discovered while he was singing in his father’s tavern (in a town not far from Milan), where some La Scala frequent attendees heard him and invited him to take singing seriously. Just two years later, Maestri made his debut at La Scala, interpreting the role of Falstaff. (Therefore, somehow returning to the tavern, where it all started.) Since then, Maestri has performed Falstaff 250 times in the most prestigious theaters around the world, including at the Metropolitan Opera.
Off the stage, Maestri has a passion for cooking and has toyed with instructional videos. Sometimes, he’ll even cook with his opera cast mates. While at the Metropolitan Opera, during an intermission of an HD live broadcast, Maestri and Renée Fleming cooked risotto for the audience.
Before seeing Maestri in Tosca, here’s a sneak peek of his life off stage and in the kitchen.
There are just two more opportunities to catch Maestri’s Scarpia at LA Opera on April 27th and 30th.
But don’t fret, in May Greer Grimsley (5/2, 5/5 and 5/7) and Kihun Yoon (5/13) will play Scarpia in Tosca.
To learn more about and to purchase tickets to Tosca, click here.LA Opera is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to the greater good.