In the Pit: Roberto Cani, Concertmaster

Roberto Cani; Photo: Robert Millard

Roberto Cani; Photo: Robert Millard

Experiencing a violinist on stage performing the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto in Milan, Italy, 7-year-old Roberto Cani determined then and there he would someday play that concerto. Attending Milan Conservatory, he practiced diligently to fulfill his dream. It was there that he remembers meeting Plácido Domingo, who was recording Otello but still took time out to greet young Roberto.

Moving to Moscow at age 20, he studied violin at the Gnessin Institute. He also traveled throughout Europe as a concert soloist, his repertoire including the Tchaikovsky Concerto, which he still enjoys playing. During the Paganini Competition, which he won, Abram Shtern heard Roberto perform and invited him to become his student. Roberto followed Mr. Shtern to Los Angeles in December 1992. Eventually receiving an Artist Diploma from the University of Southern California, Roberto continued to perform concerts in Europe and also served as guest concertmaster at La Scala, the London Philharmonic, and the Radio and Television Orchestra in Milan.

2010 was a milestone year for Roberto. He was hired as concertmaster of Los Angeles Opera, and met his soon-to-be wife Helen, an opera lover from Kiev, at Kendall’s after an opera performance. Roberto and Helen now have a 16-month-old daughter Sofia who already listens to opera and watches ballet. He says of this special year, “Everything comes when you don’t expect it!”

Click here to read Diane Eisenman’s full article about Roberto Cani on

Diane Eisenman received a B.A. in Music Education from St. Olaf College, Northfield, MN, and an M.A. in Counseling Psychology from Loyola University of Chicago. She is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and piano instructor in Pasadena, and uses classical music in her therapy practice. An opera lover, she enjoys writing about the people who make live opera possible.

LA Opera is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to the greater good.
This entry was posted in Faces of the Opera and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.