Decca signs British Tenor Freddie De Tommaso11:26, 29th January 2021
The British tenor Freddie De Tommaso has been signed by Decca – a major step for a singer aged just 28, De Tommaso has already proved his worth as a singer excels in the great tenor roles of Verdi and Puccini. He is a young artist who holds onto opera’s traditional values, inspired by great singers of the past and learning his craft as he treads the boards with the stars of today.
Louise Find interviews Freddie De Tommaso in the May/June 2020 issue of Opera Now
Freddie De Tommaso never set out to be an opera singer. He went to university in Bristol to read French and Italian, but decided academia was not for him. He went back to live at home in Tunbridge Wells, wondering what to do with his life. With nothing much going on he started doing some singing lessons which led to a working session at Glyndebourne, half-an-hour down the road. This led to an audition with Mark Wildman, the Head of Vocal Studies at the Royal Academy of Music, who snapped him up – as a baritone.
Built like tighthead prop, De Tomaso has (typically in a rugby player) a gentle disposition, intense, inquisitive blue eyes, and a beguiling wide-eyed innocence about how fortune has smiled on him . in 2019, he started his first professional season in distinguished company, as Cassio in Otello at the Royal Opera House in a production that stared Gregory Kunde as the punishing tenor lead. ‘Unbelievable! I had to pinch myself,’ Freddie admits. When we spoke, he had just returned from Amsterdam singing Ismaele in Nabucco and was en route to Dresden for Pinkerton in a new production of Butterfly until the dreadful pandemic caused performances to be cancelled. There will be a few months of enforced rest now, but I predict that De Tomasso will emerge from the crisis as one of the lucky ones, with a brilliant career ahead of him.
At the moment Freddie calls himself a lirico spinto tenor – perfect for young heroes. He sounds like a youthful Italian Domingo with a gorgeous baritonal quality to the lower end of his voice, building up to a heart-rending top. His role models are sound ones for a young man with aspirations: Corelli and del Monaco; and his role choices are solid for the type of voice he’s developing: Rodolfos, Pinkertons and Alfredos.
Freddie has no ‘excuse’ for his fabulous voice, no throw-back musical relation; but he did have an Italian father (who died when he was 18) and has a smidgen of Welsh blood, so a double-whammy of singing genes. His father ran an Italian restaurant and played recordings of opera: ‘I didn’t sing along but it was always in my subconscious’.
His dream role? ‘It’s a toss-up between Cavaradossi and Calaf – so Tosca and Turandot. If I had to say my favourite opera it would be Tosca. I can’t wait to sing that – not quite yet, though… No rush. Hopefully I’ll sing till I’m at least 60,’ he says, giving his throat a gentle pinch. ‘These two little folds have got to last!’
Passione, Freddie De Tommaso debut album with Decca, is released on 9 April.