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Tenor Giuseppe Filianoti

February 18, 2014 2:59 a.m.

KPBS arts reporter Beth Accomando speaks with tenor Giuseppe Filianoti of San Diego Opera's The Elixir of Love about surviving cancer.

Related Story: Opera Profile: Tenor Giuseppe Filianoti


This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

ANCHOR INTRO: San Diego Opera’s “The Elixir of Love” opened this past weekend. KPBS arts reporter Beth Accomando says the opera is all about love but the behind the scenes story about its tenor was almost a tragedy.

The last thing an opera star wants to hear from a doctor is that “you’ll never sing again.” Italian tenor Giuseppe Filianoti faced such a crisis back in 2006 when he was diagnosed with cancer. The surgery to remove his thyroid gland left one of his vocal cords paralyzed. Doctors said his career was over. But Filianoti didn’t accept that.

GIUSEPPE FILIANOTI: Maybe I should try till I’m sure it’s not possible. I tried, I forced myself, I restart to study, I restart to let my voice come back. And I discovered that not everything in our life is definitely written in a book. I start again for five months to vocalize again and to be patient and after that I discover that I need time five months, to be full recovered one year.
CLIP singing

Now Filianoti returns to the role of Nemorino, the young lover in Donizetti’s charming opera “The Elixir of Love.” It’s a role that has new meaning for him.

GIUSEPPE FILIANOTI: You have to be like Nemorino, you have to be like a child. To live everyday and to think that everything is precious.

San Diego Opera’s “The Elixir of Love” continues tonight through Sunday at the Civic Theater downtown.

Beth Accomando, KPBS News.