Marcelo Raúl Álvarez was born on February the 27th 1962, in the town of Cordoba, Argentina and he is one of the most important tenor of the world.
At the age of five he goes to the Escuela de Niños Cantores de Córdoba where he studies music until he is 17, when he receives the Diploma of “chorus coach and music professor”. At the end of this course, he becomes the director of the forniture company of his family in Cordoba and, although his achieved musical education, he starts studying at the Business College. For many years he completely gives up his musical studies, even if the love for singing remains always alive in the Argentinian tenor; at the age of 30 in fact, after many performances on his spare timeof pop music in bars and karaokes, grows for him a singing wish. :As he doesn’t know what to sing, his wife suggests him to try to study lyrical canto. He makes an audition by M° Liborio Simonella who, after hearing him, suggests him to study lyrical canto in Cordoba. At that time his knowledge of opera is rather scarce but in 1992 he starts singing lessons with Prof.sa Norma Risso: after one year study, Alvarez goes back to M° Simonella who, after listening to him once more and having observed that he reached some improvements, decides to take him as a student, it means for Alvarez, to travel weekly from Cordoba to Buenos Aires to attend his lessons. It signifies a journey by bus of about 12 hours going and 12 hours to come back but his strong determination allows him to pursue his aim. During this period, Fam. Goldvaits helps him economically to face to the very expensive lessons, while for the journeys he is helped by Fam. Egea. At the same time he starts studing repertoire with M° Horacio Rogner.
M° Simonella is so impressed by his student’s skills that he foresaw that in about four years he could sing all over the world. So, he starts making some auditions in the Colon of Buenos Aires even if, at the beginning, he doesn’t reach the success he expected. During this period, Alvarez performs in many Theatres in Argentina: his first role is Count Almaviva in Rossini’s “Barbiere di Siviglia” in Cordoba on 1994. Then he sings in Federico Moreno Torroba’s “Luisa Fernanda” with Ismael Pons in the Avenida Theatre of Buenos Aires, and on December of the same year, in Donizetti’s “Elisir d’Amore” in the Roman Theatre of Avellaneda near Buenos Aires.
On December 1994 the legendary tenor Giuseppe Di Stefano is invited to hold a master class in the “Colegio Nacional de Buenos Aires” and in the meantime, to listen to the promising new talents among the professional singers of the Colon Theatre. Dott. Horacio Sanguinetti, who at the time was the Director of this institution and was sure of Alvarez’s talent, succeds in putting him in the singers list. Thanks to this lucky “coincidence”, Di Stefano after having listened to Alvarez and talking to the present audience, points out: “You have good istincts, you remember me when I was young” and turning towards the auditorium adds: “This man sings with the heart, he’ll reach a great career!” At last, speaking to Marcelo, he whisperd to his ear”Sell everything and go immediately to Italy”.
In 80′ and 90′ , M° Luciano Pavarotti periodically organized worldwide auditions in occasion of his “Pavarotti Internatinal Voice Competition”. On February 1995, arrives in Buenos Aires and listen to Alvarez’s audition, he invites him immediately for the next year in Philadelphia (U.S.A.) , where it will take place the final rate of the competition.
With Pavarotti’s invitation comes the one of Ismael Pons who offers him to perform the opera “Marina” in the town of Minorca Spain organized for the spanish bariton Juan Pons. These first performances allow Alvarez to cultivate his voice and to improve his actor skills and, thanks to the faith obtained by these starting experiences and to the enthusiastic encouragement offered by Di Stefano and Pavarotti, he and his wife decide to sell everything they owned and go to Europe to improve the chances to keep on with his career as an opera singer. At the same time he takes some lessons by M° Renato Sassola.
Alvarez arrives in Europe in 1995 where he is fastly involved in lots of activities. , He performs the opera “Marina” in Spain and, in the month of July, he moves to Milan. Only after seven days after his arrival in Italy, Alvarez gains a competition in Pavia and in a month he stipulates many contracts with Teatro La Fenice of Venise where M° Francesco Siciliani listens to him and with Teatro Carlo Felice of Genoa where he makes an audition with the great Director M° Gianandrea Gavazzeni. Both M° Gavazzeni and M° Siciliani engage Alvarez immediately. His debut at the Teatro La Fenice of Venice, takes place already in the month of September of the same year. In that occasion M° Siciliani offers him the chance to choose the debut role: the Argentinian tenor decides to perform the hard role of Elvino in Bellini’s “Sonnambula”.
November 1995 in Genova finds him performing, in the first company, the role of Alfredo in Verdi’s “Traviata”. He sings this role with Mariella Devia, one of the most famous italian soprano who performs for the first time in the same production the role of Violetta. In that occasion is Mariella Devia to want him definitly as partner in spite of his little experience on first level international stages.
Thanks to this performance that meets the critics favor, Alvarez sings once more the role of Alfredo during the following years, all over the world in Theatres: from Hamburg to London, from Met to Scala, from Tokyo to Vienna and at the same time he starts receiving proposals from all European Opera Theatres to perform new roles among which “La fille du régiment” in Bilbao, “Der Rosenkavlier” in Genova, and “Rigoletto” in Trieste, performances of 1996. Then he sings in “Puritani” , “Werther”, Manon, “Linda di Chamounix” and “Lucia di Lammermoor” in 1997.
As a result of his growing popularity and enthusiastic appreciation by public opinion, Alvarez starts appearing on the most prestigious stages of all over the world since the beginning of his career: he makes his debut in a hard series of new roles in italian belcanto and in french operas; he performs ten roles during the first five years of his creeer, marking in that way his fast rise in the international scene: establish his reputation in lyric roles such as duke of Mantova in “Rigoletto”, Alfredo in “La Traviata”, with 150 performances each. “La fille du régiment”, “Der Rosenkavlier”, and Edagardo in “Lucia di Lammermoor”. On February 1997 Marcelo sings for the first time Bellini’s “I Puritani” performing the role of Arturo at Teatro Comunale di Bologna. In springtime of the same year substitutes Alfredo Kraus this time in Massenet’s “Werther” at Teatro Carlo Felice of Genua. The whole italian press show its approval for the natural skills of the new tenor. Alvarez attracts the attention of the Sony Classical record company after his performance of “Rigoletto” in Toulouse with which he signs an exclusive contract producing six Cds in six years.
Since 1997 follow one after the other in the following three years many productions of the opera “Rigoletto” in Trieste, Tolosa, Verona, Buenos Aires, New York and Paris. (an exibition in the month of June 1999 at the Theatre Royal de La Monnaie, is broadcasted all over Europe).
In 1997 the Royal Opera House “Covent Garden” temporary unfit for use because of work of restructuring works, moves its spectacles to The Royal Festival Hall where, on November of the same year, Alvarez makes his debut in a concert Donizetti’s “Linda di Cahmounix”. Then in 1998 sings “La Traviata” at the Royal Albert Hall and performes in the same production in Covent Garden tournéand in Baden Baden under Placido Domingo’s direction.
His real debut at The Royal Opera House of London is on September 2000 with Offenbach’s “Les Contes d’Hoffmann” . Alvarez sings many times in London and often he points out how this town has a special place in his heart, “because it is the first place in which I have felt the public screaming my name”.
On 1988 Alvarez makes his debut at Teatro alla Scala in a production of “Linda di Cahmonix” and, at the end of the same year, he sings in Zeffirelli’s new production of “La Traviata” conducted by James Levine. He sings the same Opera even in the Roman Theatre of Orange, Vienna, Paris and at the Deutsche Oper Berlin.. In autumn of 1998 Sony Classics publishes his first soloist CD called “Bel canto”, followed by other three cds: “Marcelo Alvarez sings Gardel”, dedicated to the Argentinian Tango of Carlos Gardel, “French Opera Arias” and “The tenor passion” a collection of some of the most famous arias of Opera. Besides Alvarez has publicated the complete album of the opera “Manon” together with Renée Flemming, recorded live in the Opera Bastille. Alvarez can be admired also in other many DVD such as “Bohème” at Teatro alla Scala, “Rigoletto” of Covent Garden, Liceu de Barcellona and the town of Siena, “Lucia di Lammermoor” recorded in Genua and Tokyo, “Werther” for the Wiener Staatsoper, “Tosca” of Arena di Verona, and “Un ballo in maschera” in Real Madrid’s Theatre productions.
Alvarez goes back to Buenos Aires in spring 1989 for the production of the famous film-document Marcelo Alvarez “In search of Gardel”. The film tells about the realisation of Alvarez’s CD, Marcelo Alvarez “Sings Gardel” , that offers to modern audeince a reproduction of the most famous tangos, being a credit to both the spirit and the style of the legendary tanguero. The songs of this album, were originally recorded by Gardel before his early death that took place in 1935, represents some of the most traditional tangos.
As already mentioned, in 1997 he makes his debut in Massenet’s “Werther”, and he performs this role in other eight opera theaters , such as Covent Garden, Wiener Staatsoper and Munich in the following nine years. Another role that Alvarez performed in different occasions is the one of Edgardo in “Lucia of Lammermoor” being present in eleven opera theatres in less than six years. such as The Metropolitan Opera of New York, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Zurich Opernhaus, The National Theatre of Munich and in Tokyo, Trieste, Genova, Naples and London.
In Autumn 2001 Alvarez performs the role of Duca di Mantova in the new and much – discussed production of “Rigoletto” directed by the scottish David McVicar at the Royal Opera House of London. He exibit himself in another McVicar’s production in 2009, this time in Verdi’s “Trovatore” at the Met.
At te same time he goes into more depth in the interpretation of Frech repertoire, bringing his Werther to Trieste, Toulouse, Covent Garden to Wiener Staatsoper and to Munich where he performed “Romeo and Giulietta” and “Faust” too (even in Naples) so as “Manon” at the Metropolitan Opera House, San Carlo of Naples and Opera Bastille; he makes his debut in “Les Contes d’Hoffmann” at Covent Garden of London.
On Jenuary 2002 performs the role of Alfredo in “Traviata” with Inva Mula for the opening of the new Theatre degli Arcimboldi that substitutes temporarly the Teatro alla Scala until 2004. In the years 2002/2003 he keeps singing in this Theatre making the debut in Donizetti’s “Lucretia Borgia2 and in Puccini’s “Bohème”.production, originally created for Luciano Pavarotti and realized by Franco Zeffirelli.
On June 2003, Alvarez and the italian tenor Salvatore Licitra record “Duetto”, a collection of romantic ballades based on opera arias and other classical melodies. From a selection of “Duetto” it is organized a concert in Rome Coliseum that it is broadcasted in United States by public television PBS later that summer , Alvarez performs another concert in New York in Central Park , in face of over than 50.000 people.
Alvarez sang with the most important directors such as Gianandrea Gavazzeni, James Levine, Zubin Metha, Lorin Maazel, Claudio Abbado, Riccardo Muti, Daniel Oren, Bruno Bartoletti, Marcello Viotti, Lopez Cobos, James Colon, Riccardo Chailly, Stefano Ranzani, Jules Rudel, Miguel Angel Veltri, Antonio Pappano, Michael Plasson, Palumbo, Nicola Luisotti, Semyon Bychkov, Philippe Jordan e Gianandrea Noseda.
The year 2003, marks the beginning of Alvarez’s transition towards a more dramatic repertoire of “lirico spinto” tenor, thanks to which he had some of his best success. In 2004 at Covent Garden of London he makes his debut in “Luisa Miller” and in his first “Riccardo” of “Ballo in Maschera” . Then he sings in Parma and Valencia.
Keeping on with this course towards his new repertoir, in 2006 he makes his debuts in the role of Manrico in Verdi’s “Trovatore” in Parma, well known for the importance of tenor critics. Then he debuts the role of Cavaradossi in Puccini’s “Tosca” at the Royal Opera House of London performing with the Romanian soprano Angela Gheorghiu and the Wale bass-baritone Bryan Terfel , he performs the same role in Arena of Verona with Fiorenza Cedolins and the bass-baritone Ruggero Raimondi in a new production directed by the Argentinian film director Hugo De Ana.
In 2008 he is engaged in lots of productions of Bizet’s “Carmen” which debuts arrives in Toulouse. He goes then to the Met with the Russian mezzosoprano Olga Borodina in the role of Carmen, at the Royal Opera House in London, in Florence at Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, in Orange in France and at the Palau Reina Sonia of Valencia.
On 2009 it is published the first Cd of Alvarez for Decca with the title “The Verdi Tenor”.
At the same time Sony Classic lounch a collection of his best interpretations named “Marcelo Alvarez Tenorissimo” .
Alvarez opens the 2009-2010 Met season as Cavaradossi in Puccini’s Tosca with the soprano Karita Mattila and the baritone George Gagnidze: it is a new and vexed production of the Swiss film director Luc Bondy, who substitutes Franco Zeffirelli’s sumptuous production that the Met used for 24 years. The first execution has been broadcasted free on a open air giant screen in Lincoln Center ‘s Josie Robertson Plaza in front of more than 3.000 people, and on more screens in Times Square, New York, for more than 2.000 people. A following performance has been broadcasted on the month of October, as a part of HD Met’s serie, with the distribution all over the USA and in other 44 countries, for almost 300.000 people.
The 2010/2011 season, finds him engaged once more in a Tosca production at Zurich Opernhouse and in “Trovatore” at Metropolitan Opera House of New York On December 2009 he makes his debut in “Andrea Chenier” at Opera Bastille in Paris in a new production of Giancarlo Del Monaco. In April 2010 he made his debut at Covent Garden of London in Radames of Verdi’s Aida.
At Palau Reina Sofia of Valencia he will sing once more in “Tosca” and “Aida” and then he will perform “Luisa Miller” in Paris at Opera Bastille: at last he will sing in lots of concerts as a soloist at worldwide level.and in sommer 2010 he will go back to Arena of Verona to partecipate tp “Carmen” and “Trovatore” performances.
The 2010/2011 season brought him to Zurich for a production of “Tosca” and also to the Metropolitan Opera for “Il Trovatore”, a production that was released as a DVD where his colleagues included Sondra Radvonovsky and Dmitri Hvorovstovsky.
In April 2010 he debuted the role of Radames in “Aida” at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden.
At the Palau de Reina Sofia in Valencia he interpreted the role of Cavaradossi in “Tosca” in the summer of 2011 in the “Festival Mediterraneo” and he also returned to the Arena di Verona that summer for performances of “Carmen” and “Il Trovatore”.
He sang his first performances as Don Alvaro in “La Forza del Destino” at the Paris Opera in 2011
In January 2012 he sang the role of Radames in “Aida” for the first time at the Metropolitan Opera under the direction of Marco Armiliato.
After this, he returned to the Teatro alla Scala for “Tosca” and “Luisa Miller”. He then returned to the Metropolitan Opera for a new production of “Un Ballo in Maschera” conducted by Fabio Luisi.
He added another Verdi masterpiece to his repertoire when he sang the “Messa di Requiem” for the first time at the Teatro San Carlo of Naples in February 2013.
In May 2013 he sang his first performances as Enzo in “La Gioconda” at the Paris Opera, a role that then brought him to the Deutsch Oper in Berlin at the beginning of 2014
2013 also brought him to the Teatro alla Scala for a new production of “Un Ballo in Maschera” and also saw his return to the Vienna State Opera as Cavaradossi in “Tosca” and his return to the Paris Opera for a new “Aida”.
His engagements for 2014 include productions of “Il Trovatore” at La Scala, “Andrea Chenier” at the Metropolitan Opera and at the Paris Opera as well, “Tosca” at he Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich and in Paris, his debuts at the Astana Opera, at the Peralada Festival and at the Theatro Municipal of Sao Paulo.
He will also appear in concert in St. Petersburg where he also records a new solo CD of arias.
His calendar for 2015 includes his debuts as Turiddu and Tonio in a new production of “Cavalleria Rusticana” and “Pagliacci” at the Metropolitan Opera, “Cavalleria Rusticana with the Opera de Monte Carlo and his debut as Calaf in “Turandot” at the Metropolitan Opera.
Although the professional approach to lyric canto has happened relatively in advanced age from an artistic point of view, Alvarez was able to develop his career with attention, both for the kind of roles performed and regarding the tipologie of assumed roles that for the progression of it drafts in which he has been involved. He gives the priority to the maintenance of “Bel Canto” values, to the voice tonal quality, to modulation of the volume and to vocal expression of the emotion.
The challenge and the boosts offered by new roles keep elating Alvarez as shows the brave choice to have changed his repertoire for three times , so as to have performed a lots of roles that, since his professional debut in 1994 till today, has not known interruptions, confirming his fame as a worldwide artist.
At present he lives with his wife an his son near Tortona, Italy.