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Louis Quilico

Louis Quilico

Canadian-born Louis Quilico, acclaimed leading baritone, has enjoyed a distinguished career for over 45 years. In 1996-97 Mr. Quilico celebrated his 25th year at the Metropolitan Opera, where he performed with tenors Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo, Jon Vickers, José Carreras, and sopranos Joan Sutherland, Renata Tebaldi, Renata Scotto and Beverly Sills, among others. Although his extensive repertoire is over 80 roles, Mr. Quilico has become strongly identified as the “ultimate singing actor” in over 510 performances of Rigoletto. He has performed all the leading baritone roles in most of the major opera houses throughout the word, including Covent Garden, the Paris Opera and the Vienna Staatsoper. Likewise, Mr. Quilico has performed with many of the world’s leading conductors, including among others, James Levine, Zubin Mehta, Richard Bonynge and Claudio Abbado. Since his retirement from New York’s Metropolitan Opera in 1998, Mr. Quilico has continued to record and perform as a soloist and with his wife, concert pianist Christina Petrowska. The duo has released two CDs: Two of a Kind (1996) and Chants français et russes (1998). Mr. Quilico also featured in two books by Ms. Petrowska: Opera Illustrated (Captus Press, 1994) and Mr. Rigoletto: In Conversation with Louis Quilico (Captus Press, 1996). Recently, Mr. Quilico sang opposite composer and lyricist Frank Loesser’s daughter Emily at a star-studded tribute in New York City. Mr. Quilico appeared as “Tony” in a 1991 production by the New York City Opera of Loesser’s The Most Happy Fella. He will reprise the role on an upcoming CD recording released by Ter Classics of London, England. Born in Montréal, Canada in 1925, Louis Quilico trained with Martial Singher at the Conservatoire of Montréal and Mannes College, New York City, and with Teresa Pediconi and Riccardo Stracciari at the Santa Cecilia Conservatory in Rome. He made his professional stage debut in 1954 with the Montréal Opera Guild and the following year won the Metropolitan Opera “Auditions of the Air.” Mr. Quilico made his New York debut in 1955, performing the role of “Germont” in the New York City Opera production of La Traviata. He reprised the role for the same company in 1957, opposite soprano Beverly Sills. In 1958, he appeared opposite his former teacher, Martial Singher, in a production of La Grande Duchesse de Gerolstein at New York City’s prestigious Town Hall. In 1959, Mr. Quilico sang the title role in Il Duca d’Alba at the Spoleto Festival. Produced by Luchino Visconti, the production was directed by Giancarlo Menotti and conducted by Thomas Schippers. In 1960, he made his Covent Garden debut playing opposite Joan Sutherland in La Traviata. He became a member of the company and remained until 1963. In 1962, Mr. Quilico performed at the Bolshoi Theatre and at the Vienna Staatsoper, and in 1963 he debuted at the Paris Opera. He sang at the premiere of Milhaud’s oratorio Pacem in terris and was a member of the cast for the Geneva premiere of La Mère coupable. Between 1964 and 1971, Mr. Quilico performed regularly at many of the world’s great opera houses and was a frequent guest with the Canadian Opera Company and the Opéra du Québec. In 1972, Mr. Quilico made his Metropolitan Opera debut when he was called in as a last minute replacement for Thomas Stewart in a production of Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande. Several months later he replaced Tito Gobbi in the title role of Otello in yet another Met production. The following year, Mr. Quilico appeared in five Metropolitan Opera productions, beginning a long and prestigious career with the company which lasted for 25 consecutive seasons. During the 1970s and 1980s, Mr. Quilico guested with most of the major opera companies in the United States and Europe and appeared in many roles in “Live from the Met” telecasts seen across North America and in Europe. In 1987, he and his son, Gino, made opera history as the first father/son team to perform at the Metropolitan Opera. Mr. Quilico gave his final performance as “Rigoletto” at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa on September 17, 1994. Mr. Quilico has been awarded the highest award granted by the Canadian Government: The Companion of the Order of Canada. He received an honorary doctorate from the Université du Québec and was awarded the first “Distinguished Visitor Award” by the University of Toronto. Mr. Quilico won the Prix de musique Calixa-Lavallée in 1965 and the Canadian Music Council medal in 1985. A street in the municipality of Saint-Léonard, near Montréal, has been named in his honor. In November 1999, Louis Quilico was presented with the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award. Mr. Quilico currently teaches at Philadelphia’s Academy of Vocal Arts and the Glenn Gould Professional School, Royal Conservatory of Music, Toronto.

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