70-year-old tenor gives a masterclass to a younger tenor – and leaves him absolutely speechless

28 July 2017, 10:52

By Maddy Shaw Roberts

This 70-year-old maestro tenor has such amazing technique, he can still sing like a 30-year-old – so he passed on his wisdom to a young rising star.

Salvatore Fisichella is an internationally acclaimed Italian operatic tenor. And at 70 years old, he can still totally smash a Puccini aria out of the park.

While instructing vocalists at the Mediterranean Opera Studio and Festival, he gave a masterclass on ‘Che Gelida Manina’ (from Puccini’s La Bohème) with American tenor Andrew Owens.

Andrew Owens' voice is glorious in its own right, but Fisichella’s achievement of converting him from an incredible tenor into a virtuoso in the space of nine minutes is absolutely astounding. His techniques of ‘widening’ the sound and expanding while singing (“punta e allarga,” he says – “aim and widen”) are astonishingly effective: Owens’s voice gains depth and warmth, even on the aria’s famous high C.

It is deeply touching to watch the two singers together. Fisichella has a frank, upfront approach to teaching, appraising Owens for his high C, which he describes as “lacking development and passions”. Yet Owens, humbled by the power in the 70-year-old’s voice, is left misty-eyed and completely moved.

Listen out for that eye-wateringly magnificent note at 6:44.



Salvatore is now 74, and remains a great teacher of the Belcanto (beautiful singing) tradition for the Mediterranean Opera Studio and Festival.