In Conversation With . . . Christos Stassinopoulos, Part II

Christos Stassinopoulos is a Greek tenor opera singer and actor with a distinguished career in theatre, television, radio, and film. The Walt Disney Company selected him as the voice of Aladdin in the Greek dubbed version of the animated movie and its sequels and as the dubbed voices for Tweedledum and Tweedledee in Alice in Wonderland. He is also the Greek voice of Aladdin in the television series.

Selections from his latest work, Four Centuries of Songs, (not yet available for distribution) can be heard on his website, MySpace page, and YouTube channel. The songs were selected from a number of cultural epochs from the Renaissance until today and are stunning examples of an astonishing natural gift honed by excellent training and an artistic sensibility at once earthy and refined. Recently Christos took the time to talk with Wanda Waterman St. Louis about religion, favourite singers, and artistic self-care.

The Care and Feeding of a Tenor Voice

Honestly I do nothing! I drink cold water even in winter, and I don’t consume egg yolks.

I do train consistently with my vocal teacher twice a week and I also rehearse with my pianist twice a week.

When I sing I strive to honour the composer, to serve the style of the various eras of music with no operatic mannerisms or vocal vanity, and above all to touch even one listener’s heart and take him or her on my trip to that other dimension.

Favourite Singers

Maria Callas, Giulietta Simionato, Teresa Stratas, Markella Hatziano, Beniamino Gigli, Jussi Björling, Giuseppe di Stefano, Franco Corelli, Birgit Nilsson, Nat King Cole, Mahalia Jackson, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Mercedes Sosa, Sergio Endrigo, Fleury Dadonaki, Dulce Pontes, Sade, Lisa Gerrard, just to mention very few . . .

Inspiring Cultural Fodder

The live recording of Maria Callas’s performance as Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor at La Scala in January 1954 under Herbert von Karajan (the first complete opera recording I ever listened to, when I was just 10 years old); Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s book The Little Prince; Victor Fleming’s film The Wizard of Oz; Peter Schreier’s live recording of Schubert’s Winterreise accompanied by Sviatoslav Richter, 1985; David Llewelyn Wark Griffith’s film Intolerance; Thomas Mann’s novella Death in Venice; Luchino Visconti’s film Death in Venice; Ludwig van Beethoven’s Letters; Manos Hadjidakis’s album Gioconda’s Smile; and Felix Mendelssohn’s Lieder ohne Worte (Songs without Words) performed by Daniel Barenboim (one of my most favourite musical works).

Ideal Conditions for Creativity

Greece is not really a good place to develop an artistic career; the horizons are narrow for the kind of music I serve. There are limited opportunities for concerts, rare opportunities for opera performances, no opportunities for musical theatre, and no opportunities at all in the local record industry.

I’ve never had the chance to experience any ideal conditions, so I can’t say for sure what ideal conditions for creativity would be. The only certain thing I can say is that music has always been my small window to light even during the darkest moments of my life.

On Belief

I’m an agnostic, not at all religious. For thousands of years religion and politics have been tools in the hands of rulers to manipulate the people, causing endless pain, segregation, and loss.

I strongly believe in humanism, tolerance, individual free will, respect for one’s neighbour, acceptance of diversity, multiculturalism, and progressive thinking. My social conscience affects all my choices and my stand on life.

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