Louis Gentile

born September 2nd, 1957 Connecticut

Picture of Louis Gentile
Gentile, Louis, Tenor, * 2.9.1957 im Staat Connecticut (USA); er wurde in New York zunächst als Bariton ausgebildet, wechselte aber noch während des Studiums ins Tenor-Fach. Er gewann in seiner amerikanischen Heimat mehrere Gesangwettbewerbe, darunter 1981 den Concours "Young Talent Presented". Dann kam er nach Europa und wurde durch Gastspiele, Rundfunk- und Fernsehauftritte bekannt. 1983–86 war er am Staatstheater von Darmstadt, 1986–88 an den Vereinigten Theatern Krefeld-Mönchengladbach engagiert. Hier sang er u.a. sehr erfolgreich den Alfredo in "La traviata" und trat 1987 als Gösta Berling in der Oper "I cavalieri di Ekebù" von Zandonai auf. Er gastierte in Wien und Oslo, an der Niederländischen Oper Amsterdam (1988 in "Fidelio") und an der Berliner Staatsoper (1988 in "Judith" von Siegfried Matthus). 1990 sprang er ohne vorherige Probe an der Deutschen Oper Berlin als Hoffmann in "Hoffmanns Erzählungen" ein und erzielte einen großen Erfolg; im gleichen Jahr sang er an diesem Haus den Hans Schwalb in "Mathis der Maler" von Hindemith, 1991 am Münchner Theater am Gärtnerplatz den Pedro in "Tiefland" von d'Albert, in Oslo den José in "Carmen", in Wiesbaden in der zeitgenössischen Oper "Macbeth" von Antonio Bibalo, in deren Uraufführung er am 29.9.1990 an der Oper von Oslo die Titelrolle kreiert hatte. 1994 gastierte er in Amsterdam als Tambourmajor in "Wozzeck" von A. Berg. 1995 wirkte er am Theater von Bielefeld in der Uraufführung von Viktor Ullmanns "Der Sturz des Antichrist" mit. Aus seinem Repertoire sind noch der Tamino in der "Zauberflöte", der Graf Almaviva im "Barbier von Sevilla", der Boris in "Katja Kabanowa" von Janácek (Leipzig 1995), der Ormindo in Cavallis "L'Ormindo", der Rodolfo in "La bohème", der Erik im "Fliegenden Holländer" und der José in "Carmen" zu nennen. 1997 sang er in Wiesbaden den Kurfürsten in "Der Prinz von Homburg" von H.W. Henze, am Opernhaus von Leipzig (und 1998 an den Opern von Gent und Antwerpen) den Tristan, in Leipzig auch den Aussätzigen in "Saint François d'Assise" von O. Messiaen sowie 1999 den Hans in Smetanas "Verkaufter Braut". Schallplatten: CPO ("Der Sturz des Antichrist" von V. Ullmann).
Reference
Louis Gentile sings Prodaná nevěsta: Wo die Mutter bringt mir Segen, with Snežana Stamenković

Louis Gentile sings If I had the chance (Gentile's own composition)

François Nouvion didn't quite like Gentile, as is obvious from what he wrote about him:

Gentile had several vocal deficiencies that did not get better with time. He was soon in demand to replace sick helden tenors. He was singing Tannhäuser in Munich, replacing a sick colleague, and wobbled all the evening. We can hear the same type of singing in another Tannhäuser in an horrible Geneva production that did not help him either. (The production must be seen to be believed.) At the beginning of his career, he was given, thanks to a friend, a role as one of the armed men in the Magic flute. He did not show up without informing anybody, invoking later that the role was too small for him. He is a great cartoonist and liked to make fun of people by posting on opera house bulletin boards, where he was singing, cartoons of people in charge. A fact that did endear him with management and finally got him fired.

So Gentile seems to have been kind of an operatic rebel, which is not the worst of all things in my opinion. About the wobble, it's all true, but at least in the early stage of his career, he could be excellent (I fondly recall a Pagliacci production directed by George Tabori at the tiny Vienna Kammeroper with Gentile as Canio, where he excelled also as an actor), plus he obviously kept a healthy distance to himself and his own importance, which is an all-too-rare feature in opera indeed. (Look, on his website, for the audio of a masterclass where he is advised by Luciano Pavarotti – few singers would ever publish an audio that shows them in such a humble position and inchoate state of training.)
Both before and after his operatic career, Gentile sang (and played the guitar) in a rock and pop band (he had his own pop band as early as age 15, and toured the USA quite successfully with that band). On his website, you can hear him both in opera and in rock songs like "Pretty woman" or "Lucy in the sky with diamonds", and you can proceed to a Facebook page dedicated to his (actually extraordinary) cartoons.

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