“No make-up!”… Gregory Kunde

Which is the main feature of your personality?
Easy going, I basically like everyone.
Your worst flaw?
Seriously, I am a procrastinator in the worst way.
Which is your star sign?
Piscies…24 Feb.
Are you superstitious?
Not at all.
What did you dream to become as an adult when you were a child?
A professional baseball player.

Which are your favorite readings?
Any book by Vince Flynn, Richard Ford, Richard Russo, Richard North Patterson (do we see a pattern here?), John Irving, Nick Hornby or Joyce Carol Oates.
Which is the book you have loved the most so far?
Hard to pick one, but The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini is very close to being my favorite. 
Did your family influence your choices?
Not really. My mother was a jazz singer before I was born and my father “played the radio” (his favorite answer to “what instrument do you play?”) but had an interest in music. They never thought it was a good choice to make music my profession. They kept waiting for me to get a “real job”. 
Was music a vocation?
When I was growing up, being a music teacher was a vocation, but not being an opera singer. No one in my town had even heard of opera when I was in school. Most of them still have no idea of what I do. I come from a very small town in Illinois, the heart of the Midwest US.
What’s missing in your life today?

A big, fat retirement account and the ability to be home with my family more often.
The greatest disappointment?
I can’t say I’ve had any that come to mind.
Which is your most cherished memory?
Two days: June 24th, 1986; the day I met my wife for the first time and March 8, 2002; the day I met my daughter Isabella for the first time…she was one second old.
How important is money to you?
A necessary evil. The more you make the more you spend, oh how true.
Which is the item you like spending money on the most?
I like electronic gadgets and watches, but I’ve been very good about NOT spending money on them in the past years. I tend to spend money on my two ladies at home.
Do you collect anything?
No.
Do you have a recurrent dream?

I don’t remember dreams…weird, no?
What are you afraid of the most?
Wagner.
Which is your most ambitious dream?
To play a round of golf with Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus and Phil Mickleson.
The moment you felt the proudest?
The birth of my daughter, Isabella.
Your biggest challenge?
Being a father.
What or who makes you feel embarrassed?
Receiving compliments after a performance (including extremely loud bravos during the curtain calls).
Which is the situation you consider the most relaxing?
Playing golf.
Your favorite subject at school?
Music.
Favorite city?
San Francisco.
Favorite color?
Yellow.
Favorite flower?
Iris.
The holiday or the trip you’d like to take?
Two weeks in Scotland and Ireland ( or anywhere for that matter) to do nothing but play golf.
Day or night?
Night
Tell us your ideal day.
With my wife, sleep late, Starbucks for coffee, a round of golf (with her), and a relaxing dinner at a great restaurant.
Which is your hideaway?
The basement of our house, my office.
The film you love the most?
“The Shawshank Redemption” with Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman.
Your favorite season?
Spring.
Which is the place where cooking is the worst ever?
Whereever I am cooking!
How would you define your relation with food ?
Very good. We love each other very much.
Your favourite dish?
Spaghetti alle Vongole at Ristorante Bristolino in Pesaro.
Red or white wine?
Depends on the food.  Red, without food.  Pinot Noir from California.
What’s never missing in your refrigerator?
Fresh mozzarella, cherry tomatoes and San Pellegrino.
What’s your weakness in kitchen?
Lack of skill!
What’s the soundtrack to your life?
“On the Road Again” by Willie Nelson.
Your favourite singer?
Fritz Wunderlich.
What would you want someone who doesn’t know your voice to listen to?
“Ah, dove il cimento” first act aria from Semiramide.  Recording from Pesaro 1992.
How did your voice change through the years and how do you take care of it, choosing the roles and the repertoire to perform? My voice hasn’t changed all that much over the years.
It has increased in size, but the sound is still me.  Taking care of the voice as one gets older is different, because in order to keep the voice fresh, one needs to practice more, but not so much as to tire the voice.  I need an hour to warm up the voice now as compared to 5 minutes when I first began.  Choosing wisely when to sing and when not to sing in rehearsals is also very important.  Choosing repertoire gets easier as one gets older.  We know our voices better and better as we get older.  Learning to say “no” when you know it’s not a good repertoire choice is the hardest thing for a young singer.  I still check the history and tradition of each role I choose and I still try to make a progression when choosing heavier repertoire such as Vespri Siciliani or Les Troyens.  Who sang the roles when they were premiered, for example.
If you were granted the chance to chose a role, which one would it be?
Two answers: first Rossini’s Otello (one I have already sung and would like to repeat) and second, Werther ( a role I would like to sing that I have not yet sung).  Peter Grimes is another that I would like to do soon.
Which is the first record you ever bought?
“I Wanna Hold Your Hand” by the Beatles.
How’s your attitude towards TV ?
I’m a fan.  House, all CSI and as much sports as possible.
What do you do an hour prior to go on stage?
Sing a bit, do a crossword puzzle, drink a cup of coffee.
What’s never missing in your dressing room?
Honey flavored Ricola, pictures of my wife and daughter.
What do you think of when looking at yourself in the mirror?
You’re too fat!
How would you prefer to die ?
Debt-free, surrounded by family.
Your mood at the moment?
Home-sick.  (wishing I were at home)
What’s your motto?
The most important thing to remember when you’re on stage is to have fun and enjoy the privilege of being an artist.

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