(Born February 27, 1962 in Córdoba, Argentina)
Marcelo Alvarez is an Argentinian born tenor who after a late start has enjoyed a meteoric rise to international stardom.
He was already 30 years old when his wife suggested that he should sing opera. So began 12 hour bus trips to take singing lessons with his teacher who was so impressed she forecast that within five years he would be singing all over the world.
Auditioning for the Teatro Colon in Beunos Aires it was the legendary tenor Giuseppe di Stefano heard him sing and said "this young man sings with his heart, he will have a great career!"
His first stage role was as a late-replacement Count Almaviva in Rossini's Il Barbiere di Siviglia in Córdoba in June 1994 but it was in when the world famous tenor Luciano Pavarotti held worldwide talent auditions in his Pavarotti International Voice Competition in Buenos Aires and heard Marcello Álvarez he immediately invited him to Philadelphia for the finals of the competition the following year.
While still in Argentina, Marcelo Álvarez starred in Donizetti's L'Elisir d'Amore at the Teatro Roma in Buenos Aires. Early performances like this enabled him to hone his voice and acting skills and along with the enthusiastic encouragement from di Stefano and Pavarotti he and his wife sold everything they owned and moved to Europe to expand his opportunities for a career as an opera singer.
Árriving in Europe in 1995 it was only five days later that he won a major voice competition in Pavia and that paved the way for landing contracts with the Teatro La Fenice in Venice and the Teatro Carlo Felice in Genoa.
In Venice, in September of that same year he made a highly praised debut sining Elvino in Bellini's La Sonnambula and that led to further offers from opera houses throughout Europe to sing no less than six new roles throughout 1997.
Every new performance drew increased popularity and enthusiastic critical acclaim and he was soon engaged to appear in some of the most prestitious houses in the world.
His debuts in a demanding number of new roles in the Italian bel Canto and French opera categories saw him adding no less than ten new roles to his repertoire during the first five years of his career. This accellerated his rise onto the international scene.
At short notice he replaced an ailing Alfredo Kraus in La Traviata in Genoa to Mariella Devia's Violetta and it was in this same role that he made his Metropolitan debut with Patricia Racette in 1998 in a new Franco Zefferelli production.
In France he sang it with Ruth Ann Swenson as Violetta and in Germany with Christina Gallardo-Domas.
With Alfredo in La Traviata and The Duke in Rigoletto as his initial signature roles, he played each one of them over 150 performances alone in the first five years of his career.
In 1997 he stepped in at the last minute to replace Alfredo Kraus in the role of Arturo in Bellini's I Puritani in Bologna Italy and a few months later he stepped in to replace him again in a major production of Werther in Genoa.
Following glowing reviews in the Italian press and wide acclaim he was signed to an exclusive Sony Classical recording contract producing six CDs in six years.
In Trieste he sang his first Duke of Mantua in Verdi's Rigoletto in 1997 and multiple productions of Rigoletto followed throughout Europe and South America over the next three years.
In 1999 a performance of Rigoletto at the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie was televised live throughout Europe, New York, and Paris.
In London he performed Donizetti's Linda di Chamounix (concert version) at the Royal Albert Hall and in 2000 he made his debut with the Royal Opera in Offenbach's Les Contes d'Hoffmann.
Today he performs in London regularly and says that London holds a special place in his heart because, "that is the first place that audiences shouted out my name."
There have already been many major highlights in his career - Edgardo in Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor, appearing in ten opera houses in just six years.
Il Trovatore at the Met with Sondra Radvanovsky, Dmitri Hvorostovsky and Dolora Zajick which in 2011 was broadcast worldwide in HD as part of the Met's HD program.
His La Scala debut was in 1998 in Linda di Chamounix with American soprano Laura Claycomb who was also making her La Scala debut.
In 2003 he debuted roles in Donizetti's Lucrezia Borgia and Puccini's La Bohème in a production by Franco Zefferelli with Cristina Gallardo-Domas that had been originally created for Luciano Pavarotti.
In 2003 Marcelo Álvarez and Italian tenor Salvatore Licitra sang in New York's Central Park to an audience of over 50,000 people.
Since 2006 he has transitioned into the more dramatic lirico spinto repertoire with incredible success - including Manrico in Verdi's Il Trovatore- and Cavaradossi in Puccini's Tosca.
Often singing with some of the world's leading sopranos and mezzo's he has sung in Manon opposite American soprano Renée Fleming, Lucia de Lammermoor with Italian soprano Patrizia Ciofi, and Slovak soprano Edita Gruberova, Don José to Russian mezzo-soprano Olga Borodina as Carmen, Tosca with Romanian soprano Angela Gheorghiu, Tosca with soprano Karita Mattila, and another production with Fiorenza Cedolins.
Despite a relatively late start to his career at the age of 32 Marcelo Álvarez has been careful in the development of his career choosing roles carefully and the styles of music that suit his voice.
Today he is a major star enthusiastic about taking on challenging new roles and adding to his already established repertoire of 29 roles since his debut in 1994.
He is a firm advocate of maintaining the principals of bel canto – which requires a smooth vocal line, volume modulations, and vocal expression of emotions while carefully preserving the tonal quality of the voice.
Winning numerous awards for vocal performance, Marcelo Alvarez is considered one of the top tenors in the world today.
He lives with his wife and son near Milan in Italy.