Interview with Paul Ettore Tabone
Known as ‘The Tenor from Oz’, Paul Ettore Tabone is a popular opera, musical theatre and recording artist. Paul has recently concluded a four-year contract at Her Majesty’s Theatre in London’s Glimmering West End in the role of Ubaldo Piango in the 33rd year of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of The Opera. We were lucky to have a chat this week with Paul about his new album and his plans for the future.
Congratulations for releasing your first solo album – what made you decide that now was the right time to do this?
Thank you very much for your congratulations I really appreciate it. I am really proud that I was able to produce this album in such a troubling time. As those of you who know the musical theatre world well, and eight show week is not just a job it is a complete lifestyle. Having to sing opera is already hard but when you were doing at eight shows a week it really demands a lot from you both physically and mentally. It was virtually impossible for me to do anything else than the show.
So trying to stay positive during the pandemic I invested into creating my own label and producing my own debut album. I had the time, I was well rested, and I knew with all my heart it was something I had to do.
How did you go about bringing the music on the album together – is the music special to you?
It wasn’t easy that was for sure. But it was something that I knew I could organise it was just a matter of logistics. Together with my producer Robin smith and my composer and arranger Mateusz Winslaw, we bought together instrumentalists from Poland, the UK, and some in Prague a session instrumentalist to make a wonderful album. Despite social distancing, and many local lockdowns in these different countries, we managed to bring together what was an exceptional piece of work for the given time.
Each and every song in this album means something to me, about who I am, where I am from, And where I have been. Whether it is the song “Heaven (Paradiso)” – my mum and dads wedding song or “Till I hear you sing” – a homage to Andrew Lloyd Webber and having been employed for the last 5 years in his shows Love Never Dies & The Phantom of The Opera – every song means something special.
You’ve performed in both musical theatre and in opera – do you prefer one over the other – if so why?
Each of the genres have a special place in my heart. I am trained in musical theatre with a bachelor of musical theatre from the central Queensland Conservatorium of music in Australia. My choice to move to Opera was one based on my physical appearance. Once upon a time I was a very big boy. I knew that unless I had changed my body and image that I would Not have success in musical theatre and at that time losing weight and better in my life seems like it would be impossible. So I move to Italy and I studied Opera and from there had a very successful time with the Luciano Pavarotti foundation and various engagement as a principal Tenor in many opera houses around Italy and Europe. I knew however that even an opera I would have to have done something about the way I looked and from there lost a staggering 45 kg.
The flame we are still burning inside me for my musical theatre career which then lead me to Germany to perform again in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical “Love Never Dies” in Germany. And then following that my four year contract in the Phantom of the Opera here on London’s West End.
What has been your favourite role to perform so far?
I have absolutely adored performing in all of the roles so far that I have. I would however love to perform the role of Javert (Les Miserable), And I am currently preparing the role of Calaf (Turandot) With my teacher and mentor in Italy Fulvio Massa. However my focus right now is to promote my album and share with the world the beauty of the operating voice through a contemporary music medium like my album.
What has it been like to perform in the cast of the 33rd year of The Phantom of the Opera?
The last four years have been an absolute dream. Performing in the musical that inspired everything for me from a young age, it was complete full circle moment. I saying over 6000 top c’s, In over 1300 shows. Having to go to work and listen to this beautiful music every night was far from work for me, it was a dream and an absolute pleasure.
Do you have a favourite musical memory?
I think my favourite musical memory was watching the Pavarotti and friends concert live on TV as a child in Australia. When I saw Pavarotti thing I knew that this was something I wanted to do when I was older. When I move to Italy and I was accepted as a tenor in the Luciano Pavarotti foundation This was another full circle moment for me. While I was standing on the stage at the arena in Varona singing in celebration of the Maestro, This was my favourite musical memory of all time.
What would your advice be to those young tenors trying to make their way in the music industry?
A lot of us want to only sing Opera. Sadly in this time the art form is struggling. There are so many opportunities in this world to make music. Keep your mind open to possibilities, You are in control of your destiny. Share your voice with the world in anyway possible, and although some of us might not have success in opera specifically as a young Tenor, Share your love of the art form and your voice with the world because everyone will appreciate hearing it.
©Alex Burns 2021
Image Source: Tanja Hall