Italian tenor Raffaele Abete made his debut at the Arena di Verona as Ismaele in Nabucco in 2015. Since then, he’s portrayed Romeo in Gounod’s Romeo et Juliette, Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni, Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor and Rodolfo in La Bohème.

Born in Naples in 1984, Raffaele studied at the Conservatorio di Musica Domenico Cimarosa in Avellino under the guidance of Maestro Pasquale Tizzani. He lives in Milan.

When he sings the role of the Duke with Opera Carolina, he’ll be singing in his native language. We interviewed him by email, and his responses were in Italian which have been translated and edited lightly for brevity and clarity.

You’re portraying the playboy Duke. What fun! What do you like about your character?

The role is particularly fascinating. Vocally speaking, the Duke is technically challenging as he develops his singing on the passaggio of the vocal register, culminating sometimes in shining high notes. The character is also fascinating from a dramatic point of view, as, despite what people may think at first, he is a very thoughtful and mutable character. The lightness with which he looks at life is the result of a choice and not of frivolous behavior.

Have you played the Duke before? Yes, at the Arena di Verona and at the Teatro Comunale di Bogna, both in Italy.

What do you love about Rigoletto?

Actually, it is my favorite opera! You can find in this masterpiece the most famous arias of the Italian melodrama.

What is your dream role?

As I said, this is my favorite opera, and the Duke is also my favorite role. If you ask me what I would like to sing again as a dream role, it’s Arturo in Bellini’s I Puritani.

What are your hobbies? What do you do when you’re not on stage?

I like going to the gym and playing football. Every Saturday, with a group of friends since we were children, I play football, and then we all go to a pizza place in Naples, my hometown. I also love skiing, cooking, computers and pizza Napolitano!

Who’s your favorite composer? What’s your favorite opera?

Of course, I love Mozart a lot. Perfect technique is needed to sing Mozart because he is very refined. When you sing Mozart, you need to focus on intonation, diction and phrasing. Every day I warm up with Don Giovanni; it’s the “medicine” a singer can use to have his voice perfectly ready to sing anything.

Learn more about Rigoletto or purchase tickets: or 704.372.1000