The Romanian tenor is making his Aussie debut as Cavaradossi. But which operatic character would he most like to date?

1. Three operas you love most?

The most difficult question – I have much more than three operas I love. Sorry, but I have to choose three from Verdi, three from Puccini and three from the rest:


Otello, Macbeth, Don Carlos


La Bohème, Tosca, Turandot

The rest:

Giordano: Andrea Chénier

Saint-Saëns: Samson et Dalila

Mascagni: Cavalleria Rusticana

Teodor Ilincăi as Cavaradossi in Opera Australia’s Tosca. Photo by Prudence Upton

2. Three favourite tenors?

Franco Corelli, Aureliano Pertile, Giuseppe Giacomini.

3. Three favourite sopranos?

Virginia Zeani, Angela Gheorghiu, Joan Sutherland.

4. Your most memorable musical experience as an audience member?

La Bohème with Angela Gheorghiu at Gran Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona

5. If you weren’t an opera singer, what would you be?

A Zoo Veterinarian or Oceanographer.

6. Three operas you could happily never hear again?

Berg: Wozzeck

Janáček: Jenůfa

Ravel: L’enfant et les Sortilèges

7. Funniest moment onstage?

La Bohème at Hamburg Opera House: Mimì enters with her candle already kindled, I blow to extinguish it, I fail and start to simultaneously laugh and sing.

8. Three favourite movies?

The Bucket List, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, As Good as It Gets.

9. Three operas you like but never get to see?

Turandot, Andrea Chénier, Ernani

10. A recording to be stranded with on a desert island?

Opera arias sung by Ettore Bastianini

11. A singer of the past you’d like to perform with?

Ettore Bastianini, Virginia Zeani

12. A conductor, past or present, you’d like to perform with?

Carlos Kleiber, Herbert von Karajan, Daniel Barenboim

13. Most overrated composer?

Benjamin Britten

14. Most underrated composer?

George Enescu

15. The last book you couldn’t put down?

Gabriel García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude

16. Six opera characters you would like to have around for dinner?

Cyrano de Bergerac, Musetta, Nemorino, Colline, Carmen, Andrea Chénier

17. An opera character you’d like to go on a date with?

Minnie from La Fanciulla del West

18. Three clichés that annoy you about opera?

When singers say that on the stage they identify with the character

When people say about bad singers: “Maybe he’s not in his prime, but he acts and he has experience”

Lately, many stage directors try to reinvent opera, this tends to be a cliché

19. Your favourite food?


20. Three guilty pleasures?

Red perfumed wine; Watching movies until very late; Telling too many jokes

Teodor Ilincăi sings Cavaradossi in Opera Australia’s production of Tosca, at the Sydney Opera House February 17 to March 31