The Funny Gramilano Questionnaire
When did you start singing?
On the staircase of my apartment building, there was an echo that added force to my voice; I listened to it as though it were my voice. It was perhaps a way to conquer my shyness.
Why did you start singing?
One of my classmates invited me to join a choir and I was struck by the miracle with which so many different voices could be united by the precision of polyphony. It was a sensation of perfection and of escaping from reality.
Which singer inspired you most when you were young?
In the world of pop music: Mina, Prince, Streisand. In opera, my first influence was a cassette by Luciano Pavarotti that came bundled with a newspaper. I was overwhelmed by the radiant colour of his unmistakable voice and the generosity of his singing.
Which singer do you most admire?
Oh, there are so many! And they are all so different. But all the singers I admire have one thing in common: a vocal quality that is so unique that they can be recognized from the very first note.
What’s your favourite role?
I don’t have a favourite. I give all I can to each role. I must “believe” in it, and my favourite role is the one I am singing at that moment. The latest is Leporello.
What role have you never played but would like to?
Falstaff. Meanwhile, there’s all the bel canto repertoire I haven’t still explored because of the lack of imagination of the so-called market rather than of my own lack of trying.
What’s your favourite opera to watch?
Who is your favourite composer?
Giuseppe Verdi, though I owe so much to Rossini. And perhaps Verdi would say the same.
Who is your favourite writer?
So many!!! How can I choose? I love poetry and my mind goes immediately to Neruda.
Who is your favourite theatre or film director?
I enjoy Tarantino a lot.
Who is your favourite actor?
Who is your favourite dancer?
What is your favourite book?
One of the last ones I have read, and which I feel like reading again, is Entro a volte nel tuo sonno (Sometimes I Enter your Dreams) by Sergio Claudio Perroni.
What is your favourite film?
Italian comedies and thrillers. One movie I could watch repeatedly is Marriage Italian-style.
Which is your favourite city?
What do you like most about yourself?
What do you dislike about yourself?
What was your proudest moment?
If we are talking about my profession, it happens every time I can give a positive image of my country abroad.
When and where were you happiest?
In Paris, singing at the Opéra Garnier.
What or who is the greatest love of your life?
What is your greatest fear?
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I’d like to be less naive.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
When I can lay my head on my pillow knowing that I have given all I could during the day.
What is your most treasured possession?
Never to lose my ability to surprise myself.
What is your greatest extravagance?
I can’t say.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Modesty, especially false modesty.
On what occasion do you lie?
I never lie, except in interviews.
If you hadn’t been a singer what would you have liked to be?
The King… but staying with my feet on the ground, an astronaut.
What is your most marked characteristic?
An innate inclination towards others: to make them smile.
What quality do you most value in a friend?
Sincerity, even when I am proved to be in the wrong.
What quality do you most value in a colleague?
Collaboration, with no unnecessary diva attitude.
Which historical figure do you most admire?
Which living person do you most admire?
Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
What do you most dislike?
What talent would you most like to have?
I’d like to be able to paint, and one day maybe I’ll learn.
What’s your idea of perfect happiness?
Perfect happiness doesn’t exist. There are drops of happiness. Like dew evaporating under the sun, only to return when nobody sees, during the night.
How would you like to die?
I won’t die, I decided that a long time ago.
What is your motto?
I’ve just decided: “I won’t die, I decided that a long time ago”.