Gino Quilico | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Gino Quilico

He made his debut 8 Jun 1977 as Mr Gobineau in a production of Menotti's The Medium by COMUS Music Theatre, Toronto.

Quilico, Gino

 Gino Quilico (or Quilicot). Baritone, b New York 29 Apr 1955. Gino Quilico began singing at age 20 as an extra in the chorus of the Canadian Opera Company (COC). He studied 1976-8 with his father, baritone Louis Quilico, and mother, Lina Quilico, and with James Craig and Constance Fisher in the opera department at the University of Toronto.

He made his debut 8 Jun 1977 as Mr Gobineau in a production of Menotti's The Medium by COMUS Music Theatre, Toronto. Upon graduating from the University of Toronto, Quilico appeared in the COC touring production of The Marriage of Figaro (1978), and the same year made his American debut in the role of Papageno in the Milwaukee production of The Magic Flute. He appeared again with the COC as Escamillo in Carmen and sang Paolo in that company's production of Simon Boccanegra, with his father in the title role. He played Ford in a scene from Falstaff, again with his father in the title role, on the CBC TV program Portrait de Louis Quilico (1979). In 1979 he began studying at the École d'art lyrique of the Paris Opéra, where he was offered a three-year contract.

After Quilico's European debut as Morris Townsend in the Opéra-Comique premiere of Damase's L'Heritière (1980), a series of major debuts followed, including those at the Edinburgh Festival (1982), and at Covent Garden, London (1983), where he performed the role of Valentin in Gounod's Faust. Other roles performed by Quilico during this period included Figaro in The Barber of Seville; Mercutio in Roméo et Juliette; the title role in Monteverdi's Orfeo; Lescaut in Puccini's Manon Lescaut; and Gautier les Ormes in the premiere of Marcel Landowski's Montségur (1985).

He returned to Canada in 1983 to make his debut with the Opéra de Montréal as Lescaut in Massenet's Manon. In 1988 he received favourable reviews for his portrayal of the title role in the COC's production of Don Giovanni opposite his father. Between 1989 and 1997 Gino Quilico did not appear in a Canadian opera production; however, in 1997 he was invited to perform at a gala concert for the Opéra de Montréal, and in 1999 performed at the Millennium Gala at Toronto's Roy Thomson Hall (1999).

As International Performer

Although Gino Quilico's performances were well received by Canadian audiences and critics, he has especially gained recognition for his work on the international stage. In 1987 Quilico made his debut at New York's Metropolitan Opera, where he sang the role of Lescaut in Massenet's Manon. He repeated the role later that year, this time opposite his father, and together they made history as the first father and son to share the stage at the Met. In 1992 Quilico debuted in Milan at La Scala in the role of Marcello in the company's production of Puccini's La bohème. Since the early 1990s, Quilico continued to appear in productions at the Met and La Scala. With the Metropolitan Opera, he created the role of Figaro opposite Teresa Stratas in the world premiere of John Corigliano's The Ghosts of Versailles (1991), and sung the roles of Ford in Falstaff (1996); Escamillo in Carmen, opposite Placido Domingo (1997); Belcore in L'Elisir d'amore (1997); and Coroebus in Les Troyens (2003).

In addition, Quilico appeared with opera companies in Philadelphia, Dallas, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, as well as in Cologne, Salzburg, Paris, London, and Florence. He performed with numerous orchestras including the Berlin Staatsoper, the Bayerische Rundfunk in Munich, the Orchestre National de France, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, and the Toronto and Montreal symphonies.

Gino Quilico won praise both for his warm, lyric baritone voice, and for his always expressive and dependable acting ability. Typically sung by Quilico are lighter baritone roles in the French and Italian repertoires such as Escamillo in Carmen, Lescaut in Manon, Don Giovanni, Figaro in Rossini's The Barber of Seville, Marcello in La bohème, and Silvio in I Pagliacci. However, in more recent years he undertook heavier roles including the title role in Eugene Onegin and the villainous Iago in Verdi's Otello.

As Recording Artist

Many of Quilico's performances were recorded for video, including Rossini's The Barber of Seville with mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli (1988); La bohème (1987); La Cenerentola at the Salzburg Festival (1988); The Ghosts of Versailles with the Metropolitan Opera (1991); and Carmen at Covent Garden (1991). Quilico also made extensive sound recordings, including Duos d'opérettes with soprano Barbara Hendricks (CDC 5 55151 2 EMI Classics, 1994), a solo album entitled Le Secret (KIC-CD-7412, 1997), and the 1995 Grammy award-winning recording of Berlioz's opera Les Troyens (443 693-2 Decca).

Awards and Honours

Gino Quilico was the recipient of several national awards and honours for his achievements. In 1988 he was named Artist of the Year by the Canadian Music Council, and in 1990 was appointed Canada's first Goodwill Ambassador to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. In 1993 Gino Quilico was made an Officer of the Order of Canada.

Further Reading