Paint to Opera

PHOENIX, Ariz.– Not many would believe that the voice behind the “Duke of Mantua” in Arizona Opera’s “Rigoletto” is one that has only been singing for four years.

Anthony Kalil’s path as an opera singer didn’t start with the traditional music background. He sung throughout high school but stopped after he became a technical representative for Sherwin-Williams for seven years.

When a friend approached him to sing at their wedding he realized he had to get back to his true passion.

Kalil took six months of voice lessons before trying his luck in New York City. He was offered a position into the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program at the Metropolitan Opera.

“But there’s always, you know, that person who ends up taking a little longer to maybe get into the business, to get into singing, to understand that they have a passion for it; that they have a talent for it,” said Fenlon Lamb, stage director of “Rigoletto.”

Kalil knew he was amongst the best of the best at the Metropolitan Opera and had to put in a lot of work to be at the same level as the traditional music background singers.

“Going in not having certain parts of the education down, not having the languages down as most of the people did coming into the program, I felt a little behind,” Kalil said.

Kalil acknowledges that while the initial transitions were difficult, the Metropolitan Opera taught him much. The three-year program provides him with much of the knowledge that he would obtain at a musical institution.

“I mean he gets to observe some of the best singers in the world,” said Michael Corvino, title role in “Rigoletto.” “So my opinion is that he’ll do well on both accounts; he’s got a great voice and he’s great looking.”

With everything that Kalil has learned working with the Metropolitan Opera and other companies like Arizona Opera, he does not regret taking the leap of faith.

In 2015, Kalil will finish the young artist program and continue his career as a singer with Santa Fe Opera, Seattle Opera, and St. Louis Opera.

“Sometimes I think people get stuck in doing something they don’t necessarily want to do in their life when there is a passion that they have,” Kalil expressed. “I think that everyone should take the time to pursue it.”



The remaining “Rigoletto” performances with the Arizona Opera will take place at the Tucson Music Hall.

Saturday, November 22, 2014 – 7:30pm
Sunday, November 23, 2014 – 2:00pm


Natalie J. Sanchez is a reporter for Arizona Sonora News Service, a service from the School of Journalism at the University of Arizona. Reach her at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *