Pop Opera Superstar Pasquale Esposito – Fra Noi
With 11 albums, four PBS specials and a host of world tours under his belt, the popular crossover crooner has dedicated his career to fanning Italy’s bright musical flame.
He was born in Naples, Italy, but became a favorite son of Americans of all ethnic backgrounds. Pasquale Esposito is a pop operatic tenor, PBS superstar, and successful recording and touring artist. For more than two decades, he has kept Italy’s classic songs and the nation’s vocal icons relevant and exciting for today’s audiences.
The youngest of five siblings, Pasquale grew up listening to Enrico Caruso. He started singing at the age of 5 and two years later was performing in church. He moved to California in 1998 over his parents’ objections, took ESL classes, received his green card through an immigrant lottery, and earned a degree in vocal performance from the University of California. San Jose State in 2009.
During all this time, he traveled back and forth in Italy and around the world to the delight of thousands of people. In 2007, he joined Gigi D’Alessio and Anna Tatangelo for the American leg of their world tour. Then there was a world tour of his own music called “Simply Pasquale”.
Pasquale is no stranger to the recording studio, releasing 11 albums over the years, many of which have been supported by international touring. He got the ball rolling in 2005 with an Italian musical revue titled “Naples…That’s Amore!” This was followed in 2009 by “A Brand New Me”, with pop music in English and Italian, and in 2011 by “Il Tempo”, a double CD of Italian and Neapolitan standards.
His wholehearted embrace of his musical heritage has garnered critical acclaim and a burgeoning fanbase. As his popularity grew, the clamor prompted him to establish a television presence. In response, he wrote and produced “Pasquale Esposito Celebrates Enrico Caruso” for PBS.
Released in 2015, the program was filmed in the historic Castello Giusso on the Amalfi Coast and featured the famous Santa Chiara Orchestra. Leaving no stone unturned, Pasquale sought input from opera legend Placido Domingo.
In a tenor-on-tenor interview woven throughout the special, Pasquale asked Placido questions about Caruso’s impact and the joys and challenges of operatic life. The exchange, which offers a fabulous insight into the minds and hearts of two great performers, can be viewed on Pasquale’s YouTube channel.
The show was a masterfully produced exploration of the life and legacy of one of history’s most famous singers. A huge hit, it reached millions of viewers and catapulted Pasquale to the next level of stardom.
Later in 2015, Pasquale had a triumphant debut with the San Francisco Opera when it premiered Marco Tutino’s “Two Women.” Adapted from the 1961 film “La ciociara,” starring Sophia Loren, the performance brought together the movie icon and rising voice star. The pair had previously shared the stage during Loren’s US tour, and a friendship quickly blossomed.
I first met Pasquale in 2015 when WTTW aired its PBS special. We co-hosted the show on Channel 11, and I welcomed him on stage at the Arcada Theater in St. Charles, where he performed to a packed house full of adoration.
At one point on the PBS special, Domingo offered the following advice to aspiring singers: “Work hard, be humble, and most importantly, be prepared.” No truer word could be said of Pasquale. He is one of the most talented and generous professionals I have ever met.
Since that night at the Arcada, he has remained close friends with many of his Chicago fans, especially Joe Bruno, who welcomed Pasquale into his home whenever the tenor performed at the San Francesca di Paola at Casa Italia.
Pasquale’s second PBS special, “Pasquale Esposito Celebrates Italian Squares”, was another outstanding production focusing on Italy’s breathtaking art and culture. It aired in 2018, and I had the honor of performing it at that time at the Arcada, where a sold-out crowd greeted his performance with several standing ovations.
In 2020, Pasquale shot not one, but two more television specials in Naples: “Il Tempo”, a live and remastered version of the album he released 10 years earlier, and “In the Spirit of Christmas “, his first Yuletide special. At the time, however, the pandemic had brought touring to a screeching halt.
At the beginning of 2021, I received a call from Pasquale. He was just checking out what was happening in Chicago, a city he had fallen in love with. When I told him we were bringing the Columbus Day Parade back, he immediately asked, “When is that?” and also quickly added, “I want to come celebrate with you and my friends over there!”
And celebrate that he did. Pasquale hopped on a jet from California and joined us in the parade, leading a huge concert down State Street, then joined us at Casa Italia for the post-parade celebration. That’s the kind of guy he is.
This year, he will finally hit the road again after a two-year break. “I cherish my ability to perform in front of a live audience again,” says Pasquale. “My voice is a gift I received, and it’s a gift I can’t wait to share again with my friends around the world.”
His highly anticipated “Il Tempo” tour will consist of a mix of songs from the 1880s to the present day, including Italian standards, operatic classics, Broadway favorites and original music. “There will be songs with personal stories that have been an important part of my musical journey,” he says. “I miss the love I feel from the audience. This will be our best show ever!
“Il Tempo” promises to be a multimedia experience that highlights a life devoted to celebrating Italy’s many splendours.
Pasquale Esposito’s mission is to promote his musical heritage. He accomplishes this through his God-given talent, a sincere love for people, and a huge heart. Caruso, Pavarotti, Bocelli, Esposito: A natural progression in the perpetuation of a glorious tradition.
Pasquale Esposito will perform at a fundraiser for Casa Italia on July 9. For a downloadable PDF, click here.
The above article appears in the April 2022 issue of the print version of Fra Noi. Our beautiful monthly magazine contains a veritable feast of news and views, profiles and articles, entertainment and culture. Register, Click here.