The 66-year-old Italian bass talks to Limelight about Kings, Christoff, Karajan and the secret of vocal longevity.

Did you grow up in a musical family?

Well, not a musical family there were voices on both sides who never did it professionally. My grandfather, he had a very good tenor voice, and my mother’s sister was a very good soprano. And the mother of my father was a contralto.

So what made you choose opera?
When you are born with a voice you start to sing when you are a kid. I remember I was pleasing my great-grandfather, singing arias that he was teaching to me, but of course I couldn’t care less at that time. The second half of the ‘60s was the most amazing time for pop music. I was playing guitar. I had a group and I was singing a lot of pop. But at a certain moment I didn’t like the ambience of pop music anymore. Anyway, I decided to continue my studies, which were completely different from music. Nevertheless I was sorry not to do something with this natural gift and this famous sister of my mother, who had sung a bit of opera before, she...