Meet Opera Australia’s new Figaro, the Italian bass baritone who’s turning ‘buffo’ into a total art form.

Paolo Bordogna is a man on a mission. Australian audiences will know him as the lascivious lead in Opera Australia’s The Turk in Italy, all oily charm and an eye for Emma Matthews’ cleavage. But Bordogna isn’t just a frivolous funny man, he’s a serious funny man whose reputation for the bufforoles – those crotchety old men who always seem to lose out in love to the languishing tenor or the wily baritone – has landed him a plum contract with Decca Classics. Not only that, it’s the first time in the history of the English label that a whole recital focussing on the history of opera buffahas been entrusted to an Italian bass baritone.

With Emma Matthews and Samuel Dundas in The Turk in Italy. Photo by Lisa Tomasetti

Bordogna is in rehearsal in Sydney for Sir David McVicar’s new staging of The Marriage of Figaro– he plays Figaro – so the opportunity for a face to face is not to be missed. I start with...