On the Couch with Arthur Mescallado Espiritu

Arthur Espiritu Arts Review On the CouchWho is Arthur Mescallado Espiritu?
I’m a Filipino-American based in Manila at the moment with my wonderful wife and son and expecting another one soon. I’m a freelance Opera Singer (Tenor) travelling to all parts of the world singing, acting and collaborating with wonderful people of all tongues. Well, at least the ones I have come across thus far. I have been teaching private voice lessons and it makes me happy being able to share my experiences with fabulous young talents.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
I feel that in this life, we all have choices and those choices lead us to ultimately where we are meant to be.  Of course there are alternate realities if we were to make consequently different choices from our previous ones, but it is up to our fate. Yes, I do believe in fate. I find it very stressful to think about what I should be doing and what needs to happen to make other things happen. I do believe in hard work and persistence but this is after I have made a concrete and well thought out decision. It’s hard for me to make a decision but when I do, I try to calculate the pros and cons and when I decide, I would have reviewed the pros and cons and make my decision according to what information is available to me at that particular time. It is the part that we just can’t control and foresee that is the scary part. So I just leave it up to fate. I did think about maybe going to med school, but that was my parents’ dream of what I should be doing.

Who inspires you and why?
I find that throughout our lives as travelling performing artists, we meet several special individuals that play an instrumental part in our lives. A great example would be an old mentor of mine while I was growing up in New Orleans. An old friend, a fellow tenor in the church choir, and later became my sponsor during my University years. Mr. Buddy Carruth was one of the most instrumental figures in my life. My teacher Dr. Raquel Cortina who recruited me and has been my guide for so many years. Also my other teachers, the late professor Richard Miller and Dr. Robert White Jr. My wonderful wife Christina who understands me beyond words, my parents who worked so hard to raise me, my friends, relatives, who have made a contribution to who I am now. I’m so thankful to them.

What would you do to make a di?erence in the world?
I think that doing what you can in the simplest way makes so much difference. Opening the doors for someone, giving way to an elderly, yielding to fellow motorists, paying for someone’s overdue parking meter, smiling at strangers in the streets, not judging people according to what they look like and really getting to know them. So, random acts of kindness really, really makes the world a better place for us. As for me, in the field that I am in, I find that teaching is where I can make a difference. Because I can affect and pass on my experiences to deserving young talents. I’d like to be able to have a good career but I also take great pride and joy in feeling that certain accomplishment when a young artist you are teaching gets that audition and lands a job. Nothing really compares.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
I love visiting the local beaches of the Philippine Archipelago. Boracay is one of them, Palawan Island where there are underground river channels and a place called El Nido. I like being close to water because it gives me peace of mind and it relaxes me.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
I like taking them to local neighborhoods that serve foods that are unique and I’m a foodie so I like going on food trips. Some delicacies that are reasonable to the palate and stomach, not the weird ones though. It’s good to experience something different from time to time.

What are you currently reading?
I’m reading The Manchurian Candidate – a novel by Richard Condon.

What are you currently listening to?
The (Unfinished) Symphony No. 8 in B minor by Franz Schubert. I just love its beauty and organization and finality, even though it’s unfinished. When I’m doing a big project or writing something, this keeps me focused and organized all the time.

Happiness is?
Spending time with loved ones. Peace of mind and being anxiety-free. Keeping a good balance between emotion and lifestyle. Remembering the happy moments and making new ones.

What does the future hold for you?
Of course nothing is ever certain in my line of work because each year / season you don’t know where you will be but I’d like to think that if I do a good job and keep the quality of my work at the highest level consistently, the future will look good. I can’t control what the future will be but I will keep leaving it to fate and good positive energy.

But immediately after King Roger in Melbourne, I will head over to Vienna to sing the Duke in Verdi’s Rigoletto, then I head over to Munich to sing Prince Ramiro in Rossini’s La Cenerentola, then sing in a concert, then head over to Tel-Aviv to sing another Rodolfo in Puccini’s La Boheme with the New Israeli Opera. This will be until mid-December. Then I head over to Switzerland to sing a role debut of Gualtiero in Bellini’s Il Pirata. This will start my 2018.

Arthur stars as the Shepherd in Opera Australia’s production of Karol Szymanowski’s King Roger at Arts Centre Melbourne: 19 – 27 May 2017. For more information, visit: www.opera.org.au for details.

Image: Arthur Mescallado Espiritu (supplied)