“El Vito,” performed by Inés de Arvizu
As a country of abundant cultural diversity, Spain has gifted the world a wealth of musical contributions. But arguably some of the most readily identifiable Spanish traditions have emerged from the southern autonomous community of Andalusia, including the vastly popular and influential flamenco and bolero. Straddling the line between these two genres, the title of the staple song “El Vito” alludes to the infamous St. Vitus’ dance; a fitting connection given the electrifying nature of flamenco. “El Vito’s” influence has extended well beyond Spanish boundaries, with jazz luminaries like John Coltrane and Charlie Haden among the scores of artists that have adapted the song into their repertoires. The list includes our very own Spanish soprano Inés de Arvizu, who recently performed this classic with gusto while she waits to sing for Silversea guests once again.
Musically curious from a young age and with family history of sopranos, De Arvizu began honing her skills with ballet and piano lessons. “I was always naturally more inclined to sing, so I was encouraged to pursue professional studies” says the Spanish soprano, who combined her Law degree studies with musical instruction. Her studies took her to Paris where she continued her vocal training before settling in 2009 in Valencia, where she earned a Bachelors Degree from the city’s Conservatorio Superior de Música. There she trained and worked with local baritone Ramón de Andrés. In 2015, she moved to Madrid where she met pianist Manuel Burgueras who worked for 20 years with famed Spanish soprano Montserrat Caballé. Since 2016, De Arvizu has been a member of Luna Rossa Productions and in the same year embarked on her first onboard performance on Silver Wind.
Where is home right now?
At the moment I’m living in my hometown: the city of León in northwestern Spain, where my family lives. I recorded “El Vito” in the living room of my flat.
Why did you choose to perform “El Vito”?
It was suggested that I perform a Spanish song because of my nationality, which I thought was a very good idea. This song in particular is very famous; the music and rhythms are very characteristic of southern Spain, which always gives that special touch of classic Spanish and flamenco styles that’s so recognizable. I feel very closely identified with this genre and often include it in my performances.
What are some of your musical influences?
I’m mostly influenced by the Italian opera school of the 19th century; not only because of the music but also for the opera singers that made history. In my opinion, the quality of the operatic sound achieved during that time reached the peak of pureness and perfection. And I feel very close to the romantic intensity, dramatically speaking, of the operas of this time more than any other periods. That’s why I mostly enjoy performing Giuseppe Verdi and Giacomo Puccini without forgetting the French composers like Georges Bizet or Charles Gounod, to name only a few.
Regarding opera divas, I’ve always had Maria Callas as my point of reference for her way of performing so passionately. And Montserrat Caballé for her quality and fabulous control of sound. She could make time stop still.
How does it feel to perform on a Silversea Cruise?
It’s a totally different concept of performing, compared with what I had done so far. Singing over pre-recorded music, for example, or getting used to singing with a microphone made a huge difference, as in opera we train to sing only with our natural voice. On the other hand, including choreographies at the same time as singing was really challenging at the beginning. But it made me develop skills that I would have probably never tried otherwise and they’ve helped me a lot as a performer.
The biggest advantage I’ve found performing onboard Silversea vessels is the possibility to perform my own opera show. Whether as a cabaret duet with a tenor or on my own, you get to organize a full show in your own style; you get to craft a musical program based on what you like and what will be enjoyable for the audience as well. It’s very interesting and rewarding when you achieve it.
Is there any particular ship or region that you enjoy most?
I very much enjoyed my first ship (Silver Wind) as it was my first experience ever at sea and performing in such a different environment. The Show Lounge was really beautiful. I also felt very pleased on Silver Shadow, where the stage is even bigger. Regarding itineraries, i really enjoyed the Mediterranean and the British Isles. I’ve also been onboard Silver Shadow a few times where I got the chance to travel around Asia and Alaska. The latter destination became one of my favorite places; I got very lucky with the weather!
Are there any standout anecdotes or memories of performing in Silversea?
I once met an Argentine couple who were guest entertainers onboard the Silver Shadow. At that time, I was planning to perform Bizet’s Carmen and it occurred to me to ask for their help for the last part of the aria, which is only instrumental and I wanted to add some dance movements. They agreed, although they didn’t know the opera or the music. We met the next day and in one morning I had all the choreography done. It was great and really nice of them. I continue performing the choreography at the end of the aria on my show.
I also have to say I’ve been very lucky with all the pianists I’ve had the chance to work with so far. Pianists are precious for singers; they devote a lot of work and time, and it’s not easy to do every day. But they’ve all been really committed and we’ve done amazing work together. I’m very grateful to all of them.
Once cruises resume, where do you look forward to traveling?
I’ve always wanted to visit Northern Europe, Norway, the fjords, Iceland and also Canada. I was actually going to Reykjavik and Montreal on my next contract, before the pandemic situation, so I’m really looking forward to maybe have being able to go when we’ll come back sailing.