Luis Ernesto Alva y Talledo, better known as Luigi Alva (born 10 April 1927) is a Peruvian operatic tenor. A Mozart and Rossini specialist, Alva achieved fame with roles such as Don Ottavio (in Don Giovanni), Count Almaviva (in The Barber of Seville) and Fenton (in Verdi's Falstaff). He retired from the stage in 1989.
Alva was born in Paita, Peru, and served for a while in the Peruvian Navy before concentrating on a singing career. He studied at the Conservatorio Nacional de Música in Lima under Rosa Mercedes Ayarza de Morales and made his operatic debut in Federico Moreno Torroba's Luisa Fernanda in Lima in 1949. Alva went to Milan in 1953 and studied under Emilio Ghirardini and Ettore Campogalliani. He made his European debut at the Teatro Nuovo in Milan as Alfredo in Verdi's La traviata in 1954, following that as Paolino in Cimarosa's Il matrimonio segreto. His debut at the La Scala came in 1956 as Count Almaviva in Rossini's The Barber of Seville, a role in which he became widely admired. Subsequently he sang with most of the leading opera festivals and companies in the US and Europe. At Glyndebourne he made his debut as Nemorino in Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore. In 1962 Alva made his debut with the Philadelphia Lyric Opera Company as Count Almaviva and in 1964 he made his first appearance at the Metropolitan Opera as Fenton in Verdi's Falstaff. He went on to sing in a further 101 performances at the Met between 1964 and 1975.
Alva had a light lyric tenor voice and was known for the clarity of his diction and his elegant phrasing, a quality which George Jellinek described as compensating for an "underpowered" voice in the 1956 live recording of Così fan tutte from La Scala. He rarely ventured beyond his favourite repertoire, which included Mozart, Rossini, and Donizetti and to which (according to Harold Rosenthal) his "elegant, refined style" was particularly suited. In 1980 he founded the Asociación Prolírica del Perú in Lima and served as its artistic director for several years. He retired from the stage in 1989, but sponsors the Premio Luigi Alva for young singers, gives master classes, and serves as a juror in singing competitions. Alva also teaches singing at La Scuola di Canto (Voice Academy) at La Scala in Milan. Amongst his students there was the Belgian tenor Marc Laho.
Alva's roles included the following. Unless otherwise indicated, all roles were performed on stage.
- Il Conte d'Almaviva in The Barber of Seville
- Don Ramiro in La Cenerentola
- Lindoro in L'italiana in Algeri
- Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni
- Ferrando in Così fan tutte
- Alessandro in Il re pastore (recording, 1967)
- Tamino in The Magic Flute
- Lindoro in La fedeltà premiata (recording, 1976)
- Ecclittico in Il mondo della luna
- Gernando in L'isola disabitata (recording, 1977)
- Sempronio in Lo speziale
- Verdi: Falstaff – (as Fenton) Philharmonia Orchestra and Chorus conducted by Herbert von Karajan, EMI, 1956
- Rossini: Il barbiere di Siviglia – (as Count Almaviva) Philharmonia Orchestra and Chorus conducted by Alceo Galliera, EMI, 1957
- Mozart: Don Giovanni – (as Don Ottavio) Philharmonia Orchestra and Chorus conducted by Carlo Maria Giulini, EMI, 1959
- Mozart: Così fan tutte - (as Ferrando), John Alldis Choir and New Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Otto Klemperer, EMI, 1971
- Bourne, Joyce and Kennedy, Michael (2004). "Alva, Luigi (Alva Talledo, Luis Ernesto)", The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music 4th edition, p. 16. Oxford University Press.
- "Historia congelada: Luis Alva, abril de 1927", El Comercio, 10 April 2017 (in Spanish)
- Andina (30 March 2010). "Conservatorio distingue a tenor Luis Alva como Profesor Honorario". Original Spanish: "La prensa especializada alababa en él la elegancia de su fraseo y la nítida dicción que lo caracterizaba." Retrieved 6 February 2013 (in Spanish).
- Rosenthal, Harold (2008). "Alva, Luigi (Alva Talledo, Luis Ernesto)" in L. Macy (ed) The Grove Book of Opera Singers, 2nd edition, p. 10. Oxford University Press
- Metropolitan Opera Archives (MetOpera Database). "Alva, Luigi". Retrieved 6 February 2013.
- Jellinek, George (January 2003). "Gluck: Orfeo ed Euridice, Act II / Mozart: Cosi Fan Tutte". Opera News. Retrieved 6 February 2013 (subscription required).
- Libero (11 January 2013). "Lirica: nominata giuria concorso Lirico Sperimentale di Spoleto". Retrieved 6 February 2013 (in Italian).
- La República (30 August 2012). "Tenor Luis Alva será condecorado por el Ministerio de Cultura el 4 de septiembre". Retrieved 6 February 2013 (in Spanish).
- Serpost (Peruvian Postal Service). Memoria Anual 2005, p. 31. Retrieved 6 February 2013 (in Spanish).
- Casaglia, Gherardo (2005). "Luigi Alva". L'Almanacco di Gherardo Casaglia (in Italian).
- Holland, Bernard (20 June 1982). "New Releases Illuminate Baroque Opera". The New York Times. Retrieved 6 February 2013.
- Discography: Luigi Alva. operadis-opera-discography.org.uk. Retrieved 6 February 2013.
- Gramophone (2004), Volume 82, Issues 984–987, p. 111
- Hugill, Robert (6 June 2006). "Recording review: Puccini: Il Tabarro. MusicWeb International. Retrieved 6 February 2013.
- Giudici, Elvio (2012). Il teatro di Verdi in scena e in DVD, p. 147. Il Saggiatore (in Italian)
- Fawkes, Richard (2000). Opera on Film, p. 211. Duckworth
- McCants, Clyde T. (2003). Opera for Libraries: A Guide to Core Works, pp. 54, 75, 94. McFarland.