Beyond the Bio: Tenor Victor Cardamone

“Tenor Victor Cardamone as Prince Tamino presented a gorgeous and sizable high lyric tenor, singing with a penetrating heroic quality and chiaroscuro that bodes well for his future success. He sang the demanding opening aria ‘Dies Bildnis ist bezaubernd schön’ with ease, tenderness, and sympathy.” — Pamela Hicks Gailey, Classical Sonoma (April 2023) 

Athlone Artists is pleased to announce the addition of Victor Cardamone to its roster of brilliant artists. Garnering critical acclaim for his “gorgeous and sizeable high lyric tenor” (Classical Sonoma) and “thrilling” performances (San Francisco Chronicle), Victor recently completed his second season as an Adler Fellow with San Francisco Opera, where he performed the roles of Stone/Eunuch in Bright Sheng’s Dream of the Red Chamber, Rodolfo in their touring production of “Bohème Out of the Box,” Apparition of a Youth in Die Frau ohne Schatten, and First Brabant Nobleman in Lohengrin; and covered roles including Triquet in Eugene Onégin, Chevalier de la Force in Dialogues des Carmélites, Gastone in La Traviata, Hunchback in Die Frau ohne Schatten, Second Villager/Young Man in El Último Sueño de Frida y Diego, and Steve Wozniak in The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs

In March 2024, Cardamone makes his house debut with Livermore Valley Opera in the role of Tamino in The Magic Flute, which he performed with the Santa Rosa Symphony in 2023. His “beautiful, very strong and clear” voice (The Opera Tattler) has also been heard with the Sacramento Philharmonic & Opera, Opera Columbus, the Dayton Performing Arts Alliance, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Wolf Trap Opera, the Charleston Symphony, and Brevard Music Center. 

Victor seemed destined for a life in music. He grew up in the northeast outskirts of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania immersed in the sounds of the Baptist church, among a family of deacons, missionaries, and pastors. “My parents always told the story that, when I was little, I would wake up the entire family on Sunday mornings at the crack of dawn singing ‘Holy, Holy, Holy!’ from my crib,” Victor laughs. The youngest of five children, he loved to hear his mother sing and play the guitar and piano. He would eventually go on to sing in a group with his dad and brothers at church. He longed to follow in the footsteps of his older siblings, who all played instruments in the nationally acclaimed music program at Kiski Area High School. He took up the French horn and excelled in competitive marching band and junior drum and bugle corps. 

When it came to choosing a vocation, music education seemed like a natural fit for Victor, and he brought his French horn to Youngstown State University to pursue his Bachelor’s Degree. There, he took voice lessons with Misook Yun, horn lessons with the late Bill Slocum, Rob Cole, and Stacie Mickens, and conducting lessons with the late Steve Gage. “I’d never taken any private music lessons until I got to undergrad,” Victor shares. “In high school, I participated in dozens of choir festivals at the local, state, and national level, and my director would help me prepare for each one after school by plunking out the notes for me and figuring out all of the foreign language pronunciations as best as she could. That was it. That was pretty much the extent of my formal vocal training.” Studying voice in undergrad was a game changer. Halfway through college, Victor participated in the Dana School of Music’s annual Young Artist Competition and won. “I realized in that moment, if I wanted to be really good at something, I should focus all of my attention and energy on it. It soon became clear that my gift was down this path, the same gift that was piercing the ears of everyone around me when I was still in diapers.” 

After he earned his undergraduate degree, Victor became connected to voice teachers Jon and Beth Truitt via Asheville Lyric Opera, who encouraged him to study further at Ball State University where they are on faculty. While there, Victor relished performing roles like Ralph Rackstraw in H.M.S. Pinafore and Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi, as well as serving as a graduate teaching assistant in the voice department. And though he was grateful to put his education degree to good use, he was continuously drawn to life on stage. 

Victor welcomed the chance to study with Tom Baresel at the College-Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati, where he would go on to earn his Master’s Degree in Vocal Performance and later his Artist Diploma in Opera Studies. There he was introduced to another mentor, Susan Moser (known affectionately by many who know her as “SUMO”), with whom he studied somatic body movement. “I’ll always love competitive marching band, drum corps, and really any form of choreography. I think I defy a lot of expectations – I’ve even performed on stilts before!” he exclaims, speaking of a performance of L’Enfant et les Sortilèges with Cincinnati Opera. “All while singing a high F and twirling a big stick!” 

Victor explains, “SUMO was the first person who made me feel like I can do anything from a physical standpoint. Using different systems of the body, weight spheres, dynamics and qualities of movement, informing my character – she gave me the vocabulary to describe what I was already doing naturally. She revolutionized the way I approach my art and my singing, and she continues to support me to this day.” Moser, who is also a certified Grief Recovery Specialist through the Grief Recovery Institute, introduced him to the Grief Recovery Method® which helped guide him through life after the devastating loss of his mother to cancer. 

Victor cultivated his passion for art song and particularly the Lieder of Franz Schubert (his favorite composer) at CCM, studying with renowned collaborative pianist Ken Griffiths and performing the songs of 1817, Die schöne Müllerin, Winterreise, and Schwanengesang. “When I hear the music of Schubert,” says Victor, “it brings me back to my early days in the church. There’s a certain serenity, a certain calm… I feel the presence of God when I’m singing this music. I can only speak for myself and my own ears, but in one of the songs in Winterreise for example, there are these organ-like chords in the piano intro that immediately transport me to the altar… It opens up my entire being, and my heart and soul spill over every time. My mom was always worshiping at home, and when I sing and experience this music, I feel like I’m doing the exact same thing. It’s almost like she’s in the room with me.” 

Cardamone’s love for the art form is palpable, as is evidenced by his accolades as a four-time Regional Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and as a four-time award winner at the Corbett Competition. He earned a Richard F. Gold Career Grant from the Shoshana Foundation in 2022. He has been a semi-finalist in the Mildred Miller International Voice Competition, a Tier I finalist in the James Toland Vocal Arts Competition, and a quarterfinalist in the 3rd Tbilisi Opera Crown, an international voice competition that takes place biannually in Georgia. He looks forward to adding more roles to his already robust repertoire and continuing to learn something new every day. Victor says he “views performing as a way of serving his community, while paying forward the love and support he has received.” 

When not singing or studying scores, Victor can be found making something delicious in the kitchen and chilling with his favorite feline, a black cat named Bill. 

Victor Cardamone performs Cercherò lontana terra from Donizetti’s Don Pasquale, Dr. Barry Tan, piano