Hard Times for Singers, Too

by Suzanne Calvin

Perhaps “From the Bottom of My Bank Account” would have been more apt.

We’re living through some strange days.

Just look at this rather sad face, the face of an opera singer on the brink of foreclosure.  It’s a fairly common look in certain parts of the country these days, places like CALIFORNIA, where Emmanuel di Villarosa has set up a website to promote his CD and publicize his plea for help to save the family home.

I’m not advocating, merely conveying the information.  Ultimately, it’s your call.

Suzanne Calvin, Assoc. Dir. of Marketing, The Dallas Opera

50 Responses to Hard Times for Singers, Too

Rene says: December 29, 2009 at 3:44 pm

I’m sorry not to be commenting on this specific article, but, I do have a question…I have been taking voice lessons in singing opera and am needing to find another teacher who lives in Dallas. If anyone reading this teaches or know someone who does, can you please email Rene at renegarcia2@yahoo.com? Thank you….

Jason says: October 7, 2009 at 12:13 am

To Bill: I know di Villarosa has sung with the company. So what, that means he should sing with them now, too, just because he has in the past? That’s very poor reasoning. To “Lotte Noive:” I’m sorry but to suggest that a company spend thousands of dollars on a singer they obviously do not need just to be “graceful” and show they have no hard feelings borders lunacy. An apology is enough.

Caroline Scherer says: October 6, 2009 at 12:50 pm

Many posters sound like they are overreacting.

I can fully understand that Mr. and Mrs. di Villarosa took the comment “from the bottom of our bank account” very much to heart because they are truly struggling to make ends meet.

But I have to say that I actually had to smile at that comment because it does express the reality they are facing. And I liked that the blogger chose not to advocate but to leave it up to the readers to decide for themselves.

The CD is wonderful. I do hope that the di Villarosas will be able to save their home and, hopefully, once this is done, use this experience to help other struggling artists.

I for sure can’t wait for the next CD to come out.

Lotte Noive says: October 6, 2009 at 12:49 pm

Oh, Jason.

The invitation for Mr. di Villarosa to sing at the Dallas Opera, especially in light of the company’s wonderful new home, is not called for as a sort of apology for a blog comment. This isn’t for him, it’s for the Dallas Opera.

It would indeed be a way for the Dallas Opera to put grace before pride, show the opera world that it appreciates talent and add to the reputation Texans have for friendliness and no hard feelings.

Grown ups move on and go forward without rancor and in good faith.

As GURLI said, the blog entry attacked Mr. di Villarosa’s attempts to use his talents to help his family. It was not an artistic quibble. A low blow deserves a kind gesture.

Bill says: October 6, 2009 at 8:25 am

I heard Mr. di Villarosa years ago at the New York City Opera when he sang Rodolfo in La Boheme. We were mesmerized.

His performance was one that we will remember forever. He not only sang with such a beautiful young lyrico spinto tone, but also with incredible passion. He received close to a five minute ovation after he sang “Che gelida manina”. People were stomping and cheering, it was unbelievable. We never saw anything like it. Mimi’s death was the most heartbreaking experience I have experienced to date at any opera. He is not only an amazing singer, but an equally talented actor. His comedic and dramatic timing were flawless.

Afterwards my wife and I had the pleasure of speaking with him backstage. I can only remember how humble he seemed to us. I asked him where all of the passion came from and he told me that his father was in the audience and he had not see him in several years. Mr. di Villarosa received a standing ovation when he came out for his curtain call that evening. Almost 3,000 people leapt to their feet in less than 3 seconds. I was probably the first.

I will have to second the first posters opinion that this very well may be one of the greatest tenors of our day. I have listened to his samples and plan on buying a CD. His voice has grown wonderfully. I am sad that this incredible talent is struggling so much right now.

And to Jason:

You obviously know little about talent and it is clear that you have never heard Mr. di Villarosa live. Try reading. He has already sung with the Dallas Opera. They obviously think that he IS that good.

Lucy Baker says: October 6, 2009 at 1:48 am

Suzanne – thanks for the generous apology. Beer all round – I was about to shoult the first round, but hey, Obama is just back from Copenhagen and perhaps he can stand us a round of Bjornebryg! : )

Jason says: October 6, 2009 at 1:02 am

Okay, everyone, let’s not get out of control here. Yes, Mr. di Villarosa is owed an apology—he received it. But asking him to sing at the Dallas Opera just because he felt offended at some blog comment? Get real. He’s not THAT good.

GURLI says: October 6, 2009 at 12:34 am

Such an unfortunate inclusion in your blog, despite the recant, and the offers of retraction, it has been read, many times, as it is so so easy to find! I find it a complete conundrum why a person connected to opera would feel the urge to address someones misfortune in this way, it was a punitive approach, when the opposite was called for.

I find it particularly distasteful, and highly unoriginal that you have hijacked a corporate name for your blog – it rather abuses a respectable institution like the Dallas Opera, especially as it is used for the conveyance of your rather disparaging opinion of an opera singer of exceptional calibre.

And besides, your remarks were an observation of the personal situation of Emmanuel di Villarosa and his family, effectively nothing to do with his ability or any of his performances, if the man as singer had been your agenda it would have been fair play!

Lotte Noive says: October 5, 2009 at 10:29 pm

Suzanne, good on ya for apologising. Now! Show the world people in Dallas are fair dinkum and make sure this man graces your wonderful new stage! New Opera House, new talent, new stone to turn over! Unless Texans aren’t actually as friendly and kind as you hear?

Amy, you must not have kids. As Jill pointed out, the 6 figure stuff was the max possible and nothing is steady for these artists. If you had kids who would suffer from being uprooted not only from their home, but their school and family if they had to leave, you’d do everything in your power to make sure that their world was steady and secure, not watching mommy sell her clothes and your toys from the driveway for a few extra dollars.

Manny, I love the CD! Great Carmen selection – one of my favvies!

Emmanuel di Villarosa says: October 5, 2009 at 7:01 pm

Dear Suzanne,

I accept your apology.

First of all, I would like to thank you for mentioning our story. As they say, “No press is bad press” and you got people talking about us. I think that is a very positive thing.

I can only speak for myself when I say “From the Bottom of My Back Account”, although clever and funny, is also hurtful. I think it undermines what we are trying to accomplish but again I thank you none the less for having taken the time to bring attention to our story.

I do not wish to have the post removed, it has helped to bring our story to the surface.

To any following posters:

Please be kinder to Ms. Calvin as she has apologized for her conduct. Like Michael Vick, everyone deserves a second chance.

Emmanuel di Villaoroa

Jill Hatzioannou says: October 5, 2009 at 5:54 pm

Hi Amy,

Very few opera singers have a steady six-figure salary. During the high points, it is possible and we have seen such a salary grace our doorstep. Even opera singers, actual colleagues of my husbands, who have bigger names than he in the States and have made in upwards of a million dollars performing, are struggling. If your argument was true, billion dollar corporations wouldn’t be facing bankruptcy since they had the ability to bring in that amount prior to the recession.

Also, he certainly did look for work elsewhere. Due to the fact that he had to return to Poland to earn the income we badly need, no one would hire him because he was in town for such a short period of time. Someone I know was recently hired at Wal-Mart to stock shelves in the middle of the night and he had put in his application several months before he even received a call back.

My husband has a God given talent. We realized that delivering an amazing product to the public for a small price is always better than merely asking for donations or throwing in the towel. We may still lose our home, but, we can feel proud that we gave it a good fight.

Suzanne,

Thank you for your responses.

Offering to pull the post is fine but I’d much rather see a post written with kindness and sincerity. Yes, this is a ‘blog’ but the blog is under the auspices of the Dallas Opera, unless I’m incorrect. Emmanuel has sung for Dallas and made a great friend in Jonathan Pell. We were appreciative of the mention but a little taken aback by the context. It’s not the type of support we were hoping for from a serious and amazing house, especially a house where Emmanuel had graced the stage.

Once again, I welcome you, wholeheartedly, to send me a private email and, perhaps, when we get to know each other better you’ll have a firmer understanding of my husband’s talent, our struggles, our goals and our family. I’m certainly looking forward to hearing from you.

Thank you,

Jill Hatzioannou

jill@divillarosa.com

Smarra says: October 5, 2009 at 5:11 pm

I can only repeat what I have heard from an amazing production that was not an opera…
“NO GOOD DEED GOES UNPUNISHED, no act of kindness goes unresented. NO good deed goes unpunished, that’s my new creed.”

Lori says: October 5, 2009 at 4:47 pm

I like the idea of the beer at the White House!

I was not speaking to the fact of the previous salary he made. Everyone in the Arts knows it’s up and down. I was saying that the assumption was made that that is what he cared about. He cares about keeping his home for his kids.

But right now, since everyone is experiencing the crunch, Mr. di Villarosa is taking action to help his family. He could not have known that Opera would take such a hit.

I think it’s a mistake that some posts insluted Suzanne. I
I certainly would not want to do that. This is an interesting discussion and I hope we can make it more civil.

Jessica says: October 5, 2009 at 4:35 pm

I did not find Suzanne’s comments negative or offensive. Sometimes I think it’s a shame that we have to be so very careful to be so very politically correct all the time.

Chupacabra says: October 5, 2009 at 4:31 pm

I think it was all just a misunderstaning, I think Ms. Calvin and Emmanuel di Villarosa should have a beer at the white house with President Obama!!!

Grace M says: October 5, 2009 at 4:31 pm

Dear Lori,

To Quote Mr. Villarosa:

“I watched my income dwindle from a substantial six figure salary to very little.”

Thank You,
Grace

Nikki says: October 5, 2009 at 4:17 pm

Wow. I have to say that it seems to me that things were personally taken out of context. I am a Dallas Opera fan and the clever header that so many of you have taken offensively is what lead me to read about the unfortunate circumstances of Mr. and Mrs. di Villarosa. She posted it on a BLOG site which there are thousands and unless you have a clever title, most will skim right by. I truly believe Ms. Calvin was trying to allude the opera community (particularly in Dallas) to a situation pertinent to opera but humanistic in that it was specifically tailored to a talented tenor who like many of us is dealing with the tragic economy. Her blog also afforded me the opportunity to link to his story and cd which I was inclined to do. After reading many of the postings, I was inclined to post a comment giving kudos to Ms. Calvin for at least opening a door to this unfortunate situation that I would not have known about otherwise had I not seen her blog entry. Best of luck to Mr. and Mrs. di Villarosa.

Lori says: October 5, 2009 at 4:14 pm

I don’t think it’s fair to assume that Mr. di Villarosa made six figures and is only worried about that. They happen to live in a very modest area of California. Even with that
the economic times are hard and he is in immediate need. He is not begging for money but is ‘selling” a product.

I think this is an honrable way to make a living having worked in the record industry. It’s quick thinking on his part to put out a good product. and to take care of his family!

Amy says: October 5, 2009 at 3:56 pm

To me, the idea behind the cd is interesting. And if it could help other artists in need it could turn into a great thing. However, I find it difficult to sympathize with a person who is concerned about no longer making a 6 figure salary. There are many, many people who support families on $30,000 a year. They work multiple jobs to supplement their income, and they search for employment where they can find it, even if it means outside of their desired profession, while living a modest lifestyle within their means.

Suzanne Calvin says: October 5, 2009 at 3:39 pm

Again, I apologize to all concerned. If Mr. and Mrs. di Villarosa want me to remove the entry and link to their website, I do hope–I sincerely hope–they will let me know. I blogged the entry in the first place in order to give our readers a chance to gauge the situation for themselves and to get involved – if they so desired – while being careful not to give the impression that this was an “official” TDO cause.

That, I’m afraid I cannot do, which explains the oblique ending on the original posting: “I’m not advocating, merely conveying the information. Ultimately, it’s your call.”

I’m sorry I am unable to do more.

Suzanne Calvin, Assoc. Dir. of Marketing
The Dallas Opera

Sadie says: October 5, 2009 at 3:34 pm

Wow. I have to say that I am not seeing the negativity in this post that other respondents are seeing. I read the post and clicked on the link to read about Mr. Villarosa’s situation on His Own Web Page.
Suzanne’s post just seems like an attempt to give readers a look at an interesting (and emerging) segment of the opera world, the out-of-work singer. If she was outing him as being in financial trouble it would be one thing, but that is how he is marketing himself, so I see no trouble with her giving him some exposure without officially endorsing his effort.

Chris says: October 5, 2009 at 2:40 pm

OK, Suzanne. Let’s see you put your money where your mouth is. Your transparent attempt to save your own skin cries out for some positive action. Why don’t you invite Mr. Villarosa to perform with the Dallas Opera? That way he’ll have a booking and you’ll make yourself look a little less like a snide…well, anyway, you’ll look a little better.

Lori says: October 5, 2009 at 2:33 pm

Dear Suzanne,

I appreciate that you would post a response. True, the cyberworld does leave for misunderstanding at times. I have yet to show your blog post to anyone who did not take it the way most of the responses to your blog did.

I try to be really resonable and not read into anything, but I hope –
“If Mr. and Mrs. Villarosa would prefer that I remove this entry and the link that permits Dallas Opera patrons to readily find their website to purchase his CD, then I will do as they request. And I will do so with sincere apologies.”

I hope was not meant to be unkind. It sure is hard to read your intentions and that did not sit well with me.

Perhaps it would be helpful at this point to make personal contact with Mrs. di Villarosa and offer apologies. It really looks like a bad mark on the face of Dallas Opera.

Suzanne Calvin says: October 5, 2009 at 12:52 pm

To Mr. and Mrs. di Villarosa and all their loyal supporters:

My purpose in putting this mention on the Dallas Opera blog was to let people know–without specifically advocating one way or the other–about donating to his cause and to underscore that singers are dealing with hard times, too.

I do apologize for the impression that I was being heartless, snide, cruel, insensitive, etc. If I was any or all of those, it was unintentional (aside from the probably too-flip “Bottom of My Bank Account” remark, but this is, after all…a blog).

If Mr. and Mrs. Villarosa would prefer that I remove this entry and the link that permits Dallas Opera patrons to readily find their website to purchase his CD, then I will do as they request. And I will do so with sincere apologies.

It is not, however, for any lack of understanding or sensitivity to the current economic situation. I have spent most of this year financially assisting unemployed relatives who found themselves on the receiving end of a lousy economy, as well.

I wish Mr. Villarosa and his family all the best and I regret being the cause of their (or your) angst, discomfort or concern. I mean that; I’m not just saying that. I find the cyberworld isn’t always the best place to convey (or to decipher) “tone of voice,” especially in such sensitive areas and while rushing through tasks.

So, to all concerned, my apologies for all my failings, both real and perceived.

Suzanne Calvin, Assoc. Dir. of Marketing
The Dallas Opera

Steven Hall says: October 5, 2009 at 11:25 am

I have had the pleasure of many conversations with Manny and his wife Jill and can whole-heartedly endorse the genuineness of both the people and the project.

I am disappointed that the writer of this blog chose to word things the way she did. Now is a time when we should be banding together, not being unkind.

Many kudos to Emmanuel and Jill for working so diligently to help their own situation. And yes, I purchased a CD and it is a *wonderful* work. I would purchase one for the artistry, if not to also to help.

http://www.musicforahome.com/

Chet says: October 5, 2009 at 5:18 am

Ms. Calvin,

Thank you for being one of the shining examples of why opera is dying. Your catty, callous prattlings are typical of the shallow, pretentious opera snobs that turn away the general public from this wonderful art form, thereby providing it a painful death.

Mr. di Villarosa’s CD is filled with passion, wonder and beauty. He is undoubtedly one of the most amazing tenors that I have ever listened to. If you would have bothered to listen to some of the samples, I’m sure that you would have thought twice about posting such revolting comments.

Corporate and government subsidies for opera companies are dwindling and the blue hair’s donations will soon follow. That being said, when you eventually lose your job, will you be able to use your marketing and writing talents to save yourself?

I wouldn’t bet on it.

Chet

Lotte Noive says: October 4, 2009 at 6:23 pm

Ms. Calvin,

I think the best marketing move at this point would be to put grace before pride and invite Mr. di Villarosa to perform with the Dallas Opera.

You have inadvertantly helped this man’s family and his professional profile by filing such a viperous blog entry.

I bought Mr. di Villarosa’s CD and found him to have a very rich and textured tenor. I love the song choices, especially from Puccini and Bizet.

I love the music and I love that I avoided a corporate middleman in directly purchasing an album from the artist. I want my money to go more directly to the performers themselves!

Win, win!

Lotte

Lori says: October 4, 2009 at 5:04 pm

Hi!

I also purchased Emmanuel di Villarosa’s CD. My husband and I have played it almost daily since! I love his voice and find him to be a very expressive artist with a rich, beautiful tone! I can truly say I am a fan of Mr. di Villarosa’s now.

I like the CD so much that I went out of my way to do my web video show Everyday Opera with this artist. He is very sincere and I admire that he will do whatever it takes to take care of his two young children! It is an honor to meet a true family man in this business of Opera!

I really appreciate what Dallas Opera contributes to the Artistic world! I am hearing reports around the world that the Arts are taking a hit financially. I support Mr. di Villarosa as well as the Dallas Opera and hope we all see the Opera world take a dramatic rise soon!

Lori Lewis

Caroline Scherer says: October 4, 2009 at 2:24 pm

All I want to say is:

VISIT Emmanuel di Villarosa’s website http://musicforahome.com, ORDER his wonderful CD and spread the word.

It’s such an easy way to help an artist that has been hit by the economic crisis. In return you’ll get to enjoy a beautiful selection of songs performed by a gifted tenor.

You will not regret it.

Kate says: October 4, 2009 at 1:59 pm

Considering that the author of this rather acid article is connected to the Dallas Opera (or at least claims she is), it is amazing that she lacks any understanding of the dire circumstances some (make that many) performers have to endure these days.
Apparently she is under the impression that marketing is a much safer venue and she on her high pedestal of arrogance and snide is safe from the rock bottom of her bank account. We should for her sake hope, she will never come anywhere close to it, since it is quite doubtable that she will with charme and talent be able to safe herself in a similar fashion to what Mr. di Villarosa is currently doing.

Mariou Gottesman says: October 4, 2009 at 1:15 pm

I believe the comment done by Ms Suzanne Cline, someone who is particularly professionally connected with the business of Opera, to be, ill-conceived, insensitive, hypocritical, and snide. All over the world the opera houses are suffering.
They depend on public benefice which is drying up in the current economic climate.
Mr. Villarosa is suffering the consequences of an economy which is beyond his
control. And probably yours as well, unless the Dallas Opera is an exception to the above because of the oil money. If there were no Mr. Villarosas around, you would be out of business. You make your living out of them so a little humility goes a long way.
A more cogent critique would have been to have noticed the situation in which Mr. Villarosa finds himself and congratulate him for his novel and artistic solution.

Gainesville, Florida

Emmanuel di Villarosa says: October 4, 2009 at 7:24 am

Dear Ms. Calvin,

You see, I was simply unlucky; I was involved with opera companies that were greatly affected by the global recession. Before I came home from my ten month stint in Europe last June I received three phone calls, one canceling a production of Carmen (5 Performances) which was to begin in Spring 2009 and then two additional phone calls canceling Il Pagliaccio (18 Performances), Rigoletto (19) and Eugene Onegin(12) for Fall 2009 and Spring 2010. The companies explained that they just could not afford my fees due to budgetary cutbacks.

Well, now I was in a bit of a jam; I just lost 54 performances from my calendar. I still had a Carmen in Germany (13) but not until Nov. I watched my income dwindle from a substantial six figure salary to very little. I don’t know about you, but I cannot support my family on very little before taxes.

So, my wife had the idea of trying to sell CD’s. Even if we sell 1,000 CD’s, which is our goal, we will still be well below what I lost for the season. We are just trying to recoup some of my lost income and put enough money in the bank to pay my mortgage so that I can continue to give my children the security that all children deserve.

I worked tirelessly in the studio to record and produce the CD and my wife worked equally so at marketing it. Which, I have to say; she has done a brilliant job, after all, you heard of us. We had no idea that this blog even existed until you decided to make a mockery out of our hardship and embarrass me and my family for trying to be proactive and not just another statistic. As you see from the post before mine, a lot of people are very unhappy with your handicap of speaking before thinking and kicking someone while they are down.

Also, I will say, that I find it hard to believe that a company I sang with in the beginning of my career would be party to this kind of behavior. Maybe you didn’t do your homework, but I sang Alfredo in La Traviata in the student performances there in 2000. Jonathan Pell is a friend of mine and was a strong advocate in the beginning of my career. He invited me not once but twice to sing in Dallas. I was to cover Marcello Giordani in La Bohème the year before, but I was contracted with the New York City Opera at the time and unable to do it. He also invited me to sing at the Tucker Foundation, twice. He recommended me to sing in Seattle. I wonder how Mr. Pell will feel when I mention this to him. His is my next email.

I would just like for you to know that I am not angry towards you, nor do I feel ashamed of my situation. I just feel that you are a typical opera snob who thinks that they can say anything about anyone without consequence. I am here to prove you wrong.

Mr. di Villarosa

Emmanuel di Villarosa says: October 4, 2009 at 6:46 am

Thank you to all who have commented on my behalf.

Dear Ms. Calvin,

I am currently in Poland doing what I do, singing for a living. I was fortunate to receive a phone call for a production that needed an Ernani immediately. Luckily for me, I have a reputation in Europe as a go to tenor. This has helped and will continue to help me in my endeavors to support my family.

You see, I was simply unlucky, I was involved with opera companies that were greatly affected by the global recession. Before I came home from my six month stint in Europe last June I received three phone calls, one canceling a production of Carmen (5 Performances) which was to begin in Spring 2009 and then two additional phone calls canceling a Pagliaccio (18 Performances), Rigoletto (19) and Eugene Onegin(12) for Fall 2009 and Spring 2010. The companies explained that they just could not afford my fees due to budgetary cutbacks.

Well, now I was in a bit of a jam see, I just lost 54 performances from my calendar. I watched my income dwindle from a substantial six figure salary to just about thirty thousand. I don’t know about you, but I cannot support my family on thirty thousand dollars before taxes.

So, my wife had the idea of trying to sell CD’s. Even if we sell 1,000 CD’s, which is our goal, we will still be well below what I lost for the season. We are just trying to recoup some of my lost income. I worked tirelessly in the studio to record the CD and my wife worked at marketing it. Which I have to say she has done a brilliant job. After all, you heard of us. We had no idea that this blog even excisted until you decided to

Lizzy says: October 4, 2009 at 6:18 am

Well Ms Calvin, let’s hope the recession doesn’t leave you out of a job and looking at the bottom of your bank account.

Mr di Villarosa is not begging for money, he’s using his talent to support himself and his family. Shame on you for making fun of someone else’s misfortune.

Susan Coker says: October 3, 2009 at 9:41 pm

I have known Emmanuel since he was fourteen years old and in a rock band with my son, who is now the lead guitarist in the Naval Academy Premier Band in Annapolis. I watched these two budding musicians in their musical infancy and have seen them go on as professionals in their fields. Even when Emmanuel was a teenager, his voice would send me off into another world. I remember when he got a standing ovation at their high school for singing “September Song”. He blew everyone else away; the audience of mostly parents couldn’t believe their ears that someone so young could sing as beautifully as he did. Even before years of training and experience, Emmanuel’s voice was rich and strong, a gift from God that should not be ridiculed as Suzanne Calvin has done.

It is unbelievable to me that this woman could have written what she did about Emmanuel’s CD. I agree with all the above about her possible motives. I especially second the one who said that if she ever fell into hard times, people would be kinder to her than she has been to the recipient of her undeserving and cruel comments.

Now did she say she actually LISTENED to the CD, or is she just making fun of Emmanuel’s effort to make his house payments by using his profession just like everybody else does?

Lucy Baker says: October 3, 2009 at 9:13 pm

PS I aimed the last sentence above of course at the blogger! Oh, and if the Americans don’t want him, we have a proud tradition of claiming foreigners as our own. We’ll be happy to take the credit for a fine international opera talent. Are you still smarting perhaps from Joan Sutherlands’ supremacy over Beverley Sills? Let’s adopt Emanuel and re-open old wounds! Wha hae!

Lucy Baker says: October 3, 2009 at 9:10 pm

Good on Mr Villarosa. I don’t know anything about him, but thanks for the lead. I’ll take the commenters’ reviews and see if I can get a copy shipped here Down Under. We have a massive Italian population here in Melbourne – with, as you’d expect, fine renditions of arias an occasional surprise along the aisles in the fruit shops – and we love an underdog. Abba succeeded internationally thanks to its early Australian audience putting it on the map. Come on over, Mr Villarosa! If your intention was to snark, may it falter!

Karen says: October 3, 2009 at 10:56 am

Dear Ms Calvin,

I am honestly perplexed. I cannot decide if, by your comments, you are cold-hearted; or you are simply not talented in writing. Since your title lists you as the ” Assoc. Dir. of Marketing”, I am leaning towards the former. (Surely a marketing director KNOWS how to market?) In that case, I truly hope that if you should ever find yourself in difficult times, you will be uplifted and surrounded by people far better than yourself.

If the latter is true: your message got lost in muddy writing, then perhaps you should contact Emmanuel’s wife, Jill Hatzioannou. She is a brilliant writer, and you could use the help.

On another note, I ordered “From the Bottom of My Heart” and it is wonderful! Emmanuel has such a rich voice, it’s like chocolate for my soul. My three-year-old dances to the CD, and I even caught my 1-year-old humming along. Amazing.

Shawn says: October 3, 2009 at 10:28 am

I have known Emmanuel for many, many years. He has an incredible musical talent and a true dedication to excellence and perseverance. Your mockery of his efforts to support his family through his music reeks of jealousy and pettiness.

Jill Hatzioannou says: October 3, 2009 at 10:21 am

Hi Suzanne, I’m that ‘sad’ tenor’s wife, Jill. I actually took that picture. I was going for artistic calmness. Sad is fine.

Yes, we are financially struggling. He normally sings between 60-80 performances during the season. Due to the global financial crisis, he’s been cut to 18. We had to do something quick in order to keep us and our two boys, ages 4 and 8, in our home and above water.

I’m very proud of what my husband accomplished on this CD. He is one of my favorite singers (I am biased, of course). More importantly, I believe in his talent and will back him one hundred per cent of the way and never give up, never give in. He deserves a global stage.

I actually laughed at your ‘From the Bottom of My Bank Account’ remark. But you’re striking out at my family without understanding the situation. I’d be more than happy to sit down and have a chat with you so you could make an educated call, yourself.

He’s receiving a lot of press. I know that when one rises from adversity, he/she is all the better for it.

Also, when we’re back on our feet, we’ll use ‘Music For A Home’ to help other struggling artists.

Joann says: October 3, 2009 at 10:12 am

Wow, what’s your damage? Mocking someone trying to save his home legitimately instead of just not making his payments like so many are?

Shame on you.

soapranoh says: October 3, 2009 at 10:04 am

Lady, what is your problem? A father is trying to save his family’s home and is getting attention from the press. He has worked very hard but the economic crisis is getting us all sooner or later. He is not beeging for money, he is selling CD’s. Geez!
Are you jealous, because you can’t put up something like that?
Do you really need attention by putting others down?

And by the way: he is not looking sad, he is looking concerned because his kids could lose their home.

People like you, that have problems with others getting attention really piss me off. Get a life and mind your own business!!!!

Deb says: October 3, 2009 at 9:42 am

He doesn’t look sad to me, he looks pensive and artistic. I also bought the CD and he’s magnificent.

I’ve read his story, chatted with his wife and got to know them via email. Picking on a family who are trying to be proactive in this horrible situation is dead wrong. At least he’s doing something about it.

I’m disgusted and disappointed in your crass remarks. You owe Mr. di Villarosa and his family an apology. You should buy several of the CDs and gain a little insight.

Tom Watts says: October 2, 2009 at 9:30 pm

I heard about Mr. di Villarosa on NPR and purchased a CD. The title “From the Bottom of My Heart” as he explained it, was to say thank you to all who purchased his CD. The CD is Fabulous!!!! His voice is rich in color and so passionate.

In my humble opinion this is one of the finest tenors of our time!!! Do yourself a favor and purchase a CD you can thank me later.