Tenor Ricardo Tamura was born in São Paulo, Brazil to a Japanese father and a Syrian mother (both second generation immigrants). His parents expected him to become a scientist, a career that he loved and pursued passionately during his early years. He wanted to learn everything about the universe and outer space.
Before the age of 20 he had two college degrees, in geology and physics, and had become an assistant professor at the University of São Paulo. Upon graduation, he received invitations to work on many international projects, including one with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the institution that he always had dreamt of attending. But as things turned out he couldn’t go to MIT because of problems created by the Brazilian bureaucracy.
During his last college years, he took voice lessons as a hobby, and his teacher, the late Carlos Vial, told him he had a good voice for opera and should try a career. Although this did not sound to him like a possible career, out of frustration with the problems that kept him from going to MIT, he decided to audition for the opera house in São Paulo-and he was hired!
He flew to the US to hear the opinions of more acknowledged people. There he met the legendary soprano Licia Albanese who also told him, even more enthusiastically, what he had heard from his Brazilian teacher.
After a short study time that included the Juilliard School of Music, six months in Italy under Carlo Bergonzi, lessons with Licia Albanese and the International Opera Studio in Zurich, he got his first job as a singer, in Germany. After his debut as Armando Cellini in Raymond’s operetta Maske in Blau, he sang over 900 performances of concerts and fifty leading roles in opera and operetta all over Europe. In 2013 he made his debut as Cavaradossi at the Met and has been performing regularly there since then, as Cavaradossi, Don Carlo in the five-act version of the opera, Riccardo in Un ballo in maschera and Turiddu. Besides Cavaradossi and Turiddu, his most performed roles include Otello (Verdi), Don José, Calaf, Canio, Alfredo, Sou-Chong (Das Land des Lächelns), Riccardo, Des Grieux (in Puccini’s Manon Lescaut), Rodolfo (La bohème), Duca di Mantua and Radamès, with which he made his debut at the Arena di Verona (2009).
He has worked with conductors James Levine, Armiliato, Luisi, Nézet-Séguin, Domingo, Oren and Lothar Koenigs, to name just a few.
A serious hemorrhagic stroke hit him on October 1, 2017, which caused him to pause his career… But he managed to be back onstage only ten weeks later and has even debuted in a complete new role: Wagner’s Rienzi, in Kaiserslautern (Germany), in May 2019.
In recent years he frequently has been asked by his professional colleagues for technical advice and coaching. He has given them short-term vocal coaching, workshops and masterclasses.