By Linda Sands
Roosevelt Review, Fall 2012 [ PDF ]
Oftentimes, when attending the opera, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the beauty of the music and the extraordinary talent of the performers. Sometimes, we imagine ourselves onstage mimicking the likes of opera greats Luciano Pavarotti and Enrico Caruso. Such is the real-life dream and goal of Thomas Fontana Albanese, a tenor and second-year vocal performance student at Roosevelt University.
Albanese became interested in the arts while attending middle school in Portland, Ore., his home town. In eighth grade, he was cast as Nathan Detroit, the lead role in the musical Guys and Dolls. It was at this point that he began to get a sense of what his career path might be.
In high school, Albanese continued to pursue his interest in music and joined the choir. This was where his true talent emerged, and his instructors, recognizing his vocal talent, encouraged him to study privately. By his senior year in high school, he had won several local voice competitions.
After high school, Albanese took a “gap year” in which he worked, attended a community college and traveled the United States by train. When he arrived in New York City, the Metropolitan Opera topped his list of things to see.
When it came time to search for a college, Albanese considered several schools in New York, Portland and Chicago. After visiting Roosevelt, he felt it was the best fit for him. He liked the closeness of the community and the smallsized programs that focus on individual attention.
Roosevelt has proven to be a good choice for Albanese. He believes that the challenging curriculum and excellent professors in Chicago College of Performing Arts will prepare him for the rigors of a musical career.
After graduation, Albanese hopes to pursue a master’s degree, perhaps in New York. In the meantime, while not at school, he enjoys preparing Italian dishes from scratch and writing poetry. Not surprisingly, the Roosevelt student attends as many performances of the Lyric Opera and Chicago Symphony Orchestra as possible. As for the more distant future, he hopes that a career in music will enable him to travel the world.
Albanese is the recipient of the Al Booth Endowed Scholarship, which was established with a generous donation from Al Booth, founder of the Dame Myra Hess concerts at the Chicago Cultural Center and the Do-It-Yourself Messiah. He also established the International Music Foundation, which served as an umbrella for his various musical activities.
If you would like to establish an endowed scholarship at Roosevelt that would provide financial assistance to students like Thomas Albanese, please contact the Office of Institutional Advancement at 312-341-3625.