“Thomas Cilluffo made our blood run cold with his delivery of the nasty “Aria of the Worm” from Corigliano’s The Ghosts of Versailles. He has a full and powerful voice, and an interesting and unusual tonal quality, which he employed to create a character. We shivered with his biting enunciation of final consonants.” – Voce di Meche
In the 2023/24 season, Mr. Cilluffo debuts with the Royal Danish Theater in Copenhagen in Barrie Kosky’s production of Händel’s Saul (Abner/High Priest/Amalekite/Doeg); The Dallas Opera as Spoletta in Tosca; and the Lakes Area Music Festival as Ernesto in Don Pasquale.Read more
The 2022/23 season marked Mr. Cilluffo’s European debut. With Deutsche Oper Berlin, Mr. Cilluffo sang Hadji (Lakmé), Abdallo (Nabucco), Jaquino (Fidelio), Ser Toldo Berardengo (Francesca da Rimini), Arturo (Lucia di Lammermoor), Remendado (Carmen), Temple voice (Hérodiade), Pang cover (Turandot), Messaggero (Aida), and Matteo Borsa (Rigoletto). At Teatro Regio Torino, he sang Messaggero (Aida), Electrician (Powder Her Face), Monostatos (Die Zauberflöte), and Elisej Bomelij (The Tsar’s Bride). He also made a return to the Santa Fe Opera as Bardolfo in Sir David McVicar’s new production of Falstaff, following his debut as Don Curzio in Le nozze di Figaro the previous summer. Mr. Cilluffo also made a triumphant, last-minute debut at Staatsoper Stuttgart as Bardolfo in Falstaff.
A dark horse in competition, Mr. Cilluffo was a quarterfinalist in the 2022 Operalia, The World Opera Competition and the 2023 Tenor Viñas Competition. He received first place in the Premiere Opera Foundation International Vocal Competition; he was a finalist in the George London Foundation Competition, the Gerda Lissner Opera Competition, and the Gerda Lissner Lieder Competition; and he was a winner of the 2022 Career Bridges Competition.
Role credits include Belfiore in La finta giardiniera, Almaviva in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Spoletta in Tosca, the Witch in Hansel & Gretel, Adolfo Pirelli in Sweeney Todd, Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni, Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and the title role in Roméo et Juliette with opera companies including Portland Opera, Pittsburgh Festival Opera, and Opera Colorado.
A jack-of-all-trades, Mr. Cilluffo began making what he calls “Selfie-Operas,” which are essentially short opera scenes produced and performed entirely by him as a way to bring opera up close and personal to people who were confined to their homes, due to the pandemic. He is also an avid craftsman and enjoys making jewelry, woodworking, and blacksmithing. For nearly a decade, Mr. Cilluffo has worked as a craftsman of bespoke conducting batons for orchestral and choral conductors around the world.
Thomas Cilluffo received his Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from the University of Michigan where he studied under the legendary tenor, George Shirley.
“Thomas Rafeld Cilluffo made a particularly strong impression, revealing a bright, warm, agile tenor and abundant stylistic flourish in the “Venti scudi “duet from L’Elisir d’Amore. […]Cillufo sounded like he could move confidently into the Flórez repertoire before too long.”
“…And tenor Thomas Ciluffo was wonderful as Belfiore, […] quick and pointed on his feet, vocally flexible, strong, pleasant, and accurate.”
“Thomas Cilluffo made our blood run cold with his delivery of the nasty “Aria of the Worm” from Corigliano’s The Ghosts of Versailles. He has a full and powerful voice and an interesting and unusual tonal quality which he employed to create a character. We shivered with his biting enunciation of final consonants.”