Alessandro is too busy, though, to spend all his time on music. The 34-year-old is a Franciscan friar at the monastery at Assisi, where he works as a carpenter—crafting wooden lecterns and restoring furniture.
Friar Alessandro’s operatic talent was discovered by British producer Mike Hedges, who had spent years seeking “the next Italian tenor.” Hedges—who also worked with the Welsh alternative rock band Manic Street Preachers—recognized Friar Alessandro’s talent and negotiated a contract with Decca Records, part of Universal Music. The friar flew in an airplane for the first time last month, when he traveled to Britain’s Abbey Road studios. On May 21, recording industry executives from 25 different countries flew to London to see his first performance at the 2012 International Decca Conference in Westminster.
Friar Alessandro speaks humbly of his work:
For me, music is a direct line with God and the way that I communicate with him. I feel very blessed to have this opportunity to realize my vocation and spread the gospel to everybody through this wonderful music.
Friar Alessandro’s first album will be released in October, but can be pre-ordered at his website. Like his brother monks, Friar Alessandro has taken a vow of poverty; so any income derived from record sales will go directly to his religious order, the Order of Friars Minor, to support their charitable work.