Goodfellas star was an opera singer at heart

Goodfellas star was an opera singer at heart


norman lebrecht

July 28, 2022

The true love of Paul Sorvino’s life was opera.

He might have played a Mafia gangster in Marin Scorsese’s Goodfellas (1990) but the fantasy f this Brooklyn boy was always to sing at the Met.

This is the closest he got:

It wasn’t until he was over 60 that Sorvino started to realize his dream of singing in a big stage production: in the New York City Opera’s The Most Happy Fella at the New York State Theater in 2006; guest-starring on the 2008 album of Neapolitan singer Eddy Napoli, Napulitanata, performing a duet of “Luna Rossa”; and playing the terminally ill genetics mogul Rottissimo “Rotti” Largo in the 2008 musical film Repo! The Genetic Opera.

Sorvino died this week in Florida, aged 83.


  • Lost and found says:

    Just wonderful …

  • Thomas M. says:

    He was just bigger than life in many respects!

    I recall that one of the reasons he quit L&O was that he wanted to concentrate more on his singing and that he feared the many hours of on-location filming would hurt his voice.

  • Samuel says:

    He is just superb on the 1976 cast recording of the ill-fated but heart-warming ‘The Baker’s Wife’, with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz. He was a late replacement for Topol and was only with the production for the final few weeks (the show was cancelled months into touring and days before its Broadway opening), but luckily he got to be part of the recording Gorgeous voice. Lovely actor.

  • BigSir says:

    Nice! Appreciated his acting too.

  • Meadowlark says:

    Let’s also remember that he played the Baker in the original Broadway cast of Stephen Schwartz’s musical adaptation of Marcel Pagnol’s “The Baker’s Wife,” opposite Patti LuPone.

  • MER says:

    Growing up in Wantagh, near Jones Beach, our piano tuner visiting was always a delight. Mr. Tallarico was perhaps the most energetic and infectiously cheerful person I’ve ever encountered to this day. One day he did bemoan how his nephew, whom he said had limitless potential as an opera singer, had instead chosen what he considered a less noble pursuit, heading in the direction of rock. Years later, I briefly met his nephew when we crossed paths outside the Honolulu Airport, both of us living in Maui. My favorite recording of his is a collaboration with Run-D.M.C. titled “Walk This Way”, being the lead vocalist who changed his name from Steven Tallarico to Steven Tyler for a band he formed named Aerosmith.

  • Gwyn Parry-Jones says:

    Nice song, and a real voice (not, er, like Connie Francis! Bless). The top of the voice is shot, but the middle is really nice. But factor in he is of course using a mic, so in that sense not a real singer. Wouldn’t last 2 minutes on the opera stage!

  • Jef olson says:

    I know Sorvino sang in a production of LA Traviata before the Most Happy Fella performances. His voice was better for the Jerry Vale, Vic Damone type of Italian Lounge act.

  • Sarah Hearn-vonFoerster says:

    Such a gorgeous voice. It was always a joy to see Sorvino’s name on screen, when he also cooked as well as broke into an aria at the first opportunity! Great sense of humor, too.

  • Peter1589 says:

    He had to take it down about a minor third. Good thing he had a movie career.

  • Sarah says: