David Romano, 'Phantom of the Opera' Actor and Influential Vocal Coach, Dies at 69

David Romano
Courtesy Caprio Media Design

David Romano

Josh Groban said he was "pivotal to my understanding of singing," and Sarah Brightman praised him, too.

David Romano, a tenor who appeared in the original Broadway production of The Phantom of the Opera and served as a vocal coach to the likes of Josh Groban and Sarah Brightman, has died. He was 69.

Romano had a heart ailment and died Saturday at his home in Palm Springs, his friend Michael Caprio announced.

Romano toured the world as soloist, sang in more than 100 concerts with conductor and chorus leader Roger Wagner and was heard on more than 30 film soundtracks; for the 1982 MGM film Yes, Giorgio, he performed a duet with Luciano Pavarotti.

In 1998, Romano released a solo album, "All the Things You Are," and was featured on numerous musical theater recordings. He also graced the stages of the San Francisco Spring Opera, Opera Colorado and the Ojai Festival and performed as a soloist with major symphony orchestras on the West Coast.

In addition to portraying Ubaldo Piangi in The Phantom of the Opera, which opened on Broadway in 1988, Romano appeared on stage in the original Los Angeles production of Evita and in Sammy Cahn's Words and Music, Camelot, Kismet, Wonderful Town and Bells Are Ringing.

For more than 40 years, he was a sought-after voice teacher and vocal coach.

"David Romano was an incredible force," Groban said in a statement. "He was one of the smartest people I've ever met, and his knowledge of the voice was pivotal to my understanding of singing. The lessons he taught me, in music and in life, will carry on with me forever."

 

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As a young performer and new to the pressure of Broadway, Brightman said that Romano took her under his wing when they worked together in Phantom.

"He was a strong and ebullient character, a personality, lived life to the fullest, a lover of opera, a wonderful human being, and he will be missed by his friends and many in the arts and entertainment world," she said. "He will never be forgotten as the vocal coach to the stars."

Added opera singer Angela Maria Blasi: "During our times in Evita, we would disappear into the basement during the break between shows, and he would coach me on my opera audition material. He was so knowledgeable in everything opera that I don't know what I would have done without his steadfast support and mentorship."

A private virtual memorial will be held at a later date.