Lifelong aficionado shares his love for opera with others

Submitted by Kathy Wolf
Updated 3/17/2017 10:33 AM
  • Lifelong opera aficionado Vito Guerrier.

    Lifelong opera aficionado Vito Guerrier. Courtesy of Cindy Kennedy

Each week during "Classics with Vito," Vito Guerrier, 83, shares a video of an opera from his collection of more than 250 tapes with fellow senior residents at Victory Centre of Bartlett.

"Everyone who knows me, knows I love opera," said Guerrier, who has been enjoying and sharing his passion for opera since he was a boy.

In fact, this opera aficionado has inspired such interest in the art among residents that the Victory Centre community recently invited acclaimed classical soprano and former Miss Illinois Marisa Buchheit to perform for residents.

Raised on Chicago's Northwest side by Italian immigrant parents, Guerrier's father often played opera music. During Guerrier's first Lyric Opera Chicago visit with his mother at age 10, he remembers being so entranced by the performance that he shushed his mother when she tried explaining the plot.

On Saturdays, when the other neighborhood kids played outside, Guerrier stayed inside to listen to opera on the radio.

Guerrier joined the Army and, lucky for him, was stationed in Italy, the birthplace of his ancestors and opera. Guerrier played his opera records on his phonograph.

"Some of the guys got used to the music and wanted to come with me to the opera," Guerrier said. So, off Guerrier and his Army buddies went to visit a couple of the world's best opera houses, Teatro alla Scala Milan and the Arena de Verona.

Back in the States, Guerrier's favorite place to bring dates was, of course, the opera. In the style of "Pretty Woman," Guerrier played Richard Gere's role while introducing many ladies to the magic and music of opera.

"They all enjoyed it, but none as much as me," said Guerrier, who never settled down and remains an eligible bachelor today.

Guerrier continues to listen to the Metropolitan Opera on Saturdays on the radio. He also shares with his niece the annual tradition of watching opera at the local movie theater at special showings.

When pushed, he'll tell you that "Tosca" is his favorite because it was his first, but Guerrier loves them all -- so much so that his passion appears to be highly contagious.

Victory Centre of Bartlett, 1101 W. Bartlett Road, Bartlett, features supportive and independent living apartments, three meals a day, support services, as needed, wellness programs and Pathway's innovative and award-winning VIVA! lifestyle.

The community is owned and operated by Pathway Senior Living. For information, call Victory Centre of Bartlett at (630) 213-0100 or visit

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