Along with the warm-ups, lessons and intense hours of rehearsal, a big part of Luca Pisaroni’s career involves two creatures with four legs and wagging tails.

The bass baritone’s two dogs, Lenny, a five-year-old golden retriever, and Tristan, a six-and-a-half-year-old dachshund, travel with their master around the world.

“My relationship with them is very close to my singing career,” the bass baritone says one afternoon before a rehearsal of Maometto II, the final opera in the Canadian Opera Company’s 2015-16 season, opening April 29 and featuring Pisaroni in the title role. “This is a job that is based on things that we cannot really touch and to have something to do that is actually physical, like taking them for a walk, is the most healing thing for me.”

Since making his debut at the age of 26 at the Salzburg Festival, the Venezuela-born, Italy-raised singer has worked with some of the world’s most celebrated companies, including Opéra National de Paris, Vienna State Opera, San Francisco Opera and Bayerische Staatsoper. Earlier this year he appeared as Count Almaviva in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro) at New York’s Metropolitan Opera, in a performance that was equal parts charming, lusty and touchingly human.

Animated and friendly in person, Pisaroni is just as fine an actor as he is a vocal powerhouse. Opera, he explains, is “an art form about individuals, meaning people are coming to see you do what you do. For example, my Count is my Count. I’ve seen a lot of Counts; nobody’s played it the way I do. It’s not an arrogant statement, it’s not that mine is better — it’s different.”

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