Roberto Traina: Generously shared his life through song

Roberto Traina, Feb. 17, 1931-March 12, 2017.

Roberto Traina passed away suddenly at his home in Berkeley on March 12, 2017.

As a boy in the Italian corridor of Buenos Aires, Roberto came to the attention of the local church community for his talent and passion for singing. Able to artistically sing tenor and baritone, music would lead him to a career in opera. He landed a prestigious role as ensemble cast member at La Scala in Milan.

After marrying Francisca and moving to the United States, Roberto continued to sing opera in the basement of the couple’s New York home.

On the cusp of his retirement from U.S. Customs, the family relocated to San Francisco, where he became a staple of the local music scene, specializing in Italian and Neapolitan song and Argentinean tango. He was a regular at Caffe Med on Berkeley’s Telegraph Avenue where he would sing tango in the evenings.

Roberto had a congenial smile that made others feel welcome. He will be affectionately remembered for his openness and enjoyment of life, which he generously shared with others through song. His creative efforts enabled a young Italian stroke victim to recover both speech and the ability to walk through music therapy.

Roberto is survived by his children Maria, John, Cathy, two grandchildren and his decades-long partner, Kate Bernier.

A celebration of his life will be held on Saturday, April 22 at 4 p.m. in the auditorium of the Finnish Hall, 1970 Chestnut St., Berkeley. Please respect a scent- and alcohol-free environment. Potluck dishes welcome.