…left his body on 23 August 2016.
Atit Kaviraj (aka Kavi, Alexander Malta) was born Alex Robert Lagger in St. Gallen, Switzerland in a very traditional family; father a dentist, mother a family woman and a supportive,
sociable lady; both devoted to theatre and opera. Their first son Peter became a pianist and opera singer with a wonderful bass voice. Having a beautiful bass voice himself, Alex was inspired to follow suit, not only for the career possibilities but also for his brother’s success in attracting women! His family now had to deal with two opera singing sons.
He developed his talent for the opera stage, singing internationally with the greatest conductors and directors of the time. Vedi, his ex-wife and friend, says, “He was really made for the roles of kings and aristocrats, but he also did great character parts and was very funny in comic roles. He had that ‘Italian’ type of humour down to perfection!”
However, Alex was never really convinced that the lifestyle of the conservative, well-behaved people of St. Gallen was for him. He was more attracted to the fringe, people who were different, artists who didn’t fit in the system. He was intelligent, creative and needed the stimulating presence of people of a similar wave-length.
When he met Osho (then Bhagwan) in 1985, he found his spiritual family and became Atit Kaviraj. The name he received from Osho took him by surprise because it means ‘Beyond King of Poets’; to go ‘beyond’ made him reflect for quite a while. He lived Osho’s message as he understood it, to the full. He was in Rajneeshpuram and Pune at least once a year, in between singing engagements.
His home, a big historical villa in northern Italy, became a center for workshops and celebrations throughout the 90’s until now. Many sannyasins lived there and created what is known as ‘Villa do Poeta’. Unconventional people moved to the area who were attracted to Kavi; they worked, did workshops and developed their individual vision of Osho. He reconciled the world of being an opera singer in full dress with being an outsider.
Kaviraj was a very generous person; he didn’t want to become rich. In fact, he had to live on very little when he became a pensioner. But as soon as he had some cash, he’s spend it on a rich life, rich in experience and rich in humanity. We remember him as a vital, witty and original man, a king in his own house, with that rich velvety speaking voice that made everyone look round to see where the voice came from.
This last summer, before he left his body, Kaviraj hosted groups in the Villa do Poeta. He was happy to spend some time in the Villa away from the hospital, having missed two summers at home. Vedi (aka Janet), who was Kavi’s caregiver in her home in his last year of life, adds, “I went through the whole Villa after his passing. I found so many Osho books, tapes, videos; also notebooks and diaries with Kaviraj’s thoughts about Osho’s lectures and his own spiritual search. He really was a poet. I don’t think anyone ever saw these diaries until I opened them just now.”
Photos and text thanks to Vedi
Kaviraj as Don Alfonso in Cosí fan tutte:
In this clip Kavi performs along with Jonas Kaufmann, one of the most famous tenors of today. It is from a 1998 production of Mozart’s Cosí Fan Tutte. Kavi sings Don Alfonso – easy to distinguish as he dresses differently from the other two on stage and wears a tricorner hat and brown waistcoat.
You can leave a message / tribute / anecdote using our contact form (please add ‘Kaviraj’ in the subject field)…
Farewell beloved Kavi! Being around you, as a friend, as a generous host of our singing workshops at your Villa, as a true king in your own right, always filled my heart with joy! And I’m sure, you’ll be that king of the heart wherever you are! With love and gratitude,
Your life story moved me. Am sure you are creating poetry beyond too and gathering a commune of like-minded souls. See you when my time comes. Love,