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People know Rudy Giuliani, the former NYC chief called America’s Mayor for his resolve after the 9/11 attacks, as a tough-talking leader and former presidential aspirant. But an opera buff? On Feb. 7, Giuliani hits Houston, not only one of his favorite cities for golfing but also the global HQ of his Bracewell & Giuliani law firm, to emcee HGO’s “Concert of Arias.”

Rudy Giuliani

So you’re an opera guy? I have been since I was 13. I lived in Long Island... and on Friday nights I would travel to the Met [in Manhattan] with a friend, and we would stand in line to see performances... standing room. Now I carry around two iPods because I have too many operas [and classical pieces by Bach and Mahler] to fit on one. I have 28,000 songs.

Can you sing? When I was very young, I tried out for the church choir, and the nun told me I had a monotone voice. I was insulted and very upset. I cannot sing. So I admire anybody who can.

Switching to politics. Some say a candidate conservative on economics and security but moderate on social issues like abortion, gay rights and immigration might’ve beaten Obama. I tried that in ’08. We Republicans give away New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts… California… Washington… Oregon. We give them all away on, basically, social issues. We need a candidate who doesn’t create the feeling we’re going to take away people’s rights. Republicans… believe the less government the better. It shouldn’t be interfering in my decisions about health care. We should lower taxes, so people get to make a choice with their own money. ... Same thing with your personal life. In a country like ours, when we have this vast disagreement of religion and morals, we have to allow people to make their own choice.