You will sing the role of The Countess in our new production of The Marriage of Figaro. What is it that you are most looking forward to in this production?
I can’t wait to be on stage with everyone and really embody the character of the Countess.
How does the role of the Countess compare to other leading soprano roles, Cio-Cio-san or Manon Lescaut, for example?
It’s actually simpler to sing. Manon is a 5-act opera with lots of dancing and movement involved and the emotional engagement is enormous. I can’t sing that role without breaking down in tears at the end. Same with Cio-Cio-san. But thankfully, as the Countess I don’t die in the end, so there’s not so many reasons to cry!
Can you explain the plot of The Marriage of Figaro in fewer than 100 words?
>Honestly, I don’t know if I can because the score alone is more than 500 pages! But to give a sense of what to expect, this is not an ‘old person’s’ story. It’s a modern love story where the characters are real people who face dilemmas like you and I might. You will find it more exciting than any Hollywood movie!
Can you tell us more about the Countess and her story?
Well, I am very fortunate to have such a faithful husband… but the Countess isn’t so lucky. As a woman, I feel proud of the Countess because she evolves from a noble, pure and shy person into a strong woman. It’s very relatable to the fight for women’s rights and equality that we still see playing out in the media right now, so the issues are relevant for this very moment.
Patrick (Nolan, Director) has quite a unique take on the character. She is strong but still a woman who wants to be loved and she finds that peace in the end. I really love that.
How would you describe the relationship between Susanna and the Countess?
They are good friends and have a good employer/employee relationship. While they are really close, there is always a barrier between them and they are forced to respect their roles as servant and master.
And what about the Count and Countess?
It’s totally a love/hate relationship. They started off so madly in love but the Count’s behaviour makes the Countess numb from pain and disappointment and leaves a big hole in her soul.
Is there one particular aria that resonates most with you?
The letter duet I perform with Susanna (Sofia Troncoso and Katie Stenzel) is so beautiful. I often catch myself singing it in the shower! Under the direction of (conductor) Dane Lam, it’s even more magical. The most difficult part in the opera is possibly the Act 2 Finale as there are so many things happening in that scene with many harmonies. It’s a challenge to match the energy of all the performers during that scene.
Now let’s talk about the costume and set design by Marg Horwell…
Well, well, well.. yes, let’s please talk about the costumes!
Audiences will love the costume design. It’s so glamorous and fashion-forward, from the very moment I enter until the final scene. The set design is symbolic and considered but still so modern. Simple but so meaningful.
What would you say to someone who has never been to an opera before to entice them to come to see The Marriage of Figaro?
This has the drama like our everyday, the best music, set design and costumes! You will be blown away by the pace and the comedy. And did I mention the costumes?