Subscribe to
Opera Today

Receive articles and news via RSS feeds or email subscription.






Recently in Interviews

A Chat with Julia Noulin-Mérat

Julia Noulin-Mérat is the principal designer for the Noulin-Merat Studio, an intrepid New York City production design firm that works in theater, film, and television, but emphasizes opera and immersive site-specific theatre.

A Chat with Anita Rachvelishvili

Anita Rachvelishvili recently performed the title role in Carmen broadcast by The Metropolitan Opera Live in HD. Here she drops by for a little chat with our Maria Nockin.

Dolora Zajick about her Institute for Young Dramatic Voices

"Although there are now more people on this planet than there have ever been before, there are fewer dramatic voices. Something is wrong with that equation. I thought there needs to be some sort of helping hand so that dramatic voices don’t fall through the cracks in the system as they advance through their various stages of development."

Anna Prohaska, one of Europe’s most promising sopranos

Anna Prohaska sings Sister Constance in Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmélites at the Royal Opera House. In the same month, she’s also in London to sing a recital with Eric Schneider at the Wigmore Hall, and to sing Henze with Sir Simon Rattle at the Barbican Hall.

Garsington Opera’s 25th anniversary unites its past with its future

Garsington Opera celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.

Jean-Paul Scarpitta in Montpellier

I met with the embattled artistic director of the Opéra et Orchestre National de Montepellier not to talk about his battles. I simply wanted to know the man who had cast and staged a truly extraordinary Mozart/DaPonte trilogy.

Interview: Tenor Saimir Pirgu — From Albania to Italy to LA

Maria Nockin interviews tenor Saimir Pirgu.

Matthew Polenzani — Des Grieux, Manon, Royal Opera House

Matthew Polenzani reprises the role of the Chevalier des Grieux in Jules Massenet’s Manon at the Royal Opera House. “I love coming back to London”, he says, “It’s a very good house and they take care of you as a singer. And the level of music making is unbelievably high”.

Maestro Joseph Rescigno Discusses The Flying Dutchman

The Flying Dutchman is a transitional piece because Wagner was only beginning to establish his style. He took some aspects from Carl Maria von Weber and others from Italian composers like Vincenzo Bellini.

Patricia Racette on Dolores Claiborne

On a personal level, I feel that Dolores is almost like Emmeline grown up. Their circumstances are not exactly parallel, but they are both women at very different points in their lives whose stories involve dilemmas with life-changing outcomes.

Tobias Picker Talks About His New Opera Dolores Claiborne

With the help of Andrew Welch, a London theatrical producer who had adapted several of King’s works for the stage, including this one, I got the rights to both Dolores Claiborne and Misery.

Dolora Zajick on New Opera Written for Her

On September 18, 2013, San Francisco Opera will present the world premiere of Tobias Picker’s opera, Dolores Claiborne, which has a libretto by J. D. McClatchy based on Stephen King’s novel of the same name.

Ermonela Jaho — Singing and Character

Ermonela Jaho caused a sensation at Covent Garden in London five years ago, when she took over Violetta at short notice from Anna Netrebko.

Rossini Maometto Secondo at Garsington Opera - David Parry speaks

Garsington Opera at Wormsley is producing the British premiere of Giacomo Rossini´s Maometto Secondo. Garsington Opera is well-known for its role in reviving Rossini rarities in Britain. Since 1994, there have been 14 productions of 12 Rossini operas, and David Parry has conducted eleven since 2002. He´s very enthusiastic about Maometto Secondo.

Michele Mariotti conducts La donna del lago

Rossini’s La donna del Lago at the Royal Opera House boasts a superstar cast. Joyce DiDonato and Juan Diego Flórez are perhaps the best in these roles in the business at this time. Yet the conductor Michele Mariotti is also hot news.

Kate Lindsey at Glyndebourne

It would seem a logical step for the mezzo-soprano Kate Lindsey to take on the role of the Composer in Richard Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos.

Douglas Boyd on Garsington Opera at Wormsley

“Aim for excellence”, says Douglas Boyd, new Artistic Director of Garsington Opera at Wormsley, “and the audience will follow you”.

A Chat with Aida Designer Zandra Rhodes

When I spoke with Zandra Rhodes, she was in her large San Diego workspace, which she described as having walls decorated with her own huge black and white drawings.

An Interview with Virginia Zeani

Palm Beach audiences are famous for their glamour, but in recent years a special star has sparkled amid the jewels, sequins, feathers and furs (whatever the weather).

Bel Canto Queen Jessica Pratt

When the soprano Jessica Pratt first arrived in Italy, she had yet to learn the language or sing in a staged opera.



Elizabeth Futral [Photo courtesy of Neil Funkhouser Artists Management]
31 Jan 2011

Elizabeth Futral — An Interview

Elizabeth Futral has established herself as one of the major coloratura sopranos in the world today. With her stunning vocalism and vast dramatic range, she has embraced a diverse repertoire that includes Vivaldi, Handel, Mozart, Bellini, Donizetti, Rossini, Verdi, Glass, and Previn.

Elizabeth Futral — An Interview

By Sarah Luebke

Above: Elizabeth Futral [Photo courtesy of Neil Funkhouser Artists Management]


At this season’s production of The Tales of Hoffmann by Florida Grand Opera, she takes on a tour-de-force portrayal of all four of Hoffmann’s loves. She spoke with Sarah Luebke.

SL: Offenbach intended that the same singer play the four female roles, for Olympia, Giulietta and Antonia are three facets of Stella, Hoffmann’s unreachable love. However, most houses use separate sopranos, a coloratura for Olympia, a lyric for Antonia, and a dramatic soprano or mezzo for Giulietta. What was the impetus for you to essay the music of all four Heroines?

EF: I was asked to do the roles once before in the past, about seven or eight years ago, but had questions about the stamina aspects of getting through it all. After I had done several performances of Traviata along with bigger, more dramatic roles, I felt ready to sustain singing for the whole role [in Hoffmann].

SL: With your voice classified as a fuller lyric coloratura soprano, what have you found to be challenging vocally executing these roles in one performance?

EF: It actually works really well. I have found in rehearsals that climbing down from heights of Olympia to middle tessitura of Antonia can be tricky. Between Olmypia and Antonia, during intermission, I need to allow my voice and my mindset to settle, relaxing breath and body and throat, and allowing the middle voice to come in easily without pressing. Guilietta is a little lower, but not out of reach. She is more episodic, with recitative-like passages, which is very different from the aria and trio of Antonia.

SL: Italian Bel Canto and Verismo opera seem to be your go-to styles as of late. How has the shift to Offenbach’s style and the French aesthetic changed the way you approach your musical and dramatic preparation?

EF: I think [Hoffmann] falls into the world of the lyrical, romantic style with a comedic edge. I have always loved singing in French; something to do with the language helps with a natural vocal placement for healthy production. The coloratura of Olympia is akin to Lakemé’s “Bell Song” with lots of fireworks, but it starts with a healthy sense of humor, especially in the out of control coda! Antonia is much more beautiful melodic music. It’s very singable with sweeping French romantic lines — very fun to sing.

SL: Anything unpredictable happening in Florida Grand Opera’s production of Hoffmann?

EF: What I couldn’t have predicted with this production was how difficult the costuming would be. It takes the whole intermission to take paint off [of Olympia], and completely changing elaborate costumes, for both changes from Olympia to Antonia and Antonia to Giulietta. I begin getting into costume, and once I start I never have a moment to sit down; I’m on go the whole time. It’s been a little crazy and more challenging that trying to sing the thing! I really like [Florida Grand Opera’s] production. It’s really fun and entertaining, and moving when it needs to be.

SL: In the beginning of your career in the mid-nineties, your career took off with your performance of the title role of Lakme with New York City Opera. Many of those early roles included Lucia, Violetta, Guilda, and Susannah. Will your success in the Hoffmann Heroines give you the go-ahead to essay more dramatic or fuller lyric roles?

EF: The natural maturation process of one’s voice leads to some different things. This role has confirmed that I can do a broader range. Some things I’m considering that might be more of a stretch include Blanche [Dialogues des Carmelites], Marguerite [Faust]… also the bigger Bel Canto roles such as Anna Bolena might work well for me. It’s fun to think about new possibilities. I’ve always had a great time learning new roles, and I love the challenge of creating a new character. I get bored doing the same five roles over and over. This keeps me ticking, and I’m thrilled that new things are opening up.

SL: You have such an interesting background embracing and premiering a variety of new operas, including Andre Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire and Brief Encounter, Ricky Ian Gordon’s Orpheus and Euridice and Ernst Krenek’s Die Nachtigall. You have also appeared opposite Placido Domingo on a 2007 Met Live in HD broadcast of Tan Dun’s First Emperor. Do you have any upcoming plans for premiering new works?

EF: I’m learning a new opera by Finnish female composer Kaija Saariaho, Émilie. This is a one women show I’ll be doing at the Spoletto Festival USA in Charleston, SC. It’s a daunting piece to learn…it’s all me, 80 minutes, 8 scenes. I’m on stage the whole time. The music is challenging, and it’s a little challenging to learn. But I’m just getting cracking at it now in between rehearsals and performances. This is definitely exciting and a big thing for me.

Send to a friend

Send a link to this article to a friend with an optional message.

Friend's Email Address: (required)

Your Email Address: (required)

Message (optional):