Subscribe to
Opera Today

Receive articles and news via RSS feeds or email subscription.


facebook-icon.png


twitter_logo[1].gif



Plumbago_9780993198359_1.png

9780521746472.png

0810888688.gif

0810882728.gif

Recently in Interviews

Bill Bankes-Jones on the twelfth Tête à Tête Opera Festival

“We need to stop talking about ‘diversity’ and think instead about ‘inclusivity’,” says Bill Bankes-Jones, when we meet to talk about the forthcoming twelfth Tête à Tête Opera Festival which runs from 24th July to 10th August.

An interview with composer Dani Howard

The young Hong Kong-born British composer Dani Howard is having quite a busy year.

Irish mezzo-soprano Paula Murrihy on Salzburg, Sellars and Singing

For Peter Sellars, Mozart’s Idomeneo is a ‘visionary’ work, a utopian opera centred on a classic struggle between a father and a son written by an angry 25-year-old composer who wanted to show the musical establishment what a new generation could do.

London Bel Canto Festival 2019: an interview with Ken Querns-Langley

“Physiognomy, psychology and technique.” These are the three things that determine the way a singer’s sound is produced, so Ken Querns-Langley explains when we meet in the genteel surroundings of the National Liberal Club, where the training programmes, open masterclasses and performances which will form part the third London Bel Canto Festival will be held from 5th-24th August.

Un ballo in maschera at Investec Opera Holland Park: in conversation with Alison Langer

“Sop. Page, attendant on the King.” So, reads a typical character description of the loyal page Oscar, whose actions, in Verdi’s Un ballo in maschera, unintentionally lead to his monarch’s death. He reveals the costume that King Gustavo is wearing at the masked ball, thus enabling the monarch’s secretary, Anckarstroem, to shoot him. The dying King falls into the faithful Oscar’s arms.

Martin Duncan directs the first UK staging of Offenbach's Fantasio at Garsington

A mournful Princess forced by her father into an arranged marriage. A Prince who laments that no-one loves him for himself, and so exchanges places with his aide-de-camp. A melancholy dreamer who dons a deceased jester’s motley and finds himself imprisoned for impertinence.

Thomas Larcher's The Hunting Gun at the Aldeburgh Festival: in conversation with Peter Schöne

‘Aloneness’ does not immediately seem a likely or fruitful subject for an opera. But, loneliness and isolation - an individual’s inner sphere, which no other human can truly know or enter - are at the core of Yasushi Inoue’s creative expression.

In interview with Polly Graham, Artistic Director of Longborough Festival Opera

What links Wagner’s Das Rheingold, Donizetti’s Anna Bolena, Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Cavalli’s La Calisto? It sounds like the sort of question Paul Gambaccini might pose to contestants on BBC Radio 4’s music quiz, Counterpoint.

Six Charlotte Mew Settings: in conversation with composer Kate Whitley

Though she won praise from the literary greats of her day, including Thomas Hardy, Virginia Woolf, Ezra Pound and Siegfried Sassoon, the Victorian poet Charlotte Mew (1869-1928) was little-known among the contemporary reading public. When she visited the Poetry Bookshop of Harold Monro, the publisher of her first and only collection, The Farmer’s Bride (1916), she was asked, “Are you Charlotte Mew?” Her reply was characteristically diffident and self-deprecatory: “I’m sorry to say I am.”

"It Lives!": Mark Grey 're-animates' Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

“It lives!” So cries Victor Frankenstein in Richard Brinsley Peake’s Presumption: or the Fate of Frankenstein on beholding the animation of his creature for the first time. Peake might equally have been describing the novel upon which he had based his 1823 play which, staged at the English Opera House, had such a successful first run that it gave rise to fourteen further adaptations of Mary Shelley’s 1818 novella in the following three years.

Unknown, Remembered: in conversation with Shiva Feshareki

It sounds like a question from a BBC Radio 4 quiz show: what links Handel’s cantata for solo contralto, La Lucrezia, Samuel Beckett’s Krapp’s Last Tape, and the post-punk band Joy Division?

Remembering and Representing Dido, Queen of Carthage: an interview with Thomas Guthrie

The first two instalments of the Academy of Ancient Music’s ‘Purcell trilogy’ at the Barbican Hall have posed plentiful questions - creative, cultural and political.

Angelika Kirchschlager's first Winterreise

In the opera house and on the concert platform, we are accustomed to ‘women being men’, as it were. From heroic knights to adolescent youths, women don the armour and trousers, and no-one bats an eyelid.

Mascagni's Isabeau at Opera Holland Park: in conversation with David Butt Philip

Opera directors are used to thinking their way out of theatrical, dramaturgical and musico-dramatic conundrums, but one of the more unusual challenges must be how to stage the spectacle of a young princess’s naked horseback-ride through the streets of a city.

The Moderate Soprano : Q&A with Nancy Carroll and Roger Allam

Nancy Carroll and Roger Allam play Audrey Mildmay and John Christie in David Hare’s play The Moderate Soprano which is currently at the Duke of York’s Theatre in London.

No Time in Eternity: Iestyn Davies discusses Purcell and Nyman

Revolution, repetition, rhetoric. On my way to meet countertenor Iestyn Davies, I ponder if these are the elements that might form connecting threads between the music of Henry Purcell and Michael Nyman, whose works will be brought together later this month when Davies joins the viol consort Fretwork for a thought-provoking recital at Milton Court Concert Hall.

Garsington's Douglas Boyd on Strauss and Skating Rinks

‘On August 3, 1941, the day that Capriccio was finished, 682 Jews were killed in Chernovtsy, Romania; 1,500 in Jelgava, Latvia; and several hundred in Stanisławów, Ukraine. On October 28, 1942, the day of the opera’s premiere in Munich, the first convoy of Jews from Theresienstadt arrived at Auschwitz-Birkenau, and 90 percent of them went to the gas chamber.’

An Interview with Soprano Lisette Oropesa

Lisette Oropesa sings Eurydice in Los Angeles Opera’s French version of Gluck’s Orpheus and Eurydice that can currently be seen at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.

Songs for Nancy: Bampton Classical Opera celebrate legendary soprano, Nancy Storace

Bampton Classical Opera’s 25th anniversary season opens with a concert on 7th March at St John’s Smith Square to celebrate the legendary soprano Nancy Storace.

The Schumanns at home: Temple Song 2018

Following their marriage, on 12th September 1840, Robert and Clara Schumann made their home in a first-floor apartment on the piano nobile of a classical-style residence now known as the Schumann House, on Inselstraße, just a short walk from the centre of Leipzig.

OPERA TODAY ARCHIVES »

Interviews

Carmela Remigio [Photo Copyright Marco Rossi]
15 Feb 2012

Carmela Remigio as Donna Anna and Donna Elvira

Carmela Remigio is a Mozart specialist, having created Donna Elvira, Donna Anna, The Countess in Le nozze di Figaro, Susana, Ilia, Ellettra, Vitellia, Pamina and Fiordigli. She speaks to Mark Berry about her latest Donna Anna at the Royal Opera House.

Carmela Remigio as Donna Anna and Donna Elvira

Interviewed by Mark Berry

Above: Carmela Remigio [Photo © Marco Rossi]

 

MB: What are the greatest challenges and the greatest delights for you as an artist in singing the part of Donna Anna?

CR: My greatest challenge is to give Donna Anna a complex and faceted character. To let the audience feel how ambiguous and enigmatic she is. Passion and control at the same time. Musically, she is acrobatics every time she sings. A lot of high notes — maybe 35 natural A’s in just “Or sai chi l’onore”. A deep emotional strength is needed to play such a violent aria, so full of resentment, and a firm vocal control of all sounds as well. When I can reach this point, I am happy.

MB: Like Sena Jurinac, for instance, you have played both Donna Anna and Donna Elvira. Do you find that singing one role helps you understand the other? How would you characterise the differences between the roles, temperamentally and musically?

CR: Playing both roles has certainly helped me to better understand many aspects — how to interact with the other characters, what happens while I am off stage. Among the three women, Elvira is the most simple and clear. She is the one who had the wedding promise from Don Giovanni. They have had a three-day long passion, which is a lot for Don Giovanni …but he shirks, and she goes mad for being deserted, she runs after the fire but gets burnt and is devastated, until she decides she will not love any one any longer, and wants to enter a convent.

Anna is different. I like to imagine her meeting Giovanni at a masked ball. The two have an immediate feeling, maybe also an intellectual one. Mozart and Da Ponte do not describe Anna as a transparent woman. The words, the music are full of misunderstandings, agilities I see as emotional weaknesses, unexpressed uneasiness in the attitude she has to play, as a noble woman, towards a fiancé who does exist, and whom she probably loved a lot until she met Don Giovanni. But Giovanni is the passion, the woman’s mental perversion — which is what a fiancé will never represent.

MB: Donna Anna is the character who stands closest to the apparently ‘eighteenth-century’ world of opera seria, yet she also appealed strongly to the Romantics — ETA Hoffmann, for example. Do you see her as a character looking both backward and forward? Or do you think the balance lies more in one direction?

CR: I absolutely believe Anna is already the nineteenth century. Mozart is a genius. What he writes for Donna Anna is unique. “Non mi dir” reminds me of “Casta Diva”, and when singing it I must use the same legato and the same drama in the agilities.

MB: What desire, if any, do you think Donna Anna feels towards Don Giovanni? Is she just better at hiding her desire than Donna Elvira?

CR: Donna Anna lies. She does know her lover, and thus the one who killed her father, but…she has to lie. She has a fiancé, she cannot confess she betrayed him with her father’s killer. How many times in life you happen to lie to the man you love! I believe many women know this feeling of love and contempt for someone they long for and will never have. And they do not dare to tell their fiancé — who is actually loved as well — he is not the first in their hearts. This turmoil of thoughts is what places Anna higher than other Mozart women, and maybe the closest one to Don Giovanni for her emotional complexity.

carmela_remigio2.gif 

MB: Donna Anna also has a very strong relationship with her father. Do you have any thoughts about the nature of that relationship and its implications for her actions?

CR: I have never thought Donna Anna’s problem being her father. Mourning suddenly comes and upsets her mind, but I do not see any particular relation with her father as crucial for her emotional balance.

MB: Do you feel pity for Don Ottavio? His role is so often described as ‘thankless’, and one might say that that characterisation has much to do with the way Donna Anna treats him.

CR: I feel tenderness and also love for Don Ottavio. What makes Anna suffer is her awareness to betray someone she loves. How can you detest a man who says “Dalla sua pace la mia dipende” (my peace depends on hers)?

MB: Do you think she has anything in common with other Mozart characters? Elettra and Vitellia, for instance, both of which seria parts you have sung?

CR: Mozart female characters can have something in common. They are all interesting women, but different one from the other. Mozart shows he knows women’s sensitivity, weaknesses and strengths very well. Feeling and reason must live together in the purity of their cantos.

MB: To take another of your Mozart roles, Susanna, does that require an entirely different approach, both in terms of acting and vocal characterisation?

CR: Difficult Susanna…always on stage, with everybody, always singing…and at the end of the opera you have sore feet! Joking aside, Susanna kicks her legs up along the whole opera. Then the universe becomes still…and she sings “Deh vieni non tardar”…The aria is charged with high sensuality, a unique example of musical mastery. It is a very beautiful role, but she is very transparent as a woman.

MB: Mozart is generally praised for his sympathy towards female characters; that sympathy is what helps make them so believable, so human. Is that your experience, in this and other Mozart operas?

CR: I am just in love with Mozart. I wish I was his wife to know which folly these masterpieces would come out!

MB: Are there any other Mozart roles you are keen to play, whether now or in the future? Perhaps something from one of his earlier works?

CR: I would love to continue playing all the Mozart roles I have interpreted up to know.

MB: The male singers with whom you are working on this particular production — Erwin Schrott, Alex Esposito, and Pavol Breslik — are all artists whom I have admired greatly in other productions I have seen of Don Giovanni. How much does it help your own performance to be working with such fine actor-singers, and to interact with them on stage?

CR: It may seem an obvious reply, and it is open-hearted instead. I am really happy to play with this team. We work hard during rehearsals, but always with the right mix of play, fun and laugh. This helps the artistic outcome in a very positive way. With them it is possible to explore the infinite nuances of interpretation — which rises from the common wish to well accomplish a work we love and try to make it interesting. With Breslik, my partner on stage, I have a special musical and theatrical feeling.

MB: You have played Donna Anna in a production conducted by Claudio Abbado and directed by Peter Brook. What did you learn from collaborating with such distinguished artists? And how did you find their approach to Mozart, and to Don Giovanni in particular?

CR: I learnt a lot from my collaboration with Brook and Abbado. I was young enough, 23 years old, and could absorb all that an artist has to learn after studying the vocal technique for years searching for perfection. From Abbado I learnt the interpretative musical rigour, the Mozart style that must be impeccable and cogent, but also rich in musical nuances and thousand of colours. And then the use of the word and the consonant in the recitative. From Brook I learnt a very important thing he would always repeat us during a whole year of Don Giovanni on tour performance: “Forget you are an opera singer”. I cried at this at the beginning, then I understood that by detaching from myself I would let the right space for the character to seize me, and the voice would come out more freely. Still now, when I am on stage, I am Donna Anna for three hours. I cry, I love, give way to despair as she would do. Finally…I come back to Carmela only in my dressing room. He taught me that Freedom is Truth on Stage. And this has to go through minimalism and simplicity.

Carmela Remigio’s great love is for Mozart, but she also sings lyric soprano roles in baroque bel canto and Verdi. For more details, please see her website.

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):