Subscribe to
Opera Today

Receive articles and news via RSS feeds or email subscription.


twitter_logo[1].gif



9780521746472.png

0810888688.gif

0810882728.gif

Recently in Interviews

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.

Michael Spyres: Star Ascendant

When tenor Michael Spyres takes the stage at Carnegie Hall on December 5th, he will be in heady company.

Rewriting the Unwritten Law: Gilliam and Ghent Tackle Damnation

One of the most noteworthy and controversial productions in recent memory arrived in Belgium with hurricane force as Director Terry Gilliam’s inaugural opera, an inspired interpretation of Hector Berlioz’s Le Damnation de Faust, blasted into Ghent, followed by a run in Antwerp.

Florian Boesch on Schubert’s Die schöne Müllerin

Florian Boesch is singing Schubert’s Die Schöne Müllerin at the Oxford Lieder Festival on Sunday 14th October. This won’t be routine. Radically challenging conventional interpretation, Boesch says “I don’t believe it ends in suicide”

Opera Tomorrow: Wolf Trap Today

Three quarters of the way through this discussion, a question that inhabits the mind of anyone putting any thought to the subject — but no one dare ask — was rhetoricised, “what is opera?”

Laurent Pelly on Glyndebourne's Ravel Double Bill

The Glyndebourne Festival highlight this year could be the Ravel double bill - L’heure espagnole and L'enfant et les sortilèges. Laurent Pelly directs. Anyone who saw his brilliant Humperdinck Hansel und Gretel at Glyndebourne in 2008 will know what to expect - a staging of great imagination and verve, true to the spirit of the composer.

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):