Dopo il musicologo Paolo Isotta, il Maestro Speranza Scappucci e il basso Roberto Scandiuzzi, Fattitaliani incontra il soprano Elaine Alvarez, che all'Opera di Liegi interpreta il ruolo di Hélène nella "Jérusalem" di Giuseppe Verdi diretta da Stefano Mazzonis di Pralafera. L'intervista.
"Jérusalem" è un'opera ancora sconosciuta al grande pubblico. Personalmente, che cosa le piace di più: la trama, la musica, l'ambientazione?
For me, especially with Verdi, it is always the music. He is so sophisticated in his writing, that it is both a great challenge and a great pleasure to sing his music. From a vocal standpoint, and speaking specifically of my role in 'Jerusalem', his writing requires every possible technical ability: the range of the voice, power, agility, breath control, color, phrasing, legato, and of course, stamina. With three arias, several large ensemble scenes, duets and the final trio, it is a huge undertaking but incredibly satisfying to achieve successfully.
Che cosa ama maggiormente del suo personaggio?
Hélène is strong and courageous. Often in opera, women are characterized as being weak, in need of protection, or fragile. Verdi clearly thinks highly of women. He consistently created heroines that were independent, strong-willed and noble. Hélène takes an incredibly dangerous voyage to Palestine to find Gaston because she loves him and believes in his innocence. She risks her life to save his and is rewarded for that bravery in the end.
Che cosa ha dato di se stessa a Hélène?
I think it is important, no matter the character you are playing, to put as much of yourself into the role as you can, and in doing so, making the character more human, more three dimensional. I try to bring fearlessness to Hélène, strength of character, and an energy of hope. She believes if she fights for Gaston, she will save him, and the energy of that is important to how I play her.
Essere diretta da una donna rappresenta un qualcosa in più?
As is many other industries, it has been difficult for women to advance as conductors in the world of classical music, which is largely dominated by men. I am always excited to see brilliant women step into leadership positions because I think it can only be good for all of us. With Maestra Scappucci I am even more excited by the collaboration because we have known each other for many years, when I first traveled to Vienna to prepare Contessa Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro with her in 2009. She was an incredible coach and when I learned that she was transitioning to a conductor, I knew she would make an outstanding one. Speranza understands how the voice works, how we breath, how we color phrases, the kind of energy and connection we need from the conductor in order to give a performance that is truly collaborative and at the highest music level. I am thrilled for her success. It is incredibly deserved.
Ogni volta come si prepara per un nuovo ruolo?
When I first begin studying a role, I spend quite a bit of time translating the entire text and going scene by scene learning the music. I then begin working with my coach on each scene: the notes, the phrasing, all of the musical markings the composer included to help you understand how to sing the music. I usually study a number of recordings to get a better sense of the orchestration and performance practices. I work with my voice teacher to make sure I'm singing it with the best possible technique. Often with roles that are so long, such as in Jérusalem, the most important part of the study process has to do with stamina. You have to learn to be conservative with your singing wherever it is appropriate so you don't run out of steam before the show has ended. I usually take the last two - three weeks before I arrive for an engagement to sing through the entire role every other day with a pianist, in order to train my body to handle the exertion. Once the role is learned, the process then moves to bringing yourself into the work. Each of us has unique gifts, individual characteristics in our sound and interpretation that makes the performance of a role distinct. For me, this is the most enjoyable part of the process. After I have absorbed all of the information, all of the knowledge necessary for achieving what is on the page, it becomes my honor to turn all of that into art, into a performance that will move the listener not because all of the notes were correct or the diction was perfect, but by conveying the soul of the person Verdi gave voice to. Giovanni Zambito.
Le foto di "Jérusalem" sono di Lorraine Wauters, Opera Royal de Wallonie