Thursday, October 21, 2010

Young Artists in LUCIA

Our production of Lucia di Lammermoor features a cast with a few familiar faces and also plenty of new ones—including three members of our very own Young Artists Program: mezzo-soprano Lindsey Anderson (Alisa), tenor Eric Neuville (Normanno), and tenor Andrew Stenson (Arturo). Today, we talk to this trio of Young Artists about their Lucia experience.

All of you are making your Seattle Opera mainstage debuts in Lucia. What has that been like?

Lindsey: As a Young Artist, to be entrusted with a mainstage role is both a true honor and a priceless learning experience.

Eric: A Seattle Opera debut is a huge milestone for any young singer, and it’s the ultimate educational experience. The three of us were a little green coming in, and we all wanted to make a great impression and not step on any toes. What a great way to learn--to be out there every night, side-by-side with the best. Thank you for the opportunity, Speight!

Andrew: I have had an AMAZING experience with Seattle Opera thus far. Everyone involved that I've met and worked with in Lucia has been wonderful, from my colleagues on stage to my wonderful wig/makeup artist Anne. I had no idea that I would be doing something like this at my age when I first started pursuing opera. We all really want to prove that the company made a great decision giving the Young Artists this fantastic opportunity.

Lindsey Anderson (Alisa) and Davinia Rodríguez (Lucia)

In Lucia, you’ve had the opportunity to work side-by-side with a cast of veteran performers. How has this helped you in your own performances?

Lindsey: Aleksandra Kurzak and Davinia Rodríguez have especially taught me a lot. In Act 1 Scene 2, when Lucia waits in the garden for Edgardo, my character, Alisa, tries her best to talk some sense into Lucia. Every time we do this scene there is something different—nothing is set in stone. That’s what really tells a story, when it is real and not calculated. Their spontaneity has truly helped me break away from the academic conventions of theater and use my instincts. This is a lesson you can't learn in a classroom.

Eric: Having recently moved up to tenor from baritone, I've faced many technical hurdles these last few months. It was invaluable having William Burden and Scott Piper here to answer questions that came up. Both were incredibly generous with their time and advice.

Andrew: Every member of the cast has been very supportive. I think Scott Piper is a brilliant artist who gives so much of himself in his performances; Bill Burden must have magic powers in order to be as vocally consistent and expressive as he is; Arthur Woodley has a voice so beautiful it makes you feel better about life just listening to it. Aleksandra Kurzak has this magical ability to make it seem like she is creating the music rather than interpreting it; Davinia Rodríguez has this visceral power in her voice that immediately commands the attention of the audience; Phil Cutlip could sing any baritone role he wants; Ljubomir Puškarić was a young artist at Cincinnati TWO summers ago and now here he is leading at Seattle, which says a lot in itself!

Eric Neuville (Normanno), Andrew Stenson (Arturo), and Ljubomir Puškarić (Enrico)

What productions or companies have you been a part of in the past? How do your past experiences compare to your time with Seattle and Lucia?

Lindsey: This past summer I took part in my first apprentice program, at Central City Opera in Colorado. It was a wonderful experience and was a great place to make my debut. I was Kate Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly and covered the role of Public Opinion in Orphée aux enfers. After Central City I came to Seattle and I understand why so many artists feel the way they do about this company. It is a beautiful thing to be part of!

Eric: I made my professional debut this summer as Beppe in Chautauqua Opera's Pagliacci. Before that, my stage experience included last year with Seattle Opera's YAP (Guglielmo and Harlekin), grad school, and then community theater productions back home in Wisconsin. Witnessing the experience and brilliant logistics here at Seattle Opera pushes me to bring absolutely everything I can to that stage. Knowing someone will be there to glue my mustache on before the show is one less thing I have to worry about.

Eric Neuville as Normanno

Andrew: I have been involved in four shows at Cedar Rapids Opera as a chorister and/or comprimario singer. Cedar Rapids really helped show me the process of putting together an opera, which really doesn't differ much from anywhere else, as far as the timeline goes. It really helped me prepare for the expectations of professional work so that when it came time to apprentice at Santa Fe, sing a leading role at Glimmerglass, or support here at Seattle, I knew exactly what to expect and how to be ready. All the training in schools and apprenticeships help you prepare for those big moments in your future. Debuting at Seattle Opera, to me, is like getting your first call up to the majors in professional baseball.

Photos by Rozarii Lynch

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