Monday, January 24, 2011

A Chat with Andre Alabastro

Today we talk with supernumerary Andre Alabastro, who can be seen in Seattle Opera's production of The Barber of Seville as Figaro's young assistant. The middle schooler isn't a stranger to the stage, and we ask him about his performance history, his thoughts on Barber, and if he ever plans on doing some singing in addition to acting.

Andre, how old are you and where do you go to school?
I’m 13. I’m in 7th grade at Hamilton International Middle School, and in my 8th year at Pacific Northwest Ballet School.

International School, huh…does that mean you speak a foreign language?
Yeah, I’ve been taking Spanish classes since first grade. But I’m not that good.

Between your work with PNB and Seattle Opera, McCaw Hall must be like a second home to you. How many ballets and operas, total, have you performed in?
I’ve been in The Nutcracker six times, plus six other ballets, so twelve of those. And Barber of Seville is my third opera. I was a Nibelung in the Ring. And last spring, in Amelia, I was in that, too. I was a kid in the Vietnamese village scene, I was up on a cart.

As Figaro’s Assistant in The Barber of Seville, we get to see your movement artistry, your physical comedy and you jumping around. But when will we HEAR you? Do you play an instrument, or sing?
I’ve played a little ukulele. They say I’m OK at it. With the ukulele, you know, you sing “Somewhere over the Rainbow,” Hawaiian songs, things like that. Actually, I used to sing, but—[makes squeaky adolescent noise with throat]. Although, in the Ring, I got a scream! As a Nibelung, I was running through the caves and I had to scream.

Andre Alabstro (Figaro's Assistant) and José Carbó (Figaro, in the Saturday/Wednesday cast)

What’s your favorite thing about being involved with The Barber of Seville?
I’m glad that I’m not just standing around at the back of the stage, holding Figaro’s props…[poses as a slack-jawed gawker]. I get to go and mess with Figaro. José usually sprays me with his water canteen, so I spray him back—stuff like that.

What’s your favorite moment in The Barber of Seville?
I like when they’re all fighting and the cops come…[acts out scene]…“Knock knock knock” “Chi è?” [imitates Patrick Carfizzi’s delivery of Bartolo’s ludicrous ad lib] That’s my favorite part. Also, the scene when the Count dresses up as the music teacher and sings in that weird voice. That’s great.

What’s your least favorite moment in The Barber of Seville?
The Gold Cast sings a much longer final scene, and I’m always standing around backstage at that point waiting for the curtain call. I’m usually thinking: it’s got to be over soon.

Figaro’s Assistant is clearly the best character in the opera. What can you tell us about him?
You know, I don’t think he really likes Figaro all that much. Except when he sings his “Figaro Figaro Figaro” thing. Peter [Kazaras, the production’s stage director] told me, when he sings that part, it’s like “He’s Figaro, he’s awesome.” I once tried pointing at him like that, and then going, sort of, “Just kidding, he sucks.” But we don’t do it like that—at that moment I really like him.

What advice do you have for the other characters? What would you tell them?
Rosina, Lindoro is actually Count Almaviva! You ought to marry Figaro instead. And then adopt me.

David Adam Moore (Figaro, in the Friday/Sunday cast) and Andre Alabastro (Figaro's Assistant)

If you were to work for an opera company when you grow up, what job would you most like to have?
Depends on whether I’d be a good singer. Actually, I’d want to be the conductor. That would be fun, to be in control of the entire thing.

And in this opera, the conductor also plays the fortepiano, so he’s in the orchestra, too.
Does that mean he gets two paychecks?

Good question. When will see you next onstage?
My class at PNB will perform at McCaw Hall at the end of the school year. And I’m in an infomercial, for Brainetics, that you can see. I was in a commercial for Wii Fit, when that first came out. It played in all the stores. It was fun when we taped it—I got to use the Wii Fit before anybody else on the West Coast!

Photos by Rozarii Lynch


John said...

Keep your eye on this kid. If he is anything like his dad, he will go far.

Clay said...

this youngin's pretty cool. good friend of my daughter's and I AM KEEPING MY EYE ON HIM! :-)

Anonymous said...

Hallo, SeaOp bloggers!
This kid did such a great job that it's hard to believe he's only 13 or so!! Like with Mr. Hogan, I hope SeaOp can make more use of him in future productions (as "Trouble" in "Butterfly"?? or, or, or?)!
Win H.

Miye said...

He's one of my best friends!! Haha I wish I got to see it..

Cerys Burrows said...

The play is worth watching! I must salute the kid for a job well done! Our long wait for the tickets from royal albert hall ticket paid off!