Monday, October 19, 2009

A Chat with Nuccia Focile

Last week, Community and Artist Relations Manager Ernesto Alordo wrote about his recent talk with Eglise Gutiérrez. Ernesto also sat down with Nuccia Focile, who sings Violetta in our Saturday and Wednesday performances of La Traviata. Enjoy!

This conversation took place last week in Nuccia Focile’s dressing room the afternoon of the piano dress rehearsal. I asked her to compare previous productions of Traviata in which she had participated to ours, and happily she likes the fact that this is the first one which is traditional. She feels that in this production she can portray Violetta the way Verdi intended for her to be portrayed. She had done two previous productions in which the action took place in a more contemporary style. “I feel in a traditional production like this you can bring the character of Violetta more in the way Verdi intended her to be, telling the story in a manner that makes sense. Portraying a courtesan like Violetta in a contemporary period makes no sense to me. I am very happy to have the opportunity to be in a production in which I play Violetta the way she was meant to be.”

In comparing Violetta to her other roles at Seattle Opera, which include Tatyana in Eugene Onegin, her company debut, Mimi in La bohème, Nedda in Paglicacci and the title role in Gluck’s Iphigénie en Tauride, I asked if she finds similarities between these heroines and Violetta: “Well, all these roles do have some similarities; however, Violetta from the technical point you find more demanding singing in Act I with, Ah!, fors’ e lui and Sempre libera , where the tessitura is quite high and with a great deal of coloratura. Act I has a lot of the belcanto style and it is very demanding for the soprano, actually terrifying! The rest of the opera is much lyrical and closer to Mimi, Nedda in a way, even to Iphigénie, more of the verismo style.” Asked about her colleagues in this cast, she has not worked with any of these colleagues before but she is happy to say that a very nice relationship developed very quickly with members of both casts. "We are very supportive of each other and it is a wonderful feeling to have such colleagues around."

Align CenterFocile in her Seattle Opera debut as Tatyana in Eugene Onegin. October 2002.

Focile as Mimi in Puccini's classic, La bohème. May 2007. © Rozarii Lynch

Focile in the title role of Gluck's Iphigenia in Tauris, October 2007. © Bill Mohn

Focile was last at Seattle Opera in the role of Nedda in Pagliacci, January 2008. © Rozarii Lynch

View photos of Nuccia Focile (and the rest of the cast!) from the current production of La Traviata here.

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