Friday, April 16, 2010

Covering Amelia

About a dozen singers are currently rehearsing roles in Amelia that they’ll probably never perform onstage. These singers are “covers”—they each know the music and staging for their role and can perform on short notice if their mainstage counterpart is indisposed. One of the Amelia covers is Young Artist Marcy Stonikas (right).

Fresh off her starring role in Ariadne auf Naxos, Stonikas joins Amelia rehearsals covering the role of Aunt Helen, sung by Jane Eaglen. This means she (and this goes for all the covers in relation to their mainstage counterparts) attends all of the rehearsals to which Eaglen is called in order to learn the staging, and has private coachings to prepare the music. She’ll rehearse the staging with the other cover singers, because she needs to be 100% prepared to perform in Eaglen’s place, if need be. Some of the covers are covering, and therefore learning music and staging for, multiple roles.

Although Stonikas has been studying with Eaglen (left) at the University of Washington this year, it still feels a bit “surreal” to be working with someone she spent years listening to on recordings and watching perform. “I tried to play it cool upon meeting her for our first voice lesson, and I’m sure I was a bit of bumbling idiot,” Stonikas admits, “but she was just lovely.”

Stonikas has tackled some of Eaglen’s signature roles this season in YAP, including Brünnhilde in the children’s adaptation of Siegfried and the Ring of Fire and Ariadne. “Her help while I was learning Ariadne was invaluable to me—it was such an honor, too,” Stonikas said. “I have the utmost respect for that woman, and have for about as long as I’ve known anything about opera.”

Because of their relationship, Stonikas feels she will be able to work closely with Eaglen to develop her understanding of the character. “I do feel comfortable asking her about choices she’s made and any other questions about the role.” If she were covering a singer she’d never met instead, Stonikas said she might be hesitant to do much more than observe rehearsals.

Overall, Stonikas is excited to be working on this brand new opera. “It’s a pretty big deal,” she said. “And the importance of being involved in a world premiere production does not escape me, even if I never set foot on the stage.”


  1. Hallo, Seattle-Operites!!
    Toi, toi, toi to Marcy Stonikas and the other "covers" in the SeaOp production!! Hopefully, you will not be needed in Seattle, but, equally hopefully, that production will be soooo successful that other houses will also want to do it -- and will engage YOU for the role you are now covering, as you'll be able to "hit the ground running" (or is it "flying"??)!!!
    Win H.