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'I think the fact that she is impulsive, both politically, and in matters of the heart, is important, because it contributes directly to her untimely demise. Her manner of solving problems is quite different from that of Elizabeth and it makes for great drama. Over the last few years, I have spent some time researching Mary because she is the first real life character I have been asked to play. In the last analysis, however, I believe that the text and music of the opera are what we need to interpret. After all, Mary and Elizabeth never met in real life and yet their meeting is the emotional climax of Maria Stuarda. I think it is important to remember that the play from which the opera's libretto is taken, is a fictionalised account of her story. That makes it interesting for us as the performers, because nothing is really set in stone. Needless to say, I try to know as many historical facts as possible. I need to know to whom Mary was related, why she believed as she did and why she made particular decisions. The more I know, the more I have to draw on when making artistic decisions about my interpretation of the dialogue and situations in the opera.

'Vocally, the biggest challenge of this role is the percentage of it that is written in the middle and lower part of the soprano voice. I think that supplies a large amount of drama and tension and adds a great deal to her persona. I also like the fact that this is an ensemble opera. Although it is called Maria Stuarda, Elizabeth is equally important dramatically and musically.'

Mary, Queen of Scots also stars Armenian tenor, Yeghishe Manucharyan, as the Earl of Leicester and German bass, Reinhard Hagen, as Talbot. Edoardo Müller conducts both this opera and the following double bill of Pietro Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana and Ruggiero Leoncavallo's Pagliacci.

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Copyright © 27 January 2008 Maria Nockin, Arizona USA


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Music and Vision welcomes new readers from Queensborough Community College CUNY