Tosca

Performing the part of Angeolotti in Puccini’s Tosca as part of Tessitoura’s 2011 production. Photo by Andrew Chinery.

Famously called a “shabby little shocker”, Tosca is a very melodramatic opera with a powerful score and lovely interactions especially between the famous singer Tosca and the villaneous Baron Scarpia.

Angelotti is a relatively small role but he starts the opera by running into the first scene; the Sant’Andrea della Valle church in Rome. Wounded, he staggers around, speaks to Cavaradossi the painter before going into hiding. Although mentioned later on he is essentially a plot device. I played other parts in Act II.

Gianni Schicchi

Performing the part of Marco in Puccini’s one-act opera Gianni Schicchi as part of Stetorphon Opera’s 2009 production. Photo by Lynsey Docherty.

Gianni Schicchi is about village inhabitants who wish to stop the deceased Buoso’s money going to the monks, so they entrust Gianni Schicchi to resolve their problem.The music and plot is fast and chaotic to mirror the bickering relatives and yet this one act opera also contains the sumptuous soprano aria, ‘O Mio Babbino Caro’.

This was probably the hardest music I have had to learn because the music is mostly ensemble characters interjecting and arguing and the tonality is not predictable. The result was learning all the parts to get the cues and notes right.

Impressario

Performing the part of Buff in Mozart’s Der Schauspieldirektor (Impressario) as part of Stentorphon Opera’s production in 2009-10. Photo by Michael Smith.

This is a one act opera in which two Soprano’s battle it out for the main role in a new opera. Buff is the comical assistant to the director. This is a light role in both music and acting style. It was also when I first tried a yorkshire accent in a performance. A little to broad and mixed an effort, so I dropped it for the remainder of the performances.

For those who don’t know it, I recommend listening to the trio, “Ich bin die erste Sangerin” – wonderful overlapping harmonies.

La Serva Padrona

Performing the part of Umberto in Pergolesi’s La Serva Padrona (The Servant Turned Mistress) as part of Stentorphon Opera’s production in 2010. Photo by Michael Smith.

This is a great production for a small company with limited budget as there are only three performance roles and it was Stentorphon’s first production. Umberto is the young gentleman who is eventually overpowered by his maid Serpina. There is a lot of recitative (sung dialogue) and that is probably the most challenging aspect of it. Performance-wise it is all about the interaction with Serpina and the mute performance of his servant Vespone.