What do you find most compelling and/or challenging about singing in French?
I absolutely love the French language both to speak and sing in. There are almost three times as many vowel sounds in French as there are in Italian, because of all the nasal, open, and closed sounds. So you get a lot of opportunities to color the voice within the text. As a singer it is like a massage!
How do you keep your character fresh and exciting when you have played this role before? Has your opinion of Marie changed over time?
I have only ever done one other production of FILLE, and it was in English. So even though the music feels familiar and comfortable, the French language is a new, wonderfully welcome layer. In this sense, the role feels fresh but with room to grow. This is actually one of the more exciting places to be, within the arc of a role in your lifetime. Unlike Susanna, onto whom I have built lots of layers throughout my 10 years of performing her, Marie I am still getting to know. But she was a fast friend, and I instantly felt a bond with this character. She is one that I hope to play many times.
Why do you think the music of Donizetti or this opera in particular continue to speak to audiences today?
I find Donizetti very easy to listen to. Of all the bel canto composers, I think Donizetti is the closest in style to Verdi’s works. This particular comedy, however, unlike Donizetti’s more dramatic works, has just enough fun marches and waltzes to counter the very tender arias that Tonio and I both sing. Also, the opera is in two acts, which feels short, but they are really tightly packed with exciting numbers. The opportunities to laugh and cry are all there, and I think this show is easily a crowd favorite.
Tell me about a moment in this production of The Daughter of the Regiment that you find particularly funny, surprising, or memorable.
There are lots of fun ideas we are still playing with, but I love the trio when Tonio, Sulpice, and Marie are reunited. We are all having a blast singing that music together! Oh, and I get to sing out of tune in the voice lesson scene…on purpose.
Don’t miss Lisette Oropesa and Lawrence Brownlee in Donizetti’s opéra comique November 12–20 in the Kennedy Center Opera House. Click here for tickets.