Thursday, March 21, 2013

BLO Exposed (Part 1): Caroline Worra & Sandra Piques Eddy Answer Audience Questions

Boston Lyric Opera is in its second season of presenting BLO Exposed. This intermission conversation series gives audience members a behind-the-scenes look into each production and invites YOU, its audience, to ask questions through social media during our Wednesday night productions at the Shubert Theatre. For BLO’s recent production of Così Fan Tutte, Megan Cooper, Manager of Community Engagement, and Cecelia Allwein, Development Coordinator, interviewed Caroline Worra and Sandra Piques Eddy, who played Fiordiligi and Dorabella, as well as Sir Thomas Allen, the production’s Don Alfonso and stage director. 

Caroline Worra as Fiordiligi and Sandra Piques Eddy as Dorabella. Photo: Eric Antoniou.

So we have a few questions for you from the audience. The first one is, “What’s the highest note you’ve ever sung?”
Caroline: When I was in college, I was squeaking as high as I could go and I think, in whistle tones (those are those really crazy ones) I hit a high-A above a high-C. But normally I try to warm up to about a high-F. And in this show the highest note that I sing is a C, so that’s the range of high notes that I have.
Sandra: Mine isn’t as high as Caroline’s, but I usually try to warm up to a C. The highest I’ve ever sung in public I think was a C#; it was very quick.

Is there a union for professional opera singers?
Caroline: Yes, it’s called AGMA [American Guild of Musical Artists]. Once we get to this stage in our careers we have been members of AGMA for several years. When I was a young artist with the San Francisco program I was required to become a member at that time. So that’s sometimes a nice way to get young people into the union…, through young artist programs.
Sandra: I actually received my AGMA membership this in this very house [the Shubert Theatre] singing Kate Pinkerton [in Madama Butterfly] in 2000 when I did my opera debut here. So that’s where I got my acting card.

This is a question for Sandra: “What’s the hardest part of singing the role of Dorabella, and also what’s the most fun?”
Sandra: Oh it’s so much fun, I’m having a great time up here with Caroline and some old friends and now new friends too. Initially the hardest thing about this role, I think, is there’s one line in act two where I basically say, “Oh women, this is in our nature to do these kinds of things.” So at first it’s like, “Whoa, I don’t know, I think all the women in the opera house are just going to cringe a little bit,” but it’s very tongue in cheek and that was the hardest thing for me. But it’s so much fun just trying to keep everything happening as if it’s the first time it’s ever happened is a fun challenge and we’re having a ball up there.

Is this the first time you’ve played these roles and if it’s not how has playing the role changed as you’ve approached it different times and in different productions?
Sandra: This is my fourth time singing this role... This is the most effervescent I think that I’ve ever had the opportunity to play this character and the other characters around me are very fun and very light and airy and zippy. So I appreciate that in this kind of music.
Caroline: This is my first time getting to do this role although I’ve gotten to sing a lot of the arias or the duets and things in little scenes and programs. To actually finally get to sing this role is really a dream come true for me. I don’t know if I would have been able to do it before this point in my life because it sort of requires me to be in control and try and be the older sister. So it’s been a good challenge for me to try to encompass all the different qualities of Fiordiligi when sometimes I just want to go, “Ahh!” So she does need to be a little bit more in control and calm so that’s been a challenge for me.

“Are those wigs or are those your real hair?”
Caroline: Mine’s a wig. Hers is not.

“How long have you been singing?”
Sandra: I’ve been singing professionally since 2000. I actually got my first outside-of-school job at Boston Baroque, just down the street. And then here as well at the BLO with Kate Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly. So I’ve been singing professionally since 2000, but I started off as a music [education] major... I went to Boston Conservatory for my undergrad and I taught for three years and then I went back to get my Master’s at Boston University in voice.
Caroline: I started to do young artist programs in 1998 and before that, actually, my undergraduate work was in piano, so ever since ’98 I’ve kept wanting to keep giving [singing] a try and I loved it. I feel very lucky to be doing this.

BLO would like to thank everyone who participated in this BLO Exposed event and for continuing the conversation with us post-performance here and on our social media pages! To have your questions featured here in the future, join us at the Wednesday night performance of The Flying Dutchman for BLO Exposed. Stay tuned for part two of BLO Exposed’s look at Cosi Fan Tutte, featuring Sir Thomas Allen!

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