The Australian mezzo is finishing off her year with Pinchgut Opera’s latest show and SwanSongs Perth.
Handel’s Theodorais strictly speaking an oratorio. What makes it work as an opera?
Theodorahas particular potential for the stage because of the clear dramatic structure to it. Handel gives each singer a different musical characterisation and their contrasting passions are played out against each other in turn.
Irene can be seen as dramatically passive next to Theodora. Is that how you see the role?
It is true that Theodora is a dynamic character and she moves the action forward. Irene remains static, but then it is her resolute faith that makes her so steadfast. She faces her dangers in a more fatalistic way, interpreting the situation as God’s will in some larger plan. This is my initial impression of Irene, but I look forward to rehearsing with Lindy Hume to explore the character further in relation to her other decisions about the piece.
Musically it is now recognised as one of the composer’s masterpieces. What are the highlights for you?
I’ve read that Theodora was one of Handel’s own favourite compositions. For the character Irene there are several memorable and heartfelt melodies, including As with...