T wo years ago in April, I was in Brisbane working with Erin Helyard for the first time, and he said if I wanted to do something, then Pinchgut Opera would love to have me. I said immediately that Hasse was my preference. I always say Hasse, even knowing that most audiences don’t know the composer so it’s very difficult for a venue to program him.
Vivica Genaux. Photo © RibaltaLuce Studio
But happily Pinchgut said yes and now we’re going to be presenting the 1740 Dresden version of Hasse’s Artaserse. For me, the attraction of this later version was the participation of Faustina Bordoni, the wife of Hasse. She sang the character that I will play, Mandane, and she’s someone I’ve been particularly interested in over a number of years, so it’s a dream to be making my role debut in this work I’ve wanted to do for so long.
What’s fascinating to me is to compare the parallel lives that Handel and Hasse led. They were both German-born, both grew up singing in choirs, and both went to Italy to study. But...