Singers on singing and acting (Yvonne Minton)
a lot of the moves they do just seem to be, “Well, I’m going to sit down here and sing the next half-page, and then I stand up.” (on standard opera acting)
Though I rarely read interviews1, the other day I came across this 2 for 1 interview with vintage mezzo Yvonne Minton. I was quickly won by her straight forward manner (near the start she says Ariadne’s part is rather boring – eh heh heh… it’s true, the opera is named after her but pretty much everybody else save for Bacchus is a more interesting character. Then she goes on to say Strauss could’ve chopped about 1/2 hour from Der Rosenkavalier. Maybe most Octavians would agree… who wants to have to sing the most hyped bit after 3 hours of constant activity?).
The two interviews are from 1981 and 1992. I found them very insightful, lots of depth and common sense. She’s talking a lot about singing/playing Octavian but also Fricka and Kundry (she makes that interesting for somebody like me who doesn’t care about Fricka and Kundry) and a bit about the Composer. Apparently the only role in Italian she frequently sang was Sesto (a good one, too). She poked fun at boring productions, boring casts, bad stage movement, badly designed sets/houses – which you might not hear singers do every day. I don’t know how the rehearsal situation is these days but I was shocked to hear how little they seemed to have had back then. Btw, the tuba player is still positioned under the stage at ROH (and so are the bassoons 😉 ). I actually checked after reading this interview combo.
A parting note:
I love doing the nasties! (on becoming the character)
- It looks like Duffie has interviewed lots of singers so it might be worth checking his site for others as well. ↩