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We caught up with Irish soprano Claudia Boyle in preparation for our upcoming production of Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier. Claudia will be playing the role of Sophie in the production, which will be at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre on 5-11 March 2023.
What’s your earliest memory of opera?
My earliest memory of opera is actually making fun of it as a child! Putting on my best ‘opera’ voice with some overly dramatic gestures of course. I was definitely intrigued by it from a young age.
What excites you about the art form?
I just love performing, so that’s the first thing, but it’s opera’s heightened energy that captivates me and how we use our voices in the most visceral way. Singing with orchestras beneath us and the spectacle and drama of an opera house. Nothing moves me quite like opera. The beauty, the power and the poignancy. Nothing like it.
Tell us about one of your funniest memories of working on a production.
You meet lovely people within the industry - performing with the friends you make along the way is always fun. Sharing a scene with the Irish bass John Molloy in Offenbach's The Tales of Hoffman was a highlight. It’s not every day you get to see him in heels and fishnets. Although he seemed quite at home in them by the end of the tour!
What does it mean to you to perform to Irish audiences after so much international experience?
It’s always a privilege to perform at home. Singing for an Irish audience is a pleasure. There’s a real warmth and of course a familiarity that you feed off. I certainly don’t take it for granted after the pandemic!
What do you find are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of working on this production?
The most challenging aspect is the travel and being away from home. The famous mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato once said, ‘You don’t get paid to sing, you get paid to be away from home", and there’s a lot of truth in that. The singing part is the reward! And it’s worth it.
Tell us a little bit about your character in this opera.
I play the role of Sophie. She’s a young, innocent girl who is engaged to Baron Ochs. After meeting him and experiencing his narcissism, misogyny and arrogance she resolves to get out of the engagement and this is what the opera’s story revolves around. Even though she is young and perhaps naïve, she has strength and courage in this pursuit. I like that her in character. She also falls in love with the dashing Octavian, sung by Paula Murrihy. It’s a pleasure sharing the endearing love scenes with her!
What are you most looking forward to about this production?
The beautiful music! My favourite and also one of the opera’s most famous scenes is ‘Presentation of the Rose’. In this scene, Strauss displays his profound capacity for beauty, magic and textures. His music here takes on almost an ethereal feel, and makes time stand still. I cannot wait for it!