|Elizabeth Llewellyn - Photograph by Shirley Suarez|
In person Elizabeth is both charming and articulate, and she clearly thinks deeply both about the roles she undertakes and the type of role which suits her. Our discussion ranged widely but in great detail looking at how Elizabeth thinks about roles such as Elsa and Tosca, but also at the wider issues facing young singers as their voices develop. In this first part of the interview we talk about how her relationship with Theater Magdeburg developed, how it was there she felt comfortable debuting Elsa and Tosca, and the importance of knowing your voice when looking at roles.
|Elizabeth Llewellyn as Elsa in Lohengrin |
at Theater Magdeburg 2014
The Intendant at the theatre is Karen Stone whom Elizabeth feels has changed the face of the house and the audience, bringing it into the 21st century and doing joint productions with companies such as the Royal Opera, Covent Garden. The company has a really solid ensemble and orchestra, doing a mix of Wagner, Verdi and Puccini on a regular basis along with some really interesting world premieres. The company has a full season, and Elizabeth comments that it shows what reasonable government funding can do for the arts so that even second or third level houses in Germany have full seasons.
There is, of course, a lot of operetta and light opera in the schedule but they get sell-out houses. There were nine performances of Lohengrin (an opera which was a big undertaking for a house that size) and all were sold out. Elizabeth sang Mimi in La Boheme with them last year, and Karen Stone's production was in fact the first time the company had done the opera for 10 years.
The system has flexibility, members of the ensemble guest and guests like Elizabeth come and perform. She has done five or six productions with them and it felt right to make her role debut as Tosca at the house. She feels that it is a very logical role for her to be singing now, and finds the role beautifully crafted and and written for the soprano voice.