You’re covering Don Giovanni as well as singing Masetto – what’s it like to learn two parts simultaneously?
I’ve been fortunate, as I’ve visited parts of the Don Giovanni score through work at the Opera Studio, the Academy, where we did some scenes. So I’m filling in the gaps rather than learning the Don’s part from scratch. And the times where Masetto is on stage with Giovanni are mostly the parts I have not looked at, so I’m kind of learning it from Will (Don Giovanni) by ear. The bits where Masetto and the Don are singing at the same time, you really need to concentrate, otherwise you end up singing absolutely everything!
What’s your favourite moment in the opera?
Dramatically, it’s the one we’ve been working on in rehearsal just now, ‘Vedrai, carino’ (Zerlina’s second aria, Act 2). It’s because throughout Act 1, the relationship between Zerlina and Masetto is very turbulent; she goes off with the Don all the time and I’m left picking up the pieces. But at this point, they get back to the core of their relationship – he’s been injured, she nurses him, all is safe and happy and from this moment onwards in the opera they’re back together again. Musically, and because I’m covering Don Giovanni as well, it’s the end, from the entrance of the Commendatore. That whole scene that precedes it is special, too.
What have you particularly been enjoying in rehearsals?
I’m really enjoying the comic slant on some scenes in this production. I think it gives opportunity for a lot of things that I like doing: being quite physical, doing some slapstick (not too over the top, it needs to be well balanced). Masetto’s a really good part for that; he is a kind of earthy character. Strangely, that moment when he stands up to the Don (his aria ‘Ho capito’) is not very physical, that’s where the power is in the words, real pent-up feeling, where the movement is quite minimal.
Don Giovanni opens at Leeds Grand Theatre on Friday 28 September, before touring to The Lowry, Salford Quays, Theatre Royal Newcastle and Theatre Royal Nottingham. For more information, dates and to book tickets, click here.
Interview: Dr Kara McKechnie
Photo (above):Claire Wild (Zerlina) and Oliver Dunn (Masetto). Photography: Malcolm Johnson