Una Parola

Hi all! While working here at Arizona Opera on Lucia di Lammermoor, I’ll be doing a little concert with a truly inspiring colleague from the production, Lisette Oropesa. The special treat for me, besides performing with an artist of Lisette’s caliber, is a favorite duet that we’ll be singing together: “Una parola, o Adina,” from Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore… the first opera I ever sang.

Nemorino, the leading man in this opera, was my first role while I was a student at Oberlin, and it’s a delightful part. It was a huge challenge for me at the time– Nemorino sings for nearly the entire evening, and is seldom off the stage– but the great pleasure of it is the character, and thanks to Donizetti’s genius, the music and the character are one: simple, heartfelt, honest, beautiful. He’s got a big smile on his face almost all the time, he’s honest and generous with others, and what he loves, he’ll fight for. It’s always been funny to me when people suggest that Nemorino might be slow-witted– he’s trusting, but the language he uses is quite clever, actually. He’s a man any of us would do well to emulate. Maria Callas famously said:

“An opera begins long before the curtain goes up and ends long after it has come down. It starts in my imagination, it becomes my life, and it stays part of my life long after I’ve left the opera house.”

She wasn’t kidding– we build there characters, inhabit them, and they become parts of us, they change us… and Nemorino definitely changed me for the better.

Thanks to AZ Opera and to Lisette for this opportunity! It’s been a joy getting back in touch with Nemorino– can’t wait to portray him again, now that I’m a student no longer. Much as I love Faust, Don Ottavio, and Edgardo, none of them can match Nemorino, smile for smile.

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