Artist of the Week: Rosie Aldridge
Rosie Aldridge Makes Her Berlin State Opera DebutBy Francisco Salazar
This week Rosie Aldridge made her debut at the Berlin State Opera in the role of Kostelnička in Leoš Janáček’s opera “Jenůfa.” It is a role that she recently debuted in Stuttgart and later performs it this season at the Deutsche Oper am Rhein.
Looking at her debut, OperaWire had a chance to do a mini-interview with Aldridge. Here is a look.
OperaWire: What is it like to debut at the Berlin State Opera with this iconic role?
Rosie Aldridge: It’s incredibly exciting that my debut at such an extraordinary and iconic house is in a role that I am so passionate about! I actually get to play Kostelnička three times this season, my role debut was in November last year at the Staatsoper Stuttgart in Calixto Bieto’s production and it felt like the most exciting beginning; now I am in Berlin continuing the journey and later this season I’ll be in Düsseldorf in Tatjana Gürbaca’s production… I feel very privileged to have three productions in one season – it’s a unique chance to genuinely come to terms with this extremely demanding but very special role.
OW: What are the challenges of portraying the role?
RA: The greatest challenge is finding a balance between the singing and the acting. It is hugely emotional, and as a mother myself what occurs in this opera is incredibly difficult to play, but I hope that it does add a certain poignancy to my interpretation. Vocally: the range is huge; however, it is so perfectly written that it naturally flows and you just have to go with it…. and while we’ve been rehearsing in Berlin, I’ve been performing The Witch in “Hansel and Gretel” at the Royal Opera in London, so it’s been a little crazy lately – but to be busy like this is maybe the greatest gift any artist can have!
OW: How is Janáček’s music different from others that you perform?
RA: The Czech phrasing is different from that of the Latin-based languages and understanding the rhythm of the language is key to singing this music authentically: you do not simply follow the rhythm notated in your score. That’s what I love about the way Janacek writes: it’s speech-driven, which gives a more naturalistic and organic appeal to the characters. They are real people.
OW: What are you looking forward to in portraying this role?
RA: The most satisfying thing about performing this role is showing the audience the genuine and very deep love between Kostelnička and Jenufa. That is the basis for the opera: the relationship between these two women. I feel this is often misunderstood and there is a danger of Kostelnička becoming a one-dimensional monster. She is not! She is desperate, and horrific though her actions are, she does what she does out of love. I try very hard to make sure that the audience can empathize with this woman, and I hope they can come to really feel for her by the end of the evening!
And for those not in Berlin for her debut, the mezzo takes the stage at the Grange Festival and Staatsoper Hamburg.
Here is a look at Aldridge’s artistry in recordings from Barcelona and an aria from “L’Italiana in Algeri.”