During the Covid pandemic in 2020, OperaWire interviewed mezzo-soprano Arlene Belli. Two years on, and she finds herself at the Wexford Festival Opera performing the role of Lady Louise Wolseley in “The Master” by Alberto Caruso, based on Colm Tóibín’s novel about the author Henry James.
OperaWire: What was the first opera you saw?
Arlene Belli: “Aida” in the Verona Arena.
OW: What was the last opera you appeared in?
AB: The Female Pope in the “The Burning Question” by Edward Lambert at London’s The Cockpit Theatre.
OW: What is your next scheduled appearance?
AB: Handel’s “Messiah” in London.
OW: What is your favorite role?
AB: Charlotte from Massenet’s “Werther.”
OW: Which opera character would you most like to meet?
AB: Don Giovanni.
OW: Which character, that you have either met or played on stage, have you most disliked?
AB: The character I am playing at the moment, Lady Louisa Wolseley.
OW: If you could invite three guests to dinner, at least one of which must be an opera character, who would they be?
AB: Greta Thunberg, the actress Emma Watson and The Mad Hatter from “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” by Will Todd.
OW: Which character would you most like to sing?
AB: Octavian form “Der Rosenkavalier.”
OW: Who is your favorite opera composer?
OW: Who is your favorite singer?
AB: Lorraine Hunt Lieberson.
OW: Name the person, from any walk of life, who has most influenced your career.
AB: Maria Callas.
OW: What is your favorite film?
AB: “Blow” by Ted Demme.
OW: What book are you reading at the moment?
AB: The Master by Colm Tóibín.
OW: Who is your favorite painter?
AB: Frida Kahlo
OW: In which theatre would you like to sing, but have not yet done so?
AB: The New York Met
OW: If you hadn’t been an opera singer, what job would you have done?
AB: Something to do with social care.
OW: What do you like most about your voice?
AB: Its roundness and color.
OW: If you could have a composer, alive or dead, write an opera for you, who would it be?
OW: What do you dislike most about being an opera singer?
AB: The solitude.
OW: Two adjectives to sum up your experience in Wexford
AB: Happy and tired