Mezzo Soprano Flora chatted to Break A Leg about Carmen and what it means to be playing the title role:
Thanks for talking to Break A Leg, Flora. What can you tell me about this production of Carmen?
Robin Norton Hale has written and directed a version of this iconic opera that is both absolutely true to the core material and simultaneously challenges pre-conceptions, not only about the characters in Carmen, but about strong, sexy and provocative women in general. It’s a brilliant story, sung in English, with Bizet’s iconic tunes played by a virtuosic small ensemble that are on the stage with the other performers – the experience is really intense and direct.
What does this particular opera mean to you?
It is one of my favourite roles. Carmen is such a complex character it is a real gift for an actor as you are able to make really strong choices. And, of course the music is famous for a reason…it’s amazing.
Have you any personal highlights from the production?
I don’t know about highlights…I think everyone involved in this production is immensely proud of the work and how we have developed the characters and storytelling. It is really fun playing drunk and provocative!
What do you hope the audience will take away from the show?
I hope everyone comes away feeling real empathy with the characters and with any preconceptions genuinely challenged.
What led you to a performing career?
I was lucky enough to grow up around the theatre so it’s always been in my life. Mum says she came to a school play when I was 8 and was astounded by the ‘very loud singing’…think that’s where it all really began!
Who are your influences?
I like to think my influences are many and varied, but specifically in my field I’m influenced and inspired by brilliantly accomplished singers who never forget the job is to tell stories…that’s what it’s really all about.
Finally, what would you say to encourage people to come and see Carmen?
It’s a powerful, dramatic and very accessible story full of heart and humanity, told through some of the most extraordinary music ever written. Come and see!
Thanks to Flora for her time, a pleasure to be able to feature her on Break A Leg and sending all good wishes for the production.