Apr. 18, 2012 - Issue #861: The Long Game
Fidelio is a company premiere for the Edmonton Opera and marks the end of its 48th season. Acclaimed German soprano Maida Hundeling makes her Canadian debut in the role of Leonore, a woman who goes to extraordinary lengths to rescue her wrongfully imprisoned husband Florestan.
Hundeling has stepped into the demanding role three times before, which requires her to play not only a woman, but also a man when she takes a job at the prison her husband is being held at in an effort to free him.
"She has to be very careful with how she acts because only when she's alone does she have the possibility to be a little bit of a woman, or to release the disguise," Hundeling says of Leonore. "She always has to be very strong ... keep herself together even if there are some bad things happening, some treatment of the prisoners or everything she sees."
What's drawn Hundeling back to the role is the way in which it portrays the importance of standing up for your own ideas, as well as those who cannot fight for their own rights.
"It really shows, or it should show somebody that it's still possible, and necessary to help other people, or to fight for rights or to stand for your ideas," she says.
The intensity and faithfulness of the love story between Leonore and Florestan, played by John Mac Master, is an element that has been said to be outdated for the 21st century, but Mac Master believes despite the dismal success rate of modern marriage and the deconstruction of relationships, it still rings true of an ideal we hope to achieve.
"If you're a married person, or you want to be a married person, you've been in relationships, this is the kind of thing we dream of, and it's the kind of thing we struggle with when those relationships for whatever reason aren't that way; we're in pain, so that means those things are important to us," he explains.
This is the fifth time Mac Master will be performing the opera. He has performed it in both a concert and staged setting and says Fidelio possesses some of the greatest music for a dramatic tenor like himself and describes Beethoven's music as a healing experience for his voice.
In addition to the nobility of the music, Mac Master says the story speaks truth to our time.
"It doesn't always have to be black and white, so I think there's a lot of important truths in here, the political power and honesty ... love and what it means, fidelity, loyalty, what do those things mean?" he notes. "Opera is a wonderful thing. You go to it, you're sitting in the dark, these things are happening in front of you and it gives you space where you stop and you think about those truths in your own life."
Sat, Apr 21, Tue, Apr 24 and Thu, Apr 26 (7:30 pm)
Directed by Brian Deedrick
Jubilee Auditorium vueweekly.com comments: powered by Disqus
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