"The audiences in Covent Garden are just unbelievable, so generous and warm! I am so grateful for this and absolutely love singing here."
For the moment, Stagg is enjoying Chicago. Recent highlights include bundling up for a walk through Millennium Park, an outing to hear Verdi's Requiem with Riccardo Muti at the Chicago Symphony, and a trip to the city's famed Art Institute, where she especially enjoyed the collection of French impressionist paintings.
We discussed all things opera: the career, the "life," the work, the music. Naturally, as compatriots, we touched on Polish music and reminisced on our experiences at the F. Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw where we both studied, albeit ten years apart. We conversed in Polish. Below I provide an English translation of our conversation, edited solely to account for grammatical and syntactic necessities.
"In Turandot, that we did last year, or in All is Calm, the expressive potency of the human voice is the commonality. The spoken word is expressive too because it uses the human voice. It has music, it has rhythm, it has form, and it has pitch – all the things that some music does, but just that it is spoken. That is the dramatic glue to this piece."
"Our production includes a little LGBTQ+ content, as well as a nod to polyamory. Given the way the original sought to challenge the status quo, we felt this is very much in the spirit of the opera. I think the result is still a hilarious, satirical look at relationship stereotypes, and one that all audiences can enjoy!"
"It is being in a position to help the next generation of artists. I am so energized to see the passion, drive, and commitment of our young musicians. It is a always a challenge to find effective, novel ways to propel them to a successful career. But it does not deter me from creating new projects towards that goal."
"I'm glad that Charles Gounod is a French composer because I can understand the opera in my own language. In many ways, Gounod's score is so far away from the Prokofiev score. Prokofiev's music is imminently danceable, the chords and harmonizations are rich and original. But Prokofiev's score is very dark while Gounod infuses a lot of colour, humour and drama."
Then one day in the car, he heard a completely original Melody that suddenly came into his head and he began to cry. From there on - and to this day - melodies have come to Mr. Thomas "incessantly." A composer was born.
"Of course, school education does not give you large amounts of stage experience, in the same way as is provided by some young artist programs. During two seasons as a young artist in London, I was singing supporting roles on the main stage and making unexpected debuts in the leading roles. Of course, in extreme situations you learn much faster."
"As a singer, as a professional, experienced singer, older colleague," Hampson advises young singers entering the profession, "I can only say that the industry you're in is not the industry I started in."