How does the process of learning new roles and discovering figures work for you? How do you approach your roles?
I always try to procure every possible information I can concerning the basic story, then I go over the libretto, but of course I always begin with the score. I also like listening at the start to the different recordings of the opera, as I did for example in the case of Werther, where the recording conducted by Georges Pretre, and sung by Victoria De Losangeles and Nikolai Gedda was a revelation for me.
Talking about Werther: it was really exciting to compare the original novel, with the opera that arose from it! In such cases I feel being kind of an explorer. I’m convinced, that this whole procedure is indispensable in finding the matching experiences of your own personal life. The whole thing is really like a puzzle. You try to set together emotionally, technically and musically the totality of the role, based on the score. And then comes the harmonization of these feelings, with the much better prepared coach. If you are lucky enough, your coach is just like a friend for you, since you need to excavate such personal experiences during the learning process for the sake of the cause, that it’s similar to confessing. It definitely requires trust. Furthermore, it is a big advantage to have a coach who likes and knows the composer, and the opera you are working on, and the whole structure of the subject is as interesting for him as it is for you. In the case of Wagner for example, when it comes to those famous leit-motives that the composer hid intentionally in monologues or scenes, it is good to have an adept helping the singer finding them. And if the mutual reasoning is beneficial, at the best I end up with my own conception of the role. This is often a much longer progression, as the learning of the whole part. And if we consider, that an artist has a lot other things to do, to prepare for meanwhile, it is understandable why most of the times there is only appr. 8-10 testimony-like roles in most singers’ life.