Tuesday, August 12, 2014

An Interview with SLO Stars Arthur Espiritu and Kishani Jayasinghe

SLO Gala - 22 Aug 2014
The SLO's annual Gala Concert will be on 22 August (Friday) this year. We speak to its star debutants, Filipino tenor Arthur Espiritu and British soprano Kishani Jayasinghe of Sri Lankan descent, and got to know them better.

The Mad Scene: What are your favourite roles that you have performed thus far (when and where was it)?

Arthur: I have just done Fernando in Donizetti's La Favorita. The last performance was July 4th at Sankt Gallen Festspiele Switzerland. Also before that was another production of Don't Pasquale with Oper Leipzig in the role of Ernesto. I like both Fernando and Ernesto because I get to sing beautiful tunes and very innocent and true characters.

Kishani: Some of my favourite roles are Mimi from Puccini's La Boheme with the Verona Teatro Filarmonico, Countess from Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro with the Garsington Opera, Donna Elvira from Mozart's Don Giovanni with the St Louise Opera in USA, Leila from Bizet's Pearl Fishers with the Holland Reisoper, Violetta from Verdi's La Traviata with Glyndebourne Touring Opera and Chloé from Tchaikovsky's Queen of Spades at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden.

The Mad Scene: What opera roles would you like to pick up in the future?

Kishani: Arabella from Arabella by Strauss; Tatiana from Eugene Onegin by Tchaikovsky; Rusalka from Rusalka by Dvorak; Giulietta from Bellini's I Capuletti ei Montecchi.

Arthur: I'm hoping to do a Nemorino in L'Elisir d'amore. I have never done it ever.

Arthur Espiritu
The Mad Scene: Who are your operatic heroes growing up (singers, conductors, directors etc)?

Arthur:  I loved listening to Mario Lanza on the radio and television. He was my idol and the reason why I wanted to be a singer. From then I started getting exposed to brilliant classical artists like Isaac Stern, Multi, Abbado, Bernstein, Pavarotti, Carreras, and more. But it was Lanza who lured me in the world of opera.

Kishani: The list is ever growing and this is only a snapshot as there are so many credible and eminent musicians I have admired and continue to admire. Some of my favourites - in no particular order - are Singers: Reneé Fleming, Anna Netrebko, Kiri Te Kanawa, Maria Callas, Joyce DiDonato, Susan Graham, Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo, Jonas Kaufmann, Tito Gobbi, Dimitri Hvorostovsky, Simon Keenlyside, Bryn Terfel; Conductors: Antonio Pappano, Charles Mackerras, George Solti, Colin Davis; Directors: Richard Eyre, John Copley, Franco Zeffirelli, David McVicar.

The Mad Scene: Which music or video albums have you been listening to recently which you can recommend to our readers?

Arthur: I am listening to my favorite symphony with the late Herbert von Karajan with Berliner Philharmonic. Schubert's Symphony no. 8 in B Minor, D. 759 "Unfinished" 1 & 2. Also Symphony no. 9 in C, D. 944 "The Great" movements 1-4.. I recommend it highly.

The Mad Scene: Which pieces on our SLO Gala Concert programme are you most looking forward to perform?

Kishani: I am excited about the performance as a whole! It is my Debut in Singapore and to be doing it with the SLO and SSO is a real treat. In addition, I get to sing some of my favourite roles and composers all in one evening - Mimi/Puccini; Hanna/Lehar; Sophie/Strauss; Marguerite/Gounod; Gilda/Verdi - I think it's going to be a really special and magical evening!

Arthur: I'm looking forward to singing the La Boheme section. I am currently learning Rodolfo and will be doing my first La Boheme pretty soon in Germany.

Kishani Jayasinghe
The Mad Scene: What in your opinion are the highlights of this concert, that can audiences look forward to hearing live?

Kishani: The programme comprises of specially selected jewels in the Operatic repertoire - I'm sure the whole concert will be beautiful, from beginning to end :)

Arthur: I love listening to the presentation of the rose in Der Rosenkavalier and also will look forward to listening to the Tannhäuser Overture by Wagner. I recommend for the audience to listen to those two. Torna Sorrento is a favorite with a very catchy tune. I hope I can do a good job singing it.

The Mad Scene: What other engagements are on your schedule after this concert?

Arthur: After the concert, I will start joining a Cosi fan tutte production in Germany, followed by a La Boheme, then another Cosi fan tutte with Theater Basel in Switzerland, then a Gianni Schicchi production in Trittico with Oper Frankfurt.

Kishani: Leila; Violetta; Recitals and concerts in London, São Paolo, St. Petersburg, Colombo; Release of my debut album at the end of this year and of course Hanna Glawari in Lehar's Merry Widow here in Singapore with the SLO in October - A very exciting year ahead!

Once again, the 2014 SLO Gala Concert is on 22 August 2014. Check out more information on the Events Page!

Artist videos and biographies available here:

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