Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Interview Feature: Black Pearl: Tribute to Maria Callas - 8 and 9 Nov 2016

Black Pearl: A Tribute to Maria Callas is Bellepoque's latest production this year, with a show that is conceived in Italy and features soprano Silvia Cafiero in her Singaporean debut. It also features local actor Gerald Chew in a supporting role. Here, we speak to Silvia and the show's playwright Federica Nardacci about the show, playing on 8 and 9 November 2016:

Soprano Silvia Cafiero

The Mad Scene: How is Black Pearl: A Tribute to Maria Callas different from the usual operatic/vocal recital?

Silvia Cafiero: The Black Pearl is quite different from a simple recital because the protagonists of this theatrical piece (the actor, the pianist and the actor) work together to tell a story. My singing moments are the memories of Maria Callas as an artist. These moments are totally in contrast sometimes with the personality of Maria outside the stage. I think it is a very special way to portray her to the public.

The Mad Scene: A little history – when did you discover the art of Maria Callas, and how has it influenced your life and art?

Silvia Cafiero: I discovered Maria Callas very early in life... at first I didn't really liked her voice but I was impressed by her versatility. I remember I fell in love with her interpretation of La Mamma Morta. It was a very touching scene in the movie “Philadelphia”. It makes me cry everytime...then I read about her life and her difficult relationship with colleagues and men, and I felt her so close to my experience. I think she influenced all the singers after her in many ways. Unfortunately the taste today is quite different from her period. I say unfortunately because today directors asks singers to produce a sound that is always uniform and warm, which sometimes makes the voice less expressive, completely opposite with the taste of Callas, and I agree with her!

The Mad Scene: Take us back to the beginning, what inspired your love for singing and music?

Silvia Cafiero: I was singing since I was barely able to walk. I can't imagine myself living without music...I think it has been my personal way to get through all kinds of obstacles that I have met in life.

The Mad Scene: What are your future plans after this recital, music or otherwise?

Silvia Cafiero: After this show I have several concerts and auditions to do. In the second week of December i'll be in Japan. Then together with other colleagues, we are preparing a special project for Christmas. I also hope to have some days of rest. Meanwhile I am also studying German so I need to go back to my books!

Actor Gerald Chew

A chat with playwright Federica Nardacci:

The Mad Scene: Why a celebration of Callas’ art and life now?

Federica Nardacci: The idea came from the fact that we are going to celebrate 40 years from her death next year. She can definitely be considered the greatest and most famous soprano of all times, not only for the amazing gift of the voice but also for her troubled biography. Maria Callas lived her life as a drama on a stage and for this reason she was celebrated and persecuted at the same time. The monologue takes the point from Callas's death, quite mysterious actually: heart-attack or suicide? The other character in the show is that of her butler, who became her intimate friend during the last part of her life. With his telling, Ferruccio (his name) drives us through her complex world and her troubled relationships with men that took her to success first, and then to self-destruction.

Nevertheless, what I propose is not a realist documentary of the soprano but rather a sort of imaginary journey into Maria Callas' soul.

The Mad Scene: About the arias: why did you choose these selections?

Federica Nardacci: The arias chosen are strictly connected to the script and were selected from Callas repertoire. Most of them are of course from the Italian operas, also because it was in Italy that her career started. Along the show we also have incidental music composed by Claudio Di Meo in order to accompany the acting and evoking the mood of the scene.

Black Pearl: A Tribute to Maria Callas runs on 8 and 9 November 2016 at the Esplanade Recital Studio. Check out the Events Page for more information!

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