The Diva and the Stage Manager
A TheaterJones interview with Ailyn Pérez and Anthony Roth Costanzo, who play familiar roles in interesting ways in the Dallas Opera’s Great Scott:
I met up with Anthony Roth Costanzo, who is singing the role of Roane (the stage manager), and Ailyn Pèrez, who is singing the role of Tatyana (the brash young middle European soprano) for coffee last week. Both are live wires, to say the least, and our conversation was filled with equal parts of laughter, serious thought about Great Scott and opera in general.
What follows is a condensed version of what was said in that discussion, but it can’t possibly recreate the energy and tone. Or the connection we all made. For this reason, nothing here is written in quotes because, in the interest of time and space, many of the statements are combinations of things said at different times. Pérez frequently spoke in the thick accent written into her part for humorous effect.
TheaterJones: One of the reasons to get the two of you together is that you both have these parts that are basically, well, a satire of yourselves.
Ailyn Pérez: [laughing] I was a little afraid of playing her because of all the typical soprano stuff she does, at least what people think is typical. It is even somewhat embarrassing in a way: She doesn’t read librettos ahead of time or knows that she is a mother until well into rehearsals.
We have all run into her, in both male and female incarnations, but you are playing her to the hilt.
Pérez: But I am not playing it to the joke, doing it up so to speak. [Director] Jack O’Brien said to play her like a woman who is trying to bring her very best efforts and artistry to everything she does. That sent me back to the drawing board.
Anthony Roth Costanzo: He is always asking us to show the layers under the action so we are not just parodies. He asks us to find the grain of truth under the characters. That is when they are funny.
Read the entire interview here.