La traviata: Cityscape chats to Kiwi opera star Andrew Glover
With NZ Opera already in town and rehearsing for the August 14th opening performance of La traviata at the Isaac Theatre Royal, Cityscape caught up with rising Kiwi opera star Andrew Glover – who's playing the role of Gastone in the production – ahead of what's sure to be a stellar season.
A look at your opera CV reveals you’ve played a wide number of roles already in your career. Do you have some personal favourites?
I always feel that my favourite role is the one I am playing right now. That being said I enjoy the liberty you can take in a comic role, I love to dance if possible as I studied dance in my youth, and playing evil characters is wonderfully cathartic. I'm not sure that answers your question, though. Haha!
You made your debut at London’s Royal Opera House earlier this year, called in as an emergency replacement – was it nerve-inducing?
Yes, my nerves were induced! The staff there were so lovely and supportive. There was no time for anything other than focussing on doing a good job. The experience was thrilling and wonderful.
You’re playing Gastone in La traviata, who’s in that “best friend” role in the story – what can you tell us about his character?
Imagine your friend is in love with another friend of yours and they haven't properly met yet. I'm the guy who brings them together. Sparks fly! Oh and at another party I do a matador dance. The tights have to be seen to be believed!
La traviata is one of the most frequently staged operas in the world. What do you think makes it so popular?
The music is truly exceptional. The story speaks about human truths and frailties and audiences have been transported by the piece for generations. It truly deserves to be considered one of the great operas.
You’re based in Brussels now – what’s the best thing about coming home to perform?
Flat whites, Toffee Pops, beaches, brunch with family, drinks with friends, the climate, the greenery, the space, the landscape, friendly relaxed people, did I mention the flat whites? They are hard to find in Brussels.
What do you like to do on your down time when you’re on tour?
I enjoy meeting locals or exploring with the cast and crew. Having lunch or drinks somewhere new. Sightseeing. It's always good to get the inside angle on what's good from a local.
What’s on high-rotate on your iPod at the moment?
Otello by Verdi. I'm doing it with the APO next and am trying to memorise my part.
What’s the most common misconception people have about opera?
People can turn off at the word opera without looking into what opera actually is. Opera is for everybody, it is not elitist in the slightest. There are funny operas and serious operas, operas for kids, x-rated operas, all sorts. So to look into it means entering into a whole world of works spanning centuries and encompassing many different styles. The stories are engaging human stories told with the most incredible music. Mix that with a really cool design and a whole community of musicians and singers and the experience is one that will transport you and inspire you. It is a truly magnificent immersive art form well worth experiencing for yourself.
Rehearsal Images: Neil Mackenzie.
NZ Opera: La traviata
Isaac Theatre Royal, Thu 14, Sat 16, Tue 19, Thu 21, Sat 23 July
Tickets from Ticketek