Bubbly conversation Words from the cast of Die Fledermaus
SUSAN GRAHAM ON PRINCE ORLOFSKY
I first played Orlofsky four or five years ago, and two years ago at the Met. Orlofsky is odd. He’s not even in the first act. Orlofsky has no back story. No one knows anything about him. He sings, “I’m so bored.” The party in Act 2 is held as a challenge to amuse him. His personal philosophy is, “Everybody can do whatever they want.”
The music is not challenging for me. It’s just frothy, bubbly, and fun. It’s nice to come to Santa Fe and not carry the whole show.
Ned Canty [the director] is a comic genius. Things are quirky, random. There are Dalí-esque goings-on. An alligator makes an appearance. I do crazy stuff onstage. I love to keep myself amused. You can do that in a party scene.
I’ve been playing pants roles my entire career. Orlofsky is going to be dressed in some purple and black, Hugh Hefner-style pajamas — later in a Russian coat, thigh-high boots and a black wig with a shock of white. I play Orlofsky as a very eccentric, Russian version of myself.
Champagne plays a big part in the show. I invented a romantic story for Orlofsky. Maybe he really is in drag.
JANE ARCHIBALD ON ADELE
This is the third version of Adele I’ve sung. The first was in German, and then I’ve learned multiple English versions. The last time I did Adele, at the Met, old versions in English and little bits of German kept popping into my head.
Ned [Canty, the director] and I decided that Adele is just competent enough to keep her chambermaid job, but is otherwise really bad, lazy, disrespectful — a teenager. She has a transformation when she learns her own talent for acting.
I’ve sung coloratura roles for most of my career, but I’m forty now, and broadening into lyric parts. I’ve had a baby. I feel more grounded. I’m ready to move on from just the young, sexy, flirty parts.
Sometimes, in the midst of all the fun we’re having, I have to remember to pare down my physicality and save my energy. We’re all going over-the-top with the comedy, but I have to get through phrases with no places to take breaths. I’ve been singing full-out at rehearsals in order to get used to the altitude and dryness.
My husband, Kurt Streit, is playing Gabriel von Eisenstein. We met singing with the Berlin Philharmonic. This is the first time we’ve been in an opera together. It’s really fun to sing together.
DEVON GUTHRIE ON ROSALINDE
Die Fledermaus is an operetta, but also, as we call it, “a proper sing.” It calls for tremendous vocal faculties. Amid all the comedy, Kurt [Streit, who plays Rosalinde’s husband] and I have a real, relatable, dramatic arc. We’re a husband and wife who have been married a few years. Maybe things have fizzled a little. Over the course of the evening, playing roles at a [costume] party, we rediscover why we were attracted to each other and married in the first place. All these colorful characters sparkle and bring comedy in different ways, but there is this real story there as well. Not every production will make this choice.
This has been a master class in comedy. We’ve been playing with an intelligent understanding of style, but still playing. Searching. What is funny? Trying to find that sweet spot of style while still being funny. It’s about editing, like a fashion designer who starts with a big design and edits things down. We’re tailoring our comic choices to the story and vice versa. In the early stages we have the music rehearsals and then the staging rehearsals, where we are walking the stage and focus on the storytelling. As we get closer, the two fuse together. We start having to reconcile the needs of both aspects of the performance.
This is my fourth season in Santa Fe. I was an apprentice in 2010 and 2012, sang Marzelline in
Fidelio and covered Micaela in Carmen in 2014. I’ve never done this role, never done this opera, never done scenes from it. I’ve known I was going to do this role for three years. I started preparing really early.