Backstage with tenor Teodor Ilincai from ‘Tosca’ by Opera Australia
In the most dramatic incarnation of Puccini’s Tosca to date, Opera Australia and director John Bell are pulling out all stops in its latest production. Set in a throwback to World War II, the story of love is a war drama that draws you in from the first notes and holds you fast, as a gripping story of love, lust and betrayal that unfolds at breakneck pace.
We spoke with Romanian tenor Teodor Ilincai who takes-on the role of Cavaradossi in the performance until 7 March. Here’s what he had to say…*
Tosca is one of the most popular operas in the world. Can you tell us what makes this masterpiece so special?
Well firstly, it’s a very beautiful tale involving a historically-placed and dramatically complex storyline. What makes this opera very special is the obvious antithesis between the characters involved, which really comes to life through the colour and musical prowess of the singers that accompanies them from the first note in the first act, right through to the climax of the tale. Let’s not forget the extremely beautiful arias and duets as well, that emphasise the qualities of the singers.
Can you tell us about your character Cavaradossi and how you go about depicting his troubles on stage?
Like all men of creativity and sensitivity, Cavaradossi has an attraction to beauty, so it’s not a coincidence he falls in love with the lovely Floria Tosca, a very intricate and devoted character. He is proud, stubborn, faithful to his beliefs so much so that he chooses rather to die than betray Angelotti, a man with the same political views. You need stamina, a perfect vocal technique control and the whole voice range. His part is both lyric and heroic, with a conspicuous “Italienita”.
You grew up in a large, musical family. Can you tell us a bit about that?
I was born into music – my grandparents, my mum, my father and my brothers and sisters loved to sing in our Orthodox Church and also traditional and folk music from time-to-time. Many of them played instruments like the guitar, mandolin, and traditional flutes. My mother’s father played traditional flute and he was a tenor in the choir of our village church, so being the cadet of my family, the 13th child, it was like a normal choice to me. However, I became the first professional musician…
What are your pre-show rituals?
I try to wake up as late as possible, relax by watching movies, stay quiet, eat healthy, drink only water – normal stuff!
Do you have a favourite part of the opera that we can all look out for?
I really enjoy the whole opera, not only my role, and I try to put it into my voice and acting. It requires me to prove myself and that I haven’t come here only for visiting this amazing city (Sydney) and its surroundings.
Tosca is on at the Sydney Opera House from 17 February – 31 March 2017. Purchase tickets here.
*All quotes have been edited.
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