Q&A with Magda Gartner

What aspect(s) of your character can you relate to?
I love that the opera starts with Aurelio stealing bread from the english camp. He’s a courageous, adventurous person and at the same time deeply devoted to his family, his wife and son and his father. I like the combination.

Why should people see this opera?
Because it is beautiful music that has been neglected.
Because, in the end, it is about mercy. A thing much needed in our crazy times.

What’s unique about singing Donizetti?
For me, it is like floating on a river of endless legato. It feels simply great!

If you could ask your character one question, what would you ask them and why?
I would ask him why there are no other french men who would come to help Calais. 🙂 And I would also wanna know how he feels about the fact that he just decided to die without talking to his wife about it. She simply accepts it as Eustachio, Aurelio and the rest of the nobles decide they’re gonna be sacrifices for the rest of the town. No conversation between the couple. No word.
For me, unthinkable in our time.

If you could meet one of the characters in this opera, who would you meet and why?
I would want to meet Isabella, Queen of Scotland and ask her, how she can be married to a man who wants 6 nobles of Calais to be slaughtered in front of his eyes and find pleasure in it. I would also want to find out, how she managed to be a Queen of Mercy. A real Queen in my eyes. A queen who does not need to play her power for her own ego.

What’s your favorite part of the opera rehearsal process?
I think I love most the last 2 weeks when things are coming together and staging, music and singing slowly make complete sense. I love when it is obvious that the hard work before was totally worth it.

Any words of wisdom for young opera singers?
Practice, practice, practice and listen to your body. and I’d say to everybody: YOGA HELPS. especially for singing. 🙂

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