Metro Youth Opera's Kate Applin on #MYOBéaBénInterview
Why was Béatrice et Bénédict an appealing choice for MYO’s 2014⁄15 season?
I have a mini-checklist that I use each season to help guide programming, so this is always a big factor. For instance, I always look for a show with 8 singers or less, and one that can reasonably be performed without chorus or piano, among others. Béatrice & Bénédict met all of these requirements, but more than that, it’s a big of a pet project of mine. B&B was my first show out of university, and I performed Héro with Opera NUOVA back in 2010. I fell in love with the show that summer, and ever since I founded MYOpera, I knew I wanted to mount this beautiful opera. The music is stunning, the story sparkles, and the singing is a reasonable, surmountable challenge for the cast.
##What do Shakespeare and Berlioz say about relationships between men & women with this story?
I think this story is especially lovely because it shows a real spectrum of romantic relationships. Héro and Claudio is a traditional sort of pairing that we often see in literature. However, the beautiful thing about Béatrice & Bénedict is that we see a very different type of relationship in them. These two characters are intensely combative and fiercely independent, yet they find a space in their environment where they can be together and find love. This is a really contemporary take on male/female relationships, and it reminds us, that a loving relationship can take any form.
How is a show like B&B (the characters, their particular relationship) relevant to audiences today?
For me, the relevance comes from the complexity of the characters’ personalities and relationships. Two-dimensional characters are relatable enough, but they ultimately leave today’s viewer behind. To see these complex, diverse characters onstage will hopefully remind the audience that these are real, relatable people whose relationship drama is really not that far from ours.
What do you, personally, like most about B&B?
For me, it’s all about the music in this show. The harmonies and textures are such a huge part of the score, and they serve a dual purpose of embodying the character development while also sounding absolutely stunning. I remember when I first sang the show, I fell in love with all of the music, and mounting it with MYOpera this season has made me fall in love with it all over again. There’s a perfect balance of stunning melody, dense harmony, and vocal fireworks, and I feel like I could listen B&B every day.