Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Melissa Cardamone

An Interview with Melissa Cardamone!    

                      [Sophie in Master Class]

Melissa Cardamone
Tell us a bit about your character, Sophie.

Sophie is a good, but not great singer. She is well-prepared, at least on the surface. She's an excellent student - her professors all enjoy her and she knows how to succeed in academia. Sophie has never really been challenged to dig deep and pour out her emotions. She wants to please Maria, but feels confused by all the stops and starts, and by the different filters through which Maria approaches the music, and she realizes she has so much more to learn than she has done so far. She goes through an emotional roller coaster, sinks into weeping despair, but eventually has an inkling as to what Callas wants from her. 

What did you do to prepare for this role? Any special studying or Maria Callas research?

I learned the entire aria my character presents, even though in the show I only get through a couple of phrases. :) Of course I read the script, learned my lines. We watched quite a few videos of Maria Callas to get a flavor of the real woman. My favorite was probably a snippet of the actual master classes she gave.

Is there anything fun or interesting about rehearsals and tech process that you would like to share with readers?

It is difficult as a singer to prepare an aria, then sing it not quite correctly so there are elements for Maria to shape and enhance. Especially difficult for me was to have poor diction. It is so ingrained in us singers to pronounce and project, to do the opposite is tricky! And since these students WERE chosen for the master class, it can't be TOO bad, or else it wouldn't make sense that they were selected to perform. 
Melissa Cardamone, Brian Myers & Angela Iannone

It was also interesting to participate in a show where the leading lady has done the role so many times and knows the show so completely and intimately.  The rest of us met the week prior to rehearsing with Angela in order to flesh out our characters on our own. That was valuable time spent. 

I also found it fascinating how much the show evolved in the transition from rehearsal room to the theater. The larger space rounded out the broader, more passionate emotions and I found them easier to digest as an audience member.  The lighting as well as the projections behind Maria give a glimpse into her memories and set the atmosphere for her flashbacks effectively. It was neat to see that transformation.

What aspects of the show are you most excited for patrons to see? What do you hope audiences take away from MASTER CLASS?

I think Angela Iannone is a force of nature. She is strong, frightening, vulnerable, funny and completely captivating. Her performance alone is worth the price of admission. She has done a ton of research into the woman who was Maria Callas. It's a little unsettling to be onstage with her -  that's how complete her embodiment of "La Divina" is. That being said, the entire ensemble has impressed me. I'm looking forward to sharing this story with an audience. There are so many insightful and acute observations in this show regarding singing and music, but also art in general. Hopefully audiences will be able to see what Maria expected out of students, and how much work and close attention the art of singing requires. As much as she expected out of her students, Maria expected even more out of herself.   

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