Interview with Aleksandra Kaminska by Larry Kellum
March will roar into Connecticut like a lamb – – not a lion — when the Connecticut Lyric Opera presents Mozart’s sunny, charming and lighthearted 1790 comedy “Cosi van Tutte” (loosely translated as “all women are like that”). This is the second offering of their 2011-12 season, and following tradition, will premiere March 2 at New Britain’s Trinity on Main before touring the state throughout the month. This production will feature the American debut of the rising Polish star Aleksandra Kaminska in the mezzo role of Dorabella. This delightful romp focuses on the fidelity issues between two sisters and their suspicious fiancees. Joining the beautiful Ms. Kaminska as her sister Fiordiligi will be the CLO’s resident soprano Jurate Svedaite in this, her fourth Mozart role with the eight year old company. Though not as melodic as “Marriage of Figaro” or as complex as “Don Giovanni”, “Cosi” is full of lovely duets and trios, and is the only Mozart opera to contain a major mezzo role who isn’t a teenage boy in trousers!
On January 24th, via skype technology, local music critic and reporter Larry Kellum interviewed the young mezzo in her home in Poland. Here are some highlights of that pleasant conversation, Ms. Kaminska responding in deliciously accented English……………………………….
LK — Welcome to America! I understand this Dorabella serves as your American debut?
AK — Yes it is, although I met maestro Sylveen (ie – Artistic Director of the CLO) five years ago.
LK — What type of mezzo are you — lyric, dramatic, or one of those who sings both?
AK — For now, I am a lyric mezzo with coloratura. The Rossini, Mozart and Handel repertory best suits my voice at this time. Hopefully, someday, I will grow into the heavier, dramatic Verdi roles, we’ll see!
LK — Tell us a little about yourself.’
AK — I did not come from a musical family. I started my career five years ago in 2008. I also am a voice teacher at the Conservatory of Music in Poznan, Poland.
LK — Do you have any favorite mezzos, past or present, that you especially admire?
AK — Jennifer Larmore is my very favorite. She has that deep, dark sound, yet all the coloratura and incredible technique!
LK — Do you have a favorite role?
AK — Perhaps Rosina in “Barber of Seville”, but not really. Whatever I am singing at that moment is usually my favorite role!
LK — Any dream role you have as a future goal?
AK — Definitely Santuzza in “Cavalleria Rusticana”. It requires such maturity of emotion and voice that I will grow into.
LK — And, is shared by sopranos and mezzos alike as you know.
AK — But, for me, it is a mezzo role — but not now — much later!
LK — Tell us about Dorabella and Mozart in general.
AK — I’ve done Cherubino and Sesto (ie – Mozart’s boy parts), but what I like about Dorabella is the wide range of emotions, female emotions, that she experiences that are typical of all women, universally. I always like connecting my acting, my emotions, with the voice, and she gives me that opportunity.
LK — Have you met, seen or studied with the two greatest sopranos in recent times to come from Poland, Teresa Zylis-Gara and Teresa Kubiak?
AK — Kubiak no, but I do love Zylis-Gara from her recordings I am familiar with. Beautiful voice!
LK — We are looking forward to your American debut and know it will be a smashing success, especially since you already know and have a rapport with your onstage “sister” Jurate!
AK — Thank-you!
For tickets and more information on this performance, or the upcoming New London (Garde), Middletown (High School Performing Arts Center) or Waterbury (Palace) shows, please visit www.thevirtuosi.org or call 860-229-2072.