Behind the scenes with the canine star of L’elisir d’amore
Animal actor Alfie tells all about taking to the Royal Opera House stage.
It’s not all doggy biscuits, grooming and pedicures, you know. Being an animal actor can be a pretty tough gig at times. Sure, there might be the opportunity to cuddle up with Aleksandra Kurzak during rehearsal breaks and play Fetch with Roberto Alagna on occasion but it’s hard work, let me assure you.
You really have to push the envelope to become a star and the other day I had to practise my grand entrance four times. Four! That’s more than that donkey from Carmen would deign to do. Domingo may have called her ‘A great scene stealer’ but is she prepared to suffer for her art? I have my doubts!
I might only be 17 months old but my acting approach is rooted in that of the greats; you know, method acting – channelling my inner Marlon Brando. As my agent said the other day, ‘Roberto might have a sonorous voice and Aleksandra can give a look that’d have any Nemorino or Belcore falling at her feet but I think we both know that you’re the real trump card for this revival’.
I always do my research and I like to think pays off – in this case I’ve concentrated on the influence of Federico Fellini on the production. And so after a few viewings of La dolce vita and 8 ½, I like to think of myself in this production as a poochy Marcello Mastroianni. My elegant gait as I bound across the stage says it all: ‘Here I am: performing not the role of a village dog but imparting the truth.’ I think it works.
I was never really a Donizetti fan before being in L’elisir d’amore but this has definitely changed my mind. Johann Sebastian Bark was always more my thing if I’m honest but after Roberto’s jaw-dropping performance of ‘Una furtiva lagrima’, you could say I’m a convert.
So, I hope you enjoy my performance and that of my co-stars too. Oh and do feel free to leave any doggy biscuits at Stage Door. Flowers just don’t cut it with this canine.
L’elisir d’amore runs until 7 December. Tickets are still available.