Eglise Gutiérrez: putting the fabulous into Fairy Godmothers, in Cendrillon
Who hasn’t wished for a Fairy Godmother, once in a while, to wave their fairy wand and transform the dull into something rather more fabulous? Cuban-American coloratura soprano, Eglise Gutiérrez is just the lady you need. She has been honing her Fairy Godmother skills all this month, preparing to play the role in Massenet’s Cendrillon tonight (5-16 July) . Charming, vivacious and fine-looking, Ms Gutiérrez makes a sassy Fairy Godmother dressed in silk, sparkles and ostrich feathers, with a Lady Gaga-esque grey wig.
Joyce DiDonato as Cendrillon, Eglise Gutiérrez as La Fée in The Royal Opera's Cendrillon © Bill Cooper/ROH 2011
Alongside Joyce DiDonato’s Cendrillon, her miraculous antics on stage are at the heart of Massenet’s opera, which is new to the Royal Opera House but has already been seen in Santa Fe. Gutiérrez, with her celebrated high-voiced soprano and vocal panache are more than a measure for the magical musical realm of Massenet’s Fée with its stratospheric tessitura and ethereal chromaticism.
We met up with Eglise backstage, in the calm of her dressing room, accompanied by her smiling nine-month old baby Lucia, to discuss this most magical of roles.
This production is breathtaking. It’s the best, I think, that I’ve ever been in – in my whole career, really. Laurent Pelly is a dream director. Not only because he’s a genius, but because he’s so fun and makes you do your best, more than your best. We are in love with the production: I’m so happy to work with Joyce (DiDonato) and Ewa (Podles) again, they’re so beautiful.
Laurent has made the role of the Fairy Godmother so special for me. She’s so many things: she’s funny, she’s nice, but at the same time, she strong, and she’s in control of everything. She’s got attitude, with her short hair and her quiff and her fabulous curvy dress and feathery wings. She has so many personalities, which for an artist is wonderful – to be able to express so much. Cendrillon is a more traditional character, so virtuous, but with the fairy Godmother you can really be creative. She’s unique – thanks to Laurent.
Massenet’s is the real Cinderella story, unlike Rossini’s, which has no fairy godmother. Here there is everything: the dress, the slipper. It’s the whole fairy tale thing. You don’t get that so much in opera. It’s my my first chance to be in a fairy tale.
It’s wonderful that the Royal Opera House is bringing Cendrillon to London. I made my stage debut here in Linda de Chamonix in concert in 2009, but it’s totally different on stage taking on the full character with the beautiful props, and the full rehearsals. I can’t wait for opening night.
Trained at: Philadelphia’s Academy of Vocal Arts Recent engagements: Linda di Chamounix (Royal Opera, concert performance), Amina in La sonnambula (Teatro Lirico, Cagliari and Carnegie Hall), Gilda (Dresden, Hamburg, Ravinia and Vancouver), Violetta (Miami and Cincinatti), Lucia di Lammermoor (Montréal, Florida Grand Opera, Florence, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Vancouver and Savonlinna Festival), Elvira in I puritani (Athens, Teatro Real, Madrid, with Flórez, Cagliari and Seattle) and La Fée in Cendrillon (Santa Fe and Opéra-Comique, Paris). Coming soon: Eglise is to star in the Royal Opera House’s production of La sonnambula (2-24 November 2011)