Young Artist Profile: Susana Gaspar on realizing her dreams
The Portuguese soprano tells us about the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme and singing in L'elisir d'amore.
“A dream. That’s what being at the Royal Opera House means to me. I always wanted to sing on this stage and now I am!”
Portuguese soprano Susana Gaspar is in the second year of the Royal Opera House’s Jette Parker Young Artists Programme and is relishing the opportunity of performing at Covent Garden. Susana is currently singing the role of Giannetta in Laurent Pelly’s production of L’elisir d’amore alongside Aleksandra Kurzak, Roberto Alagna, Ambrogio Maestri and Fabio Capitannuci. “It’s a great cast to work with. I particularly enjoy working with Aleksandra who I worked with last year on Le nozze di Figaro. She’s a wonderful singer and very nice colleague”.
Susana’s role in L’elisir will be her first Donizetti work. “The music is great as I particularly love bel canto opera. I love the spirit of the music and the fact that it is both technical and beautiful. It’s great for young singers.”
Susana has been in the UK for six years, studying at the National Opera Studio and Guildhall School of Music and Drama before joining the Royal Opera through the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme, which counts among its alumni the likes of Alfie Boe, Jacques Imbrailo, Marina Poplavskaya and Matthew Rose. The programme gives singers the opportunity to perform in their own productions, concerts and recitals, as well as small roles for the main Royal Opera Season. It also gives singers vital experience through cover roles. For L’elisir d’amore, Susana also will cover the lead role of Adina, a part that Susana says is her dream role.
As well as polishing their vocal technique, Jette Parker Young Artists are given support in all aspects of stagecraft, including training in movement, stage fighting, mime skills and language skills, to allow them to tackle the wide range of repertory performed by the Company: “Italian is very similar to Portuguese, so for me it’s easy. Singing in English however, especially in front of an English audience, is a challenge”. Susana will be singing in English for her role in Harrison Birtwistle’s The Minotaur, which returns to Covent Garden in January 2013: “It’s quite difficult music and definitely something we don’t do every day. It needs more time to prepare to get our bodies used to it. It’s very different to L’elisir!”
The future promises much for Susana but for now she is focused firmly on the present and honing her craft as best she can at Covent Garden: “It is such a great treat singing with The Royal Opera. As well as being a very good start for my career, the Company is full of wonderful artists, musicians and people. It’s such a pleasure singing here.”
L’elisir d’amore runs from 13 November – 7 December. The Minotaur runs from 17 – 28 January 2013. Find out more about the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme. The JPYA Scheme is supported by the Oak Foundation.