On stage during a performance: Baritone Olivier Laquerre with Wallis Giunta in Opera Atelier’s 2014 production of Handel`s Alcina, Toronto’s Elgin Theatre, October, 2014. (Photo © 2014: Bruce Zinger)
Says Olivier Laquerre:
About this scene? Well, there were a few similar ones as well. Bradamante (played by Wallis Giunta) ran away from me and toward her love interest so many times that I simply can’t recall which particular time that was!!! Either I said something that annoyed her, like “be patient,” or “be careful,” and that was enough for her to be on her way!
In regard to Wallis or me improvising anything for the scene – absolutely not. In a common sense, that is. Co-Artistic Director Marshall Pynkoski’s staging is extremely specific, and only Opera Atelier veterans can sort of do things “their way” with their body positions without someone directing them. Marshall would spend a lot more time with newcomers like Wallis, who played a very important and pivotal role, making sure she looks natural and that her body “speaks!”
I feel that our performances quite complimented each other in this scene. Wallis is an extremely focused and ambitious performer. She wants to act and sing her best. She observed a lot, and did the work. Her role was leading pretty much every scene, dramatically, and I hope she felt my experience made her work easier. Our scenes were all about flow, tension and – for my character – to try to guide Bradamante’s incredible dramatic drive.
What I think especially stood out about this scene, and other scenes with Wallis and myself in the production, was how far out of control Bradamante’s emotions are, which worked really well. Kudos to Marshall’s incredible work in making every scene as interesting as could possibly be!
Personally, I enjoyed every detail of the Alcina production. The amazing visual aspect of it. Set, costumes, lighting effects and projections. And the horn playing! Alison McHardy’s big bravura aria where she puts her armour on features some great horn music! It’s beautifully thrilling and not easy to play, I can tell you that!!!
Although my role was not extensive, it was a production I was really happy to be part of. My colleagues’ performances were just fabulous, and I was happy to witness some of those magnificent scenes over and over!
*Olivier Laquerre’s commentary and the photos were excerpted from the article “Wallis Giunta – The Mezzo With the Magic” appearing in the Fall 2016 issue of The Empress
Some of the cast: Mezzo-soprano Wallis Giunta and fellow Canadian, baritone Olivier Laquerre, co-starred in Opera Atelier’s 2014 production of Alcina. The backstage photo features Olivier, Mireille Asselin, Wallis and Kresimir Spicer, during the run of the Handel opera at Toronto’s Elgin Theatre in October, 2014. Olivier recalls that “The picture was probably taken at the beginning of the show. Before or early, during the show.”
(Photo: public cover photo shared from Wallis Giunta by the facebook page “A World Stage of Opera, Operetta and Song)