Dec 19, 2018

Harlequin Blog Series: Elisa Citterio in conversation with soprano Roberta Invernizzi

By Elisa Citterio, Music Director

Roberta Invernizzi, soprano
Roberta Invernizzi, soprano. Photo by David Capelli.

One of the most-anticipated concerts of our 2018/19 season is the world premiere of The Harlequin Salon in January 2019. Following on the success of the multimedia performances created by double bassist Alison Mackay, these concerts will be created, scripted, and illustrated by oboist Marco Cera. We’ll be writing a monthly Harlequin blog post to take you behind the scenes as this production comes to life!

Elisa Citterio: We are looking forward to your debut with Tafelmusik! Have you ever been to Toronto before?

Roberta Invernizzi: I’ve never had the pleasure of visiting Toronto, so I’m quite curious and happy to have this wonderful musical opportunity to do so. I’m excited and honoured to take part in this projectThe Harlequin Salon with Tafelmusik, an ensemble that I highly admire. I’d always hoped to work with Tafelmusik and am very happy that it is finally happening.

EC: How do you feel about meeting a new orchestra after so many years of experience? Is there any emotion or curiosity that pops up?

RI: There’s always a feeling of excitement and curiosity at each encounter with a new ensemble or orchestra, but the most enjoyable phase happens once the ice has been broken, and we can begin to experiment together.

EC: In this program you will perform as Faustina Bordoni and the castrato singer Farinelli may also make an appearance. How much do you know about these two characters?

RI: Having read several biographies, I imagine Faustina Bordoni to be quite a beautiful and charismatic woman with a superb vocal technique that allowed her to perform extremely difficult pieces. At the same time, I imagine her to have had an uncomplicated character, maybe even a little “anti diva” — let’s say the opposite of her capricious rival Francesca Cuzzoni. It’s a little trickier to get an idea of what Farinelli was like — most definitely a person of great sensitivity. Despite his status as the greatest castrato of his era, I have the feeling that he was a fragile man.

Roberta Invernizzi as Minerva in Return of Ulysses
Roberta Invernizzi as Minerva in Return of Ulysses  

EC: Is there a character you have interpreted in your career that you feel is more “yours” than any others? If so, why?

RI: I’ve portrayed many roles, including several particularly interesting ones. Let’s say that I’m very fond of the role of Cleopatra from Handel’s Giulio Cesare, above all for the beauty of her arias rather than the character. I generally prefer more determined, dramatic roles over the yearning, sappy ones, for example, Armida from Handel’s Rinaldo, Alcina, Medea. I adore Prosperina from Monteverdi’s Orfeo, and Minervafrom the Return of Ulysses.

EC: Do you prefer singing in costume as part of an opera, or singing arias as yourself in a concert setting?

RI: Honestly, I’m more at ease as Roberta singing arias in a recital, where the concentration is purely on the musical. However, at times I also find it fun to perform in operas and give free reign to theatrical imagination, though it depends on the direction.

EC: Tell us about any exciting other projects you have coming up.

RI: I’m looking forward to several projects, both concerts and theatrical/operatic. I’m preparing for an opera by Bononcini and Scarlatti for the Potsdam Festival, and a remount of Semele by Hasse at the Staatsoper Berlin and the Theater an der Wien in Vienna. In the fall, I’ll be working on a production of an opera by Melani at the Teatro di Pisa.

Read Part 1 and Part 2 of this blog series and stay tuned for our final instalment in January.

The Harlequin Salon premieres January 16–20, 2019 at Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre. Click here to buy your tickets now.

The Harlequin Salon
Harlequin Blog Series
Elisa Citterio
Roberta Invernizzi
Marco Cera