Gespräch mit M.Alvarez vor der Premiere – H.Mauró – Dec 2006 – from SZ

Dec 2006

Discussion with M.Alvarez before the premiere

You have sung Werther frequently; have you in the meantime become so involved in the role that sometimes you feel like him?

No, does not happen, even if I think myself into the stage roles. But they are a little different on each stage. In Munich Werther is very mobile, almost sporty; I must run about a lot, which naturally conflicts in principle with singing. And we cannot sing like our colleagues from pop music with electronic amplification or simply miming to recordings, if the physical movements on the stage become too arduous for us.

Sounds like hard work. Is that how it is to be to a star tenor?

I do not know whether I would have done all this with every director, but Jürgen Rose has actually convinced us with all of his work and his ideas. There one also does gladly things, which one does not like to do so much: runs up ladders, climbs again down, exhausts oneself, sings besides – I still feel out of breath, if I think about it.

To what extent do you already bring along the finished character, and what does the director contribute to it?

I have naturally a conception of the role, of the type, from the character, but I am also open to further ideas. And the director is mostly concerned much more exactly with the characters and the whole piece. One tries to get the fine tuning then in the rehearsals.

Do you as a singer think about a stage role first from the music, do you hear the character already from the notes?

Partially to be sure, but the music is only one level, a world of its own, and one cannot start simply with this part alone.

Is French opera more complicated than Italian?

For me certainly. The Italian opera almost sings itself, there everything flows out directly, there everything comes over sort of unfiltered. In the French an unbelievable amount of work is needed, in order to represent feelings or characteristics. And then this language! That makes me despair. The different nasal sounds and consonants. In Italian I have my vowels, and the consonants only activate the sound. That is everything. Completely simple, I only need to worry about the music. But in French the work starts from there – and I must bring the language sound together laboriously with the notes. Then however we still do not get to the actual character for a long time, to the characteristics and refinements, which determine this person….

My parents had a furniture business, and I had worked there for a long time after my studies and singing was only a hobby. I did not sell so much as sketch new furniture. I liked bedrooms best.

What do you think of Ikea?

No, this is not proper furniture. I think of real wood, if I speak of furniture. Proper boards, and when I drive here through the mountains and smell the trees and the fresh wood, then I feel quite at home.

You obviously have however rather a happy nature, which does not like to hide itself in the forest, or not?  

Yes, I do not sketch furniture any more now, but houses. Villas,  to be precise.

That surely makes a good mood and also fits well in Italy, where you have lived for some time with your family?  

Yes, I feel very well in Italy, and as tenor one is certainly just right here, I think. Or not?

SZ of 16.12.2006. Interview: H.Mauró