After Berlin or Modena, Martin Muehle is performing Andrea Chénier for the first time in Prague.
You have already sung in the National Theatre as Don José in Carmen – this was your first encounter with Prague´s audience and colleagues – how did you enjoy it, how did you like the production? Are you looking forward to be back again? The Carmen in Prague was a great first encounter for me. The production was beautiful and modern at the same time (which was a positive surprise for me!). I was also very pleased to have excellent singers and musicians around me. The maestro and orchestra were great! The audience was warm-hearted and generous as well, making the evening a stunning event. So yes, since then I have been wanting to go back to Prague and now I have the opportunity to do so!
You studied the role of Andrea Chénier for Berlin – how did it go, how was the production, the audience?
I sang Chénier for the very first time in Brazil in 2010 actually. Then again in Berlin in 2017. It is one of the most difficult and demanding roles of the romantic repertoire for a tenor. It went very well in Berlin. I was lucky to also have great colleagues and a conductor there, who knew the music inside and out. The audience rewarded us with big, warm applause and I also received some good reviews.
Why should the spectators come to see Andrea Chénier?
Andrea Chénier is a concentrated piece of music and drama. In 2,5 hours of music my character sings 4 arias and 2 duets of some of the greatest dramatic and romantic music of the 20th century! Actually the action happens around him. He is as dreamer, a poet and a patriot.
Andrea Chénier is a romantic opera – do you think that romance is dead?
Romance has just started!
Don´t you think the spectators might be afraid of the titles they do not know really well (on the contrary to Carmen, La traviata, Don Giovanni etc.) because they do not know what to expect?
They will be confronted with such a wave of melody and drama that they don’t need to be afraid, but rather curious and hungry. Chénier is a portrait of the late romantic period... an idealist who dies for his convictions. I am sure the Prague audience will be delighted and mesmerised by this music!
Could you compare this to the situation in other countries?
La Traviata, Carmen, La Bohème, Die Zauberflöte, are masterpieces of music and drama. They make up what we call "standard repertoire" everywhere in the world. Voices were trained to sing this repertoire for decades, centuries. Andrea Chénier brings a new challenge: singers must be capable of enduring the tessitura and the technical aspects of the score. It is a romantic opera for a modern type of singing, written for spinto and dramatic voices, but anchored in a very bel canto tradition of singing. It isn't done often because the voices capable of singing it are getting rarer. I consider myself lucky to have reached the vocal and technical level of being able to portray Chénier and to have the opportunity to sing it in such a great theatre and a city with a strong opera tradition like Prague has.