Interview with Elizabeth Futral
October 20, 1997
Biography of Elizabeth Futral
Meyerbeer Fan Club Home Page
MFC: How did you discover your talent for singing?
FUTRAL: My singing talent was discovered, I suppose, as I sang in church choirs as a child. When one receives affirmation that one's voice has a positive effect on others, one continues to sing . . . . or at least I did!
MFC: Did your family have any influence on the development of your musical taste?
FUTRAL: Sure. My parents exposed me to lots of different kinds of music. My mother played classical and gospel music as a pianist and flutist. My father played bluegrass on the radio at bedtime. I used to think the bluegrass was hideous, but I like to hear it sometimes these days.
MFC: What are your most memorable roles?
FUTRAL: Lucia, Zerbinetta, Catherine (L'etoile) Semele Gilda, Susanna, Juliet, Lakme.
MFC: At this stage in your career, what roles do you believe you are most suited for?
FUTRAL: All of the above, plus Manon (Massenet), many bel canto roles, Sophie (Der Rosenkavalier), any Handel soprano roles . . . .
MFC: Is it your normal practice, in preparing for a role, to listen to recordings of former and current stars?
FUTRAL: Not necessarily. Certainly, I do at times. But I prefer to find my way as though it were a brand new role written just for me. That way, I can learn with fewer pre-conceived notions of how it "should" be sung.
MFC: How did you prepare for the role of Catherine in L'etoile du nord? Did you listen to any recordings?
FUTRAL: Quickly, and rather frantically! As you know, it is quite a long role, and, as usual, the engagement was sandwiched in between other ones with little free time for preparation. The role I did in the summer before singing Catherine in October was also a new and long one. Therefore, I did listen to a recording quite a lot in order to get the music into my ear more quickly. In addition, I worked with coaches and my voice teacher to work out the technical aspect.
MFC: Did L'etoile du nord present any special difficulties for you either as an actress or singer?
FUTRAL: L'etoile fit my voice, I think, quite well. Therefore, it seemed to go into my voice fairly easily. Dramatically, Catherine spans the gamut of emotions and that was a challenge.
MFC: The Wexford Festival, since 1951, generally produces "rarely performed" operas. Was there any special reason why you chose to sing at the Wexford Festival?
FUTRAL: L'etoile was the lure of Wexford. The role looked like a dream for a singer like me.
MFC: Did Wexford Festival meet your expectations? What was the Wexford "experience" like for you as a performer?
FUTRAL: The Wexford Festival itself was really charming and a great experience personally . . . .great colleagues, wonderful audiences and a constant flow of Guinness! I loved singing in that theatre. It is, acoustically, very kind. The Wexford festival is like a big family.
MFC: Prior to Wexford, had you formed any kind of impression about the works of the composer Meyerbeer? How did your Wexford "experience" change that?
FUTRAL: Unfortunately, the only Meyerbeer opera I was familiar with before Wexford was "Les Huguenots." But this music I think very beautiful. L'etoile was a joy to get to know. I'd dearly love to do it again, and am interested in hearing more Meyerbeer.
MFC: At the Wexford festival in 1996, other than the role of Catherine in L'etoile du nord [sung every third day over a two week period], what were your other performing roles?
FUTRAL: Catherine, thankfully, was the only role I sang there. We rehearsed 3 hour sessions daily, so doing another role would have been logistically impossible. However, I did sing a lunchtime recital while there.
MFC: Have you done any portions of L'etoile du nord (such as the double flute accompanied "mad scene" in Act III) as a concert piece?
FUTRAL: Not yet, but I'd love to! It's great fun.
MFC: What have you performed since Wexford?
FUTRAL: Since Wexford . . . . L'Ensoleillad in Cherubin (Massenet), Lucia, Pamina, Le Feu/La Princesse/Le Rossignol in L'enfant et les Sortileges (Ravel), Semele.
MFC: What are your favorite operas/roles?
FUTRAL: Lucia, Zerbinetta, Semele, Susanna and more . . .
MFC: What are your plans for future performances?
FUTRAL: Upcoming. . . .Juliet, Lakme, Susanna, Romilda in Xerxes (Handel), Hero in Beatrice et Benedict (Berlioz), Nanetta in Falstaff, Stella in Streetcar Named Desire (A. Previn) and Lucia.
Copyright 1997 Stephen Agus
Biography of Elizabeth Futral
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