Photo: Amanda Echalaz as Tosca, Opera Holland Park
In this podcast Sabine Pusch interviews Amanda Echalaz who is currently performing the role of Liu in Turandot at English National Opera. This is a new role for her and she talks about its challenges. Is Liu a weak victim or the strongest character in the show? Certainly her approach seems to have worked judging by the critics. The Independent described her as "an intense and scene-stealing Liu" while the Sunday Times said: Amanda Echalaz’s neurotic but gloriously sung Liu.
But it's her Tosca that has really made her name in the last year (2009).
When she took over from Angela Gheorghiu at the Royal Opera House in July 2009, the critics couldn't praise her enough. Here is an excerpt from one of the reviews:
“…the young lady everyone is talking about – Amanda Echalaz. Her Tosca at Holland Park wowed even my most hardened colleagues but this Tosca (Royal Opera House) on the very stage Callas once trod was blessed with a temperament and a completeness that was world class. It’s rare to find a voice of such true spinto colour, dark and plangent with a stonking top…exceptional talent."
Edward Seckerson, the Independent
In the interview Echalaz talks about her experience playing Tosca at the Royal Opera House and reveals that she's going to be playing the title role there in the original cast in 2013.
She also talks about her South African roots, playing Tosca at Bregenz and her plans for the future.
There are a couple of musical excerpts included. Not the ubiquitous Nessun Dorma from Turandot, rather a poignant scene from the end of Act One where Liu begs Prince Calaf not to persue the Princess Turandot. The version I've used is published on the Naxos label. You can find out more and purchase or download a copy by clicking here.
There is only one recording of Amanda Echalaz in performance in existance at the moment and that is in DVD form. She played the small but highly memorable role of a 'Ker' in Harrison Birtwistle's 'the Minotaur'. Opus Arte have very kindly allowed us to use an excerpt in audio form for this podcast. If you are interested seeing a clip and purchasing a copy please click on the link here.
For a link to Echalaz' agents' page, please click here.