Belle of the ball

7 Jun 2016

Soprano Kate Amos has worked with Victorian Opera since its very first production in 2006, appearing as a camel in Britten's Noye's Fludde. Now an artist in the company's Professional Development Program, she is donning glass slippers for Cinderella.

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Kate Amos. Photo: Charlie Kinross

When did you first discover Cinderella?

As a child when I first watched the Disney animation, I was enchanted by the movie and story. I can remember the film so clearly even now and it’s been a while since I’ve watched it. They had beautiful singers back then that helped bring the story and characters to life. I know for certain that this really influenced me wanting to sing and be on stage myself.

Tell us about the opera.

This version of Cinderella is quite different to some of the many other various adaptations of the classic fairytale. Firstly it is in French, by French composer Massenet, and follows the original French story by Perrault. Being an opera it is also a slightly more “dramatic” and “real” interpretation compared to the Disney version.

Some differences in this version include Cinderella’s real name, Lucette, though she is mostly referred to as Cendrillon. Her relationship with her father, Pandolfe, is more prominent in this story; they are very close. The idea of dreaming runs throughout; Cinderella believes she can only experience happiness while dreaming as it seems so distant from her reality.

What are you most excited about in this production?

I’m thrilled to be playing such a universally iconic role and to sing such gorgeous French music. I want to tear back the stereotypes character and discover who I think the real Cinderella actually is. For me, the portrayal is so important.

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What was your first production with Victorian Opera?

My first production with Victorian Opera was the very first production Victorian Opera ever performed - it was Britten’s Noye’s Fludde and I played a camel, one of two, heading onto Noah’s Ark! I’m really proud that I was able to play a small part in Victorian Opera’s history in this sense.

Does it feel like you’ve grown up with the company?

It actually does, I was very much introduced to opera by this company. So many young singers have come though Victorian Opera thanks to their incredible generosity toward aspiring artists. I’ve seen so many singers who were a little older than me perform and sing at Victorian Opera to then go on to the greatest operatic achievements. It’s inspiring to witness.

As Cinderella, you’ll inevitably enchant legions of little fans. Any words of advice for any budding prince and princesses for how to pursue a life on stage?

Definitely get out there and just give performing a go! I’ve found that doing productions, both inside and outside of school or university, is a great way to gain experience, learn skills and find out what being on stage is all about! Go out and see opera and live theatre to understand how it all works. Above all, work really hard, believe in yourself and don’t be afraid to dream.

Quick Questions

Favourite soprano of all time?

Ah, the hardest question of all time! I love Dame Joan Sutherland. The fact she is Australian and was such a master means she is often my go-to soprano. I also adore Lucia Popp, Beverly Sills, and I’ve recently discovered the extraordinary talent of Edda Moser.

Favourite contemporary opera?

This is tricky as I tend to prefer earlier opera, but I absolutely loved working on The Riders by Iain Grandage in 2014 at Victorian Opera where I covered Jennifer. I also like works by American composer Menotti such as The Telephone and The Medium

Backstage rituals? 

I’m quite superstitious. My warm up is always the same and I’ll always have a ready supply of I like voice-related products such as a steamer, throat lozenges, and Berocca raring to go. After this, I will look over my score from start to finish.

Disney or Pixar?

DISNEY! I grew up on Disney and watching every one of their movies. I am such a Princess at heart - I was always one of those excitable little Disney Princess fans. I still am!

Cendrillon or La Cenerentola?

Originally I would have said Rossini’s La Cenerentola, because I’m more familiar with it given how frequently it’s staged. After having discovered Massenet’s exquisite score, I have to say Cendrillon is growing on me. The uniquely French music fits the original story so perfectly.

Cinderella was part of Victorian Opera's Season 2016.