Jordanna Rose talks about her role preparation as the Foreign Princess in Rusalka

Posted on Jan 17, 2012 in Uncategorized | No Comments

JORDANNA ROSE — There is something extremely exciting about playing an evil villain in an opera, but before I could truly have fun with my character, the Foreign Princess, there was a lot of hard work to be done.   Rusalka has been a very interesting learning experience; the first challenge encountered was the language. Although I sing in Italian, French, and German, this was the first time I have ever sung in Czech.  Initially, I had a piece of paper with a phonetic translation of each Czech letter. I tried my best to write out my words using this as a reference. At my first coaching, I received instruction to finesse my phonetic translation, using IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) symbols as well. I also bettered my understanding of the literal text translation which is crucial to acting in character. Once the basis was established, I spent most of my free-time practicing, trying to best combine the notes and rhythms with the language. Walking to class, I would actively think my words, timing them in rhythm with my steps. Even when I relaxed at home in front of the TV, I had my score in my lap to read through the text and then would go back and sing each line. Final touches by our Czech coach, Milena Janda, helped me to understand the nuances of the language that one could not simply get from reading the text. Most recently, I have been working with our conductor, Norbert Baxa who explained to me that my music was meant to be the antithesis of Rusalka’s. Instead of being beautifully legato, the Foreign Princess is very march-like, combining military and seductive qualities. Understanding these two major musical aspects allows me to decipher which persona to use, villain or vixen, which has furthered my own stage presentation.  One other major challenge has been the music itself. Extremely fast tempi and tricky rhythms are both prominent in a duet with the Prince. It is always a pleasure to work with dedicated colleagues who share your love for the music such as both Princes (Kwangmin Brian Lee Xiaodong Zhang). When I perform on the stage of the Chan Centre this February, I am confident that all my preparation will make my portrayal of the Foreign Princess very gratifying.