We talk to the soprano about singing in operas by Strauss… and by the 11-year-old Mozart
Sophie Bevan may have just finished singing the role of Sophie in ENO’s Der Rosenkavalier – a part which our critic, Helen Wallace, said she was born to play – but she’s not resting on her laurels.
You’ve had great reviews for your role in Strauss’s Rosenkavlier. Have you enjoyed it?
It’s an absolutely fantastic opera – I always dreamed of being involved in Rosenkavalier, it was one of the first operas I ever saw at Covent Garden, with Renée Fleming and Susan Graham and I went back to see it twice. I went to see this particular ENO production when I was at college and again absolutely loved it and had no idea that I’d be playing that part on stage in that very production – so I was thrilled when they asked me.
So which composer’s music do you feel most at home with?
Well Strauss is wonderful to sing – he is one of the best composers for the voice. But I love Bach and Handel – all the oratorio stuff – and then, of course, Mozart opera, Handel opera, and I did some Rameau recently. So a massive mixture. Rosenkavalier is certainly the biggest I’ve done when it comes to opera. It really stretches and tests every facet of the voice in a way I’ve never had to do before with Mozart and Handel.
You’ve also recently recorded Mozart’s Apollo et Hyacinthus – tell us a bit about that.
Mozart wrote it when he was 11 so, you know, the music isn’t the greatest. It’s amazing for someone of that age to have written it, but it isn’t the most inspiring to sing. I play the part of Hyacinthus and only have one aria, which is very sweet, if quite straight-forward. I recorded it with Classical Opera Company, which is run by Ian Page and is a brilliant spring board for your career. They help bridge the gap between studying and performing. I was one of their associate artists and did my first ever Wigmore performance with them.
So what else have you got coming up?
I’m singing the role of Don Elvira in Mozart’s Don Giovanni at Garsington Opera this summer. I’m also getting married – which is quite a huge thing in my diary – before starting rehearsals for the part of the woodbird in Wagner’s Siegfried at the Royal Opera House. I try not to give myself anything to aim for specifically because I don’t want to disappoint myself in the future. I don’t want to say ‘One day I want to sing Mimí and Violetta’ [in Puccini's La bohème and Verdi's La traviata] because I feel so lucky to do what I’m doing. I’ll take whatever comes, as long as it’s right for my voice at the time.
Classical Opera Company's recording of Mozart's Apollo et Hyacinthus is released on 14 May