An interview with Robert Lindsay: Sarastro

Your editor had a 20 minute interview with Robert to discuss how rehearsals are going, what he’s working on, and his insights on the production so far…

Editor: When did you start rehearsing?

Robert: Probably about a month ago, maybe more. We started from the start and walked through everything, with everyone there.

E: How often are rehearsals?

From left: James Adams, Sophie Sparrow and Robert Lindsay in rehearsal
From left: James Adams, Sophie Sparrow and Robert Lindsay in rehearsal

R: We have calls on Wednesday and Friday nights, Saturday, and Sunday afternoon. You’re never needed for everything though, depending on what scene we’re up to. I don’t have anything today, for example.

E: Where are you up to now? What have you been working on?

R: We are up to the second run through now, tonight we’re about halfway through the second Act. We are critiquing and improving on each scene as we go through them, with John guiding us.

E: What about yourself? What are you working on?

R: At the moment, I’m focussed on developing my character, particularly portraying Sarastro as an old man, which is a challenge at 19! I’m getting there though, and it’s getting easier.

E: What have you enjoyed most about rehearsals so far?

R: I’ve loved the acting side, particularly with John’s [English] dialogue. It’s quite a funny dialogue, although there are some quite dramatic parts too. Most of the stuff I’m in is pretty dramatic actually. Papageno is the comedian of the group, Tyler [Neumann] is a perfect fit, he’s very funny. I’m also enjoying the camaraderie of the cast, and making some new friends. It’s a great group of people.

E: That’s wonderful. We’ll look forward to Tyler’s contribution to the blog then! What has been the most challenging thing for you?

R: Learning all the music and dialogue has been quite hard. However, the fact that it’s in English really helps! It makes it easier for me to connect with the arias and songs when it comes to performing them. [Robert Lindsay played Sarastro in the University of Otago Music Department’s Magic Flute Moments (Aug 2014)  where he sang an abridged version of the role in German] E: So where have you been rehearsing? R: We’ve been in the Music room at the Teacher’s college. It’s great for us that it’s on campus.

E: And when do you move to the theatre?

R: I think it’s at Queen’s Birthday Weekend? About two weeks before opening night.

E: Fantastic. Are you looking forward to being in the theatre?

R: Yes, I can’t wait! It’s going to be quite stressful too though, because our exams start around then.

E: Yes I bet. How have you been finding juggling rehearsals with study?

R: It’s been ok, fairly stressful, but you just have to be really organised. I’m a bit behind in my singing repertoire, but it will be ok because Magic Flute actually counts towards my assessment for the year. It’s definitely worth it for the experience anyway!

E: Of course! So have you got lots of fans booked to come?

R: Yes actually, and lots of friends who have never been to an opera before, including my flatmates. Unfortunately my mum is going to be overseas, but she’ll hopefully be able to come to a dress rehearsal. My dad and my brother will be coming up from Invercargill for it though.

E: What do you think the audience is going to love?

R: I think the audience will love how well the story has been transformed into a modern context. It comes together extremely well, and makes the story easy to relate to.

E: That’ll be great for your opera first-timers. So how does your character fit in to this modern context?

R: Sarastro is a greenie, excluded from modern society. He believes that people should find their own pathway themselves. I guess he’s a hippy really!

E: What about your Priests? Where do they come in?

R: The traditional ‘Priests’ are now ‘Followers’ and are part of the greenie group. They spend their time studying the writings of their leader – me! [laughs]

E: Are there any surprises in store?

R: Monostatos is played by Ben Madden, and his aria is pretty interesting…the words are…well you’ll have to come see! People will love his aria, I thoroughly enjoy it every time I hear it.

E: Wow, sounds intriguing! Is there anything else you’re looking forward to?

R: I’ve heard a lot about the lighting and projections that will be used. I’m pretty excited to see how they turn out in the theatre – they sound awesome!

E: Yes, we’ve been hearing lots of rumours! We’re just about out of time Robert, do you have any last thoughts?

R: Tell everyone you know to book their tickets!! We can’t wait to be performing at The Mayfair, June 13, 15, 17 and 19.

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