MARIA The house never let us down during that period of uncertainty. When it was announced that we would no longer play performances and could go home, we decided to stay for a while. Our apartment was booked and we thought to ourselves: let's make the best of it and try to enjoy our stay. In the end, we even celebrated New Year in Belgium. Suddenly the culture houses were allowed to play again and OBV contacted us immediately. There was a lot of desire to finish this story with the people it had started with.
'I am sure the operetta is going to be fun, both for the audience and the singers. Who won't be cheered up by that catchy music, the comic acting and that extra scoop of drama?'
— Maria Chabounia
There is a good chance that the halls will be full now: next season you will sing in the audience favorites Die Fledermaus and Les Pêcheurs de perles. What roles do you play in these productions?
MARIA I play Adele in Die Fledermaus, the first operetta I sing. My father worked at an operetta theater in Minsk, so the repertoire is certainly not unfamiliar to me (laughs). I'm looking forward to bringing Adele to the stage and bringing out all the playfulness in me. The maid is quite reckless: with great audacity, she goes to a party she was not invited to at all, assumes a new identity and pretends to belong to the rich bourgeoisie. When she is almost exposed, she sings a bravura aria with which she effortlessly bluffs her way out of the situation. I love her courage, she goes full steam ahead for her goal. At the end of the story, Adele explains she wants to be an actress and be in the spotlight of the theater. That sounds very recognizable, because being seen and heard is what I always wanted myself. I find it quite exciting to make a debut in Strauss' most famous operetta, but I am convinced that this project will be all fun, both for the audience and the singers. Who doesn't get excited by that catchy music, the comic acting and that extra scoop of drama?
KARTAL It will also be an exciting debut for me: I will be singing Zurga for the first time in Bizet's Les Pêcheurs de perles, a beautiful work about love and friendship, lost relationships and sacrifice. I have already listened to the opera several times and am initially trying to unravel the role of Zurga. That helps tremendously for the rehearsal of the score: only when you understand the character do the interesting musical interpretations emerge. Zurga is a challenging role, especially in FC Bergman's direction. In it he must exude much life experience; he is marked by a deep sense of nostalgia. Zurga is consumed by a jealousy that spans several stages of life. Musically, the role is very lyrically composed, with many bursts of emotion. I love the large spectrum of emotional contrasts that is addressed. There are a lot of other productions currently underway that take up a lot of time, but I'm looking forward to getting to know Zurga better.