Meet the emerging artists who will be presenting our 2023 Young Artists production of Hansel and Gretel this year. Madeline will play Gertrud in this production.
Can you introduce us to the role of Gertrud?
Gertrud is a mother of two and, like many mothers, has a lot on her hands. We see her as she gets home from a long day to her two children jumping and dancing when all she wants is a bit of quiet. A mother’s job is a difficult one for starters but when you have no money and you’re struggling to afford food for your children, it’s not a surprise that the stress is getting to her!
What are you most excited to learn or experience during your time as an OHP Young Artist?
This role is one that I have spent a long time looking at and have my own ideas about her but I am very excited to see her in a potentially new light. I’m ready to challenge myself to experiment with different aspects of performance and learn from my peers.
How do you prepare for a new role before the rehearsal process starts?
Preparation for me includes listening and watching to start, finding out the context and knowing who the character is before I even get to the music. Then the music can begin to work its way in alongside the text. Humperdinck creates so many wonderful colours and expressions within his music and gives the singer so much in his writing. It is so important to make a note of all of these subtle changes that he writes because they can help you create a more convincing character while also honouring exactly what the composer wants. Once all the notes are learnt, the next step is taking them off the page. Combining the character with music can present challenges but it is also a very exciting part of role preparation because this is when the character really comes to life before you get into the rehearsal room.
If you could work with any artist, past or present, who would it be and why?
There are so many incredible artists that I look up to and would love to work with. I had the incredible opportunity to work with Sir Thomas Allen, the King of Mozart, in a masterclass which was a real pinch-me moment. If I could, I would have loved to work with Jessye Norman, who I think is just a master of vocal beauty and breadth. Kiri Te Kanawa is another soprano whose voice I adore and I would love to hear some of the stories and lessons she’s earned along her incredible career. Currently, I have a minor obsession with Lise Davidsen, Sondra Radvanovsky and Rachel Willis-Sørensen who are absolutely taking the opera stage by storm. Whenever I listen to them sing, I am taken aback by the beauty that they can conjure within music.
What’s one piece of advice you’ve been given as an artist that has stayed with you?
This isn’t necessarily a piece of advice but more a motto, and one which I have stolen from my favourite musical, Les Misérables. It is simply ‘rain will make the flowers grow.’ It helps me to remember that even when things are difficult, you have to experience it to be able to grow from it. I think this is something that is prevalent throughout Hansel and Gretel for so many of the characters. For Gertrud especially, we see her at a particularly low point at the start but, by the end, she and her family are reunited in love and are met with the happy ending we all long for.
This tale is filled with magic, both good and evil – if you had a magical power, what would it be and why?
I’d love to be able to control time, like having a magic remote to start and stop the clock. Not only would I be able to give myself more time in bed, it would give me more time in general. I’d be able to have more time to do all the tasks that I always seem to put off, slow time during the moments that I really want to savour and fast forward through the moments I don’t want to as much. I have a feeling I’ll want to take this whole experience in slow-mo in hopes that it’d never end.