Meet the cast and creative teams behind Opera Holland Park’s 2022 Season. Over the coming weeks, we’ll introduce our singers, directors, conductors and crews at the heart of the productions this summer.
In this week's Spotlight, Natasha Agarwal introduces us to her role this season. Natasha joined the company last summer in the role of Lapák in The Cunning Little Vixen and returns this year as Frasquita in Carmen.
Could you introduce us to your role?
I will be singing the role of Frasquita in Bizet’s Carmen. She’s a close friend of Carmen’s and a fellow smuggler and gypsy. Despite the dangerous conditions they live in, she loves to have fun and particularly enjoys dancing and tarot card reading!
What aspects of your role are you most excited about?
The ensemble pieces in the opera are so much fun – I can’t wait to work on them with my brilliant colleagues. I’m also very excited to see our creative team’s concept and design for the production as this will have a big impact on the characters we’re portraying.
What is something surprising about your job that audience members may not know?
As opera singers we really have to train and look after our bodies like athletes. People often think it’s just about our voices, but it’s also very physically demanding.
Do you have a favourite OHP Memory?
Last summer was my first time working with the company. There was such a strong sense of camaraderie, support and gratitude to be doing what we loved, especially after 15 months without live performance. I remember James Clutton getting the whole company together backstage and wishing us all the best before opening night – it certainly was a moving and memorable experience.
It’s also hard to forget the day Holland Park flooded due to severe thunderstorms and was closed to the public, while we were in the middle of a Stage and Orchestra rehearsal. Never a dull moment!
Who is your musical role model?
I like to get inspiration from as many different musicians as possible. A few singers who particularly inspire me are Maria Callas, Edita Gruberová, Renée Fleming, Cecilia Bartoli, Lisette Oropesa, Jeanine De Bique and Nadine Sierra.
Was there any music that got you through Lockdown? What was it and how did it help you?
Although it wasn’t always easy, I actually found it most helpful to sing and make some music myself, especially if it enabled me to connect with others. I sang popular uplifting songs like ‘We’ll Meet Again’, ‘Over the Rainbow’, ‘Climb Every Mountain’ outdoors for my neighbours once a week and it really helped to create a sense of community and reaffirm my faith in the power of music.
If you could perform any role, what would it be?
It’s very difficult to choose just one as there are so many roles I’d love to perform! If I had to choose one it would probably be Cleopatra in Handel’s Giulio Cesare. Her music is just sublime, and so challenging, and she’s such an interesting and complex character. I’d love to tackle her one day.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve received, musical or otherwise?
Focus more on the process than on the outcome. If you find joy and fulfilment in the process then you know you’re on the right path, wherever it may take you!