Opera is anything but ordinary, and this company premiere production of The Anonymous Lover is definitely extraordinary for many reasons.
The singers, especially, approached every detail in entirely new ways. So, while rehearsals were still taking place, we pulled soprano Tiffany Townsend aside in between Léontine’s arias (and at a safe 6-foot distance) for a one minute catch-up to give us her quick thoughts.
From Zoom readings to the socially distant rehearsal space in Colburn’s Zipper Hall, Tiffany said the most important part of this entire process was communication and explained how cast members seized the moment with thoughts and advice, not leaving anything up in the air.
“We have to use our body language and kind of communicate with our eyes if we can see each other. We’re so far away and really have to hone-in and listen to our colleagues,” Tiffany said of socially distant rehearsals. “But I'm just so happy to be making music in a space with people again after months of quarantine.”
Tiffany brought a graciousness to the role of Léontine, a beautiful young widow who has become disillusioned with love. Despite her best efforts to remain happily in solitude, she soon finds herself as an unexpected recipient of numerous letters and gifts from an unknown man professing his undying passion for her.
But this role was more than just a normal debut for Tiffany. This stellar soprano was excited for the opportunity to perform composition written by a Black composer. She told Spectrum News 1, “As a Black woman, getting to sing an actual Black composer’s music is everything and it’s amazing and I’m very grateful for the opportunity.”
She went on to say, “I was really, really eager to find out some more information about [Joseph Bologne]. It was amazing to learn of a Black composer who had an opera that I didn't know about.”
Though the cast worked virtually to bring the show to life, Tiffany says the connection amongst them will be most valued and easily translated to the audience.
“I think audiences will mainly take away the theme of communication and how we communicate with each other. And especially now, seizing the moment to say what we want to say.”
Don’t forget you only have until Saturday, November 29, to watch Tiffany in this role. Want to learn more about The Anonymous Lover?