Audrey Luna sings the role of Ariel in The Tempest – Suspended between heaven and earth

by RICHARD BOISVERTSun

(Québec) There was The Thieving Magpie. There are now flying sopranos.

In The Tempest, playing at the Opera Festival of Quebec from July 26, soprano Audrey Luna will sing almost always suspended between heaven and earth, about 25 feet above the stage.

“This will be my Peter Pan moment!” says the singer.  “Ariel, a genius of the air,” says the text of The Tempest by Shakespeare. Robert Lepage has decided to push the idea to literally flying the character throughout the opera.

An appetite for risk

We must believe Audrey Luna when she says she loves a challenge and has an appetite for risk. In Ariadne auf Naxos by Richard Strauss at The Tanglewood Festival she was able to sing Zerbinetta’s aria while balancing a book on her head. In Quebec this summer, then to The Metropolitan Opera later in the fall, she will take off altogether.

“I think I am a very physical actress. Fortunately, I learned early on that in this production of The Tempest I would wear a trapeze harness under my costume throughout the show so I was able to prepare accordingly. ”

The singer has enjoyed working with Guy St-Amour, designer of equipment and rigging for the Cirque du Soleil. “It takes good abs! One must undergo special training. It represents a real challenge to sing simultaneously.”

For this interpretation of Ariel, everything happens in altitude, everything. Not only does the director suspends a cable to give the illusion that Ariel is floating, but again, the composer Thomas Adès, pushes the limits of another octave register which is already high for a coloratura soprano.

“I’ve always had a high extension in my voice,” she says in a confident tone. But I also love to sing Gilda [ Rigoletto ], Juliette, Gretel. These are roles that I feel are also comfortable and suitable for my voice. And I love above all the strong female roles, characters that have multidimensional personalities. While Ariel is subject to the power of Prospero, he – or she – is a supernatural being who is also extremely powerful.”