Mid Wales Opera’s Aristic Director literally stepped up to ensure the company’s performances of Ravel’s L’heure espagnole could continue when one of the show’s leading singers was not able to perform.
The company explained that when singer Peter Van Hulle suffered a leg injury, Joseph Doody sang the role from the side of the stage and Artistic Director Richard Studer acted the role of Torquemada the clock maker, for three performances in Bishops’ Castle, Mold and in Criccieth.
Peter Van Hulle in the role of Torquemada
Richard stepping into the role
Richard Studer said, “To be honest the biggest challenge was overcoming my own fear – I lost my nerve as a performer years ago but we had a great rehearsal in the afternoon of the first show I performed (for a sold out audience at SpArC in Bishops Castle, Shropshire) and an incredibly supportive ensemble. It’s a very different thing from demonstrating and creating a physical language in a rehearsal room to having to put yourself in front of an audience – way outside my comfort zone!
“Torquemada is a gift of a role to ‘mime’ and I could play with the physicality of the stylised choreography in a way that is impossible if you’re having to belt out the notes as well, though to be honest after three performances my leg muscles are killing me from some hyper exaggerated poses!
“The sense of camaraderie before the show in the dressing rooms was infectious as we went through make up and costume together – it’s a great team and an experience I’ll not forget.”
Richard also braved the stage for the second half of the programme, songs with a Spanish flavour, including an animated rendition of Alan Ridout’s Ferdinand the Bull.
“As for Ferdinand the Bull – it’s a bit of writing genius and I’m indebted to Peter’s brilliant rendition of the piece which having watched him perform a dozen times gave me a rock solid foundation to build my own interpretation upon,” Richard added.
For the remainder of the tour William Wallace, who performed Tamino in MWO’s 2017 The Magic Flute, has stepped in to the role.