Monday, October 24, 2011

The Stage Offers One Last Kiss to Mezzo-Soprano Rosalind Elias

As Heidi Schiller in Follies.
As previously discussed, the American-born Lebanese mezzo-soprano opera star is currently in the revival of Follies. The New York Times writes a wonderful piece on this great artist: “The ageless mezzo-soprano Rosalind Elias had never heard a note of Stephen Sondheim’s score for Follies when her agent first approached her about auditioning for the small, poignant role of Heidi Schiller, which she is now playing to acclaim in the popular revival at the Marquis Theater on Broadway. Ms. Elias was no Sondheim neophyte. She sang Mrs. Lovett in the New York City Opera’s 1984 production of Sweeney Todd and appeared as the sardonic grandmother Madame Armfeldt in a production of A Little Night Music in Hawaii. But she knew of Follies only vaguely and could not imagine what role could be right for someone 'at my stage,' as she put it during a recent interview in her Manhattan apartment, where she lives with her husband of 42 years, Zuhayr Moghrabi, a lawyer and law professor. “My agent, Michael Rosen, said that there was a song in the score that would be wonderful for me,” Ms. Elias recalled. That song, 'One More Kiss,' is a waltzing avowal of love and farewell written in the soaring lyrical style of Sigmund Romberg. And Ms. Elias adores it. 'I know Stephen Sondheim wrote that song in 1971,' she said, 'but I swear, I feel he wrote it for me.' She went to that audition, sang 'One More Kiss' and knocked out the director Eric Schaeffer. 'I had never heard
An early promotional photo of Elias.
her perform in opera, I’m sorry to say,' Mr. Schaeffer said recently. 'But I knew of her. When her name came up, I thought, ‘Oh my God, that would be amazing.’ She came and sang. I was literally in tears. I was, like, ‘Cast her!’ I called Steve. He agreed.' In 'One More Kiss' Heidi enters into her world of ghosts, Ms. Elias said. 'I feel this is her swan song,' she said. 'Lover, give me one more kiss, and ‘never look back.’ But I think the lover is her career. 'I’m still shocked I’m in Follies,' Ms. Elias added. 'You never know what’s around the corner. It is one more kiss that’s been given to me.'" [Source]

Watch an early performance of Ms. Elias singing the title role of Carmen in 1958 and her current role of Heidi Schiller in Follies after the jump. There is also an interesting bit of trivia as well as one fabulous promotional photo of Ms. Elias from her days with Columbia Artists Management.




The Broadway production of Follies opened on April 4, 1971, directed by Harold Prince and Michael Bennett, and with choreography by Bennett. And where was Ms. Elias during that time? About 20 blocks north:

Metropolitan Opera House
April 7, 1971
Werther (Massenet)

Werther.................Franco Corelli
Charlotte...............Rosalind Elias
Albert..................Dominic Cossa
Sophie..................Judith Blegen
Bailiff.................Fernando Corena
Schmidt.................Charles Anthony
Johann..................Richard Best
Käthchen................Lorraine Keane
Brühlmann...............Lou Marcella

Conductor...............Alain Lombard


No comments:

Post a Comment