Latvian soprano Marina Rebeka will soon be playing the mysterious priestess Leïla in Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers at Lyric Opera of Chicago. The Mozart and Rossini expert has an active concert life in addition to her opera performances, and has some exciting house debuts this season. I am thrilled that Marina was willing to sit down with me and discuss The Pearl Fishers, her background, and upcoming engagements.
You will soon be performing Leïla in Lyric Opera of Chicago’s production of Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers. How does this role fit you on a personal level? Do you sympathize with the character?
I love the role. It has the typical features of a role development as many French opera soprano characters. They first appear with quite a high range and flexibility in the voice, but more and more throughout the story the characterization becomes fuller in the voice. Leïla is a young, beautiful, sensitive, strong woman with extraordinary abilities (she’s the priestess of Brahma). All this tells us enough of why people are attracted to her character. Personally, I love both the strong and sensitive sides of Leïla, and I especially love the duet with Zurga in the last act of the opera.