Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Interview with Soprano Lacy Sauter

Lacy Sauter
Soprano Lacy Sauter makes her Union Avenue Opera debut in the St. Louis Premiere of André Previn's A Streetcar Named Desire singing the role of Blanche DuBois. Ms. Sauter has sung for Glimmerglass Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Utah Festival Opera, Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music and, most recently, Santa Fe Opera. Phil Touchette of Operatic Saint Louis recently interviewed Ms. Sauter on preparing the role of Blanche and her experience in this production.

Throughout the piece, there is a sharp personality clash between Blanche and Stanley. What do you believe is the source of their animosity towards one another? Why does their relationship escalate into a tragic conclusion?
Blanche and Stanley’s characters represent the conflict between fantasy and reality. Throughout the opera, Blanche is desperately trying to keep up appearances while Stanley is eager to tear them down and reveal the truth. Blanche tries to be coy and flirt with Stanley because this is the only way she knows how to interact with men anymore, but her ploys are lost on Stanley and this is essentially a blow to her very delicate ego. Their relationship escalates to a tragic conclusion because ultimately reality must prevail. The rape scene unveils both Stanley’s true animalistic nature and how Blanche’s fate tragically depends on the men around her. 
Blanche makes an effort to claim herself as highly civilized for her knowledge of art, music and poetry--the latter of which she once taught. Do you believe the character truly knows a great deal, or is she a mere dilettante trying to seem civilized?
Yes, I do believe that Blanche is actually quite knowledgeable about literature, particularly poetry. She was described as being a very sensitive child and I imagine that poetry and literature were her escape from reality when she was younger. I think she definitely has a deeper appreciation for poetry and that is part of what drew her to her troubled young husband.
In the aria “I Want Magic, Blanche muses on trying to “give magic” to people. As you prepared the role, how did you interpret this desire to give magic?
Blanche’s desire to “give magic” is essentially her way of inviting others to join her in her fantasy world. She desperately wants to escape from reality so she has imagined and reinvented herself in a new “light” and this is how she wishes others to view her. “I do misrepresent things. I don’t tell the truth. But I tell what ought to be the truth. If that’s a sin then let me be damned for it.” She feels justified in her deceptions because she honestly believes that she is giving people what they really want. 
Why do you think Blanche has a preoccupation with light, especially bright ugly light? Does this point to any deeper personal issues?
Blanche’s self-esteem has come to depend on her ability to get attention from men. She has gone through a lot of traumatic events and suffered from alcoholism and this has perhaps aged her more quickly. She talks about her lost husband and that when she found love it was like a bright light had been turned on in the world and since his death everything has been dimly lit. Light for Blanche represents both her innocence and her sense of reality, both of which she has lost. She covers the light bulb with a paper lantern to soften the harsh light, just as she creates an illusion of who she is to cover up the harsh reality that has been her life.
Does the brief courtship between Mitch and Blanche seem based on mutual attraction? Are her motivations with Mitch entirely virtuous?
Blanche sees Mitch as her last chance at salvation and happiness. He is not her ideal match, but he is a good man and he could give her some security in life. He is a gentleman and they share a connection for they have both lost someone they loved. Especially in this production, the relationship between Blanche and Mitch is treated as a real possibility for both of them to be happy. Their moments together add a bit of lightness and romance to what is otherwise a very dark story.
In your time away from rehearsal, have you had opportunities to explore St. Louis?
I have enjoyed my time in St. Louis. On a previous trip, I actually had the chance to go up into the Gateway Arch which was very fun. I am really enjoying all of the restaurants and cute shops on Euclid and exploring Forest Park. I am looking forward to the week off in between shows to do some more exploring!

You can learn more about Lacy by visiting her website and following her on Twitter @LacySoprano.

A Streetcar Named Desire opens Friday, August 1st and continues its run Aug 2, 8 and 9 at Union Avenue Opera, 733 N. Union Blvd. Performances begin at 8:00pm. Production sung in English with projected English supertitles. Tickets may be purchased online at or by calling 314-361-2881.

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