Interview with American soprano Sofia Troncoso

Ahead of her debut performance at Longborough Festival Opera, SoGlos finds out about the 'ruthless intrigue' of Monteverdi’s compelling opera L'incoronazione di Poppea.

By Zoe Gater  |  Published

An American soprano of South American heritage, Sofia Troncoso is set to make her Longborough Festival Opera debut this summer, taking on the title role in L’incoronazione di Poppea.

Running from Saturday 28 July to Thursday 2 August 2018, Sofia offers an insight into Monteverdi’s remarkable opera, revealing what audiences can expect and just why Longborough Festival Opera is so unique.

Can you tell us a little bit about your career in opera?

In a nutshell, since graduating from The Royal Academy of Music in 2015 I cut my teeth on a handful on roles with small companies in the UK and was then selected to be a Young Artist at the National Opera Studio in 2016, where I had the opportunity to perform with WNO, Scottish Opera, Opera North and in contemporary scenes with David Pountney.

Since then I have been lucky enough to continue performing with local companies and I am so happy to finally add Longborough to that list. After L’incoronazione di Poppea I will be an emerging artist with Scottish Opera where I will be performing Papagena in The Magic Flute.

How are you feeling ahead of your debut at Longborough?

I am extremely excited to work with Longborough Festival Opera as they’ve been on my radar since I moved to the UK four years ago. This will be my first time performing the role of Poppea and although a debut of a new role can be a bit daunting, I feel confident in the capable hands of Jeremy Silver (whom I’ve had the pleasure of working with before), Jenny Miller and the rest of the team.

What attracted you to L’incoronazione di Poppea?

I was actually introduced to L’incoronazione di Poppea in my undergrad at Northwestern University where I covered Poppea and sang Fortuna; I was taken by the piece even then. It was my first experience with Monteverdi’s operas and where I thought I would find dated story-telling and lack-lustre music, I found the very opposite!

The story of Poppea and Nerone’s ruthless intrigue is the stuff of films and television shows even now, and as for the music, well, it is very sexy! Monteverdi creates moments of unbridled sensuality and other moments of outright comedy which is what people go to the opera to experience.

How would you describe the character of Poppea and what do you enjoy most about the role?

Although from the moral implications of her actions are damning, Poppea is an empowered and powerful woman, making her a dream-role for any modern woman.

Do you have a favourite aria in the opera?

So far, the scene I am most excited about is the first scene between Poppea and Nerone. It is the first time you meet these two infamous historical figures and it is in a bedroom, establishing straight away the nature of their relationship and the driving force of the plot.

What can audiences expect from L’incoronazione di Poppea?

The story of Poppea and Nerone is very sex, drugs and rock and roll! Although it is initially easy to assume that these two are bonded simply by lust, audiences will find that there is more to their magnetism than that.

Their union is one of matched passion, ambition and ruthlessness; they both have no scruples in making their union permanent, no matter what or who gets in their way, and that is what binds them together.

And finally, what do you think makes Longborough Festival Opera unique?

Longborough is a small family business that puts on multiple opera productions a year and if that isn’t incredible enough in itself, they put on the entirety of Wagner’s Ring cycle in 2013! Talk about epic.

Furthermore, Longborough provides a platform for young artists to perform in a fully-staged professional production, an experience that is essential for any aspiring professional.

Thanks to the support of companies like Longborough, and the support of their patrons, young artists like myself have the opportunity to develop.

For more information see L'incoronazione di Poppea at Longborough Festival Opera, call (01451) 830292, or visit directly.

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