Leah Crocetto – On ‘Aïda’, Now at San Francisco Opera

I met with Leah Crocetto after the final dress rehearsal of Aïda – now at San Francisco Opera through December 6. This marks her debut in the title role – an occasion that the opera world anticipated, perhaps not this soon. Directed by Francesca Zambello and produced in conjunction with Minnesota Opera, Seattle Opera, and Washington National Opera – this is not your three or four-times-great ancestors’ Aïda. It is a welcome sign of the times. Mammoth period spectacle is replaced by a simpler, refined aesthetic and punctuated with engaging imagery by graffiti artist, Retna.

“I’ve seen Aïda tons of times,” said Leah. “There is no elephant here, no crowd of thousands. The grandeur is there in subtle ways. You get a little bit of gold, but not what you’d expect. It’s not placed in the future or the distant past. It is an intimate story. The artwork of Retna fits beautifully. If I had to give it a date, part of me wants to go with early ‘60s. I have all the hair, my costume is in jewel tones of purple and green. Francesca describes the production as very atmospheric. Dance plays a heavy role. There is an incredible corps of dancers – eight men and one woman. The triumphal scene is essentially like being in a parking lot, where you can see all the storylines going on. The interaction between the principals, the glancing between Amneris and Ramfis – Ramfis and Radamès – me and Radamès and Amonasro is very personal, more like a play within a play. It’s fascinating. Francesca was able to pull out so many layers from us. It’s really important to me as a singer to be in a show I believe.”

Read the entire interview via The Huffington Post

Image: Cory Weaver