Joseph Kaiser: The tenor who tamed Tamino
Friday 21 January 2011
There are many reasons to look forward to David McVicar's lovely take on The Magic Flute, now being revived at Covent Garden. Statuesque Kate Royal sings Pamina, ebullient Christopher Maltman sings Papageno, and that irresistible soubrette Anna Devin incarnates Papagena, but the most interesting casting is Joseph Kaiser as Tamino, the sweet boy who falls in love with a face in a painting and undergoes Herculean trials to get his girl. Tamino is often presented as a pale, two-dimensional character, but this Canadian tenor – a larger-than-life figure with a gale-force personality– will have none of it.
"His emotional journey is just harder than those of the others to track. For him it's a coming of age, without anybody else's help. I wouldn't say I'm a lot like him, but I can relate to his excitement at feeling love for the first time – and feeling scared and disoriented by it."
He's sung this role all over the world, but the man who helped him pinpoint its essence was not an opera director at all: it was Kenneth Branagh, with his acclaimed film adaptation.
"That was the most fun, and the hardest professional experience of my life," says Kaiser. "I have a lot of energy, and it was a huge challenge to distil and refine it down for the camera, so it became just a small movement, or a whisper – with Ken saying, if it's real, we'll keep it, but if it's not, we'll do it again. And we repeatedly did it again. Everyone cared so much as a result – nobody wanted to do a half-arsed job."
With a benchmark like this, the supremely self-confident McVicar will be finding he has a lot to live up to.
'The Magic Flute' at ROH, London WC2 (www.roh.org.uk) from 1 February
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Al Pacino on suffering from depression: 'It can last and it's terrifying'
- 2 Half of young women unable to ‘locate vagina’ and 65% find it difficult to say the word
- 3 Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb
- 4 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 5 Mexican woman becomes world’s 'oldest person' at 127
Jessica Chastain demands Scarlett Johansson-fronted Marvel superhero movie
Downton Abbey series 5 start date revealed: ITV drama to return in late September
Nicki Minaj suffers wardrobe malfunction during MTV VMAs performance with Ariana Grande and Jessie J
New Netflix releases: Films and TV shows coming in September 2014
Best movies on Netflix UK and US: 32 films that will end your endless scrolling
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Ashya King: Parents of five-year-old boy refused permission to visit him in hospital and denied bail at Spanish court
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
When elitism grips the top of British society to this extent, there is only one answer: abolish private schools
Ukip Douglas Carswell defection: Tory MP jumps ship to join Nigel Farage