All the cast members, including, Alexander “The Nose” Lewis, wear loosely fitted, prosthetic noses in Barrie Kosky’s production of Shostakovich’s first opera, written when he was just 20 years old.
Lewis claims the prostheses “don’t impact our singing at all. In this particularly surreal and fantastical version I sing all the stuff that was written for The Nose but I speak for him rather than as him.”
How was it to play with such a large cast, many of whom, including Lewis, have multiple roles?
“Joyful madness,” Lewis says. “You really don’t get to perform in shows with enormous casts like this very often. There is so much going on on stage, and in the orchestra pit. It’s a lot of high energy fun!”
Shostakovich is a difficult composer, so does Lewis like the score of The Nose?
“The more I have done this piece the more I enjoy it. It’s complicated to learn and can be difficult to appreciate at first, but it truly is a wonderfully exciting work to perform and watch.”
Unlike most singers, Lewis has switched fach from his earlier days to become a tenor.
“Once upon a time I was a baritone. Many voices take a while to settle and fully grow, and I was no exception. Until I was 26 I trained and worked as a baritone. It suited the musical theatre work that I was doing but the older I got and the more work I did on my singing the more my voice changed and grew. When it became apparent that I was going to be a tenor I focused a little more exclusively on my operatic work, even though I still love getting back to the world of musicals.”
Go see The Nose for a rare opportunity to hear a Shostakovich work performed at the Sydney Opera House!
Until Mar 3. Sydney Opera House, Bennelong Point, Sydney. $46-$348+b.f. Tickets & Info: www.sydneyoperahouse.com
By Irina Dunn.