Monday, October 7, 2013

ARTISTS PROFILE: Mezzo-soprano Blythe Gaissert

Blythe Gaissert returns to Sarasota Opera, 
this time wearing pants…

Mezzo-soprano Blythe Gaissert
The last time mezzo-soprano Blythe Gaissert performed at Sarasota Opera was in 2008 in the production of Rigoletto that opened the newly renovated and named William E. Schmidt Opera Theater. That season Blythe was a member of the Studio Artists Program and performed the role of the sexy Maddalena, a character who most definitely wears a skirt. For the Fall 2013 season, Blythe returns as a Principal Artist to perform Prince Orlovsky in Die Fledermaus, a role that is part of the operatic tradition of female singers portraying young men and therefore wearing pants. These “pants roles” include Cherubino in The Marriage of Figaro, Hansel in Hansel and Gretel, and Octavian in der Rosenkavalier.
In thinking about her next assignment at Sarasota Opera, Blythe says, “This is my first time doing Orlovsky. I am really enjoying the challenge of doing a pants role again (it has been several years since I have gotten to be a "dude" or do comedy!) I have also found a lot of satisfaction in researching and learning about the traditions of Strauss' music, and look forward to benefitting from the knowledge of some of the other performers who have done the opera before. It's also kind of a return to my roots in another way. I originally studied to be a theater and musical theater performer, and so many of those elements are in Die Fledermaus since operetta was a sort of predecessor to the American musical that we know and love today!”
She continues, “I am so excited to be coming back as a Principle Artist this season! I feel like I got so much of my artistic education with the excellent Apprentice and Studio Artists Programs at Sarasota Opera and from its artists and community, and now I have a chance to come back and put all that I learned to use.  My husband is originally from Sarasota, so it is also great to be able to come back and perform in front of family and friends on the big stage! I am also hoping that my almost two year old son will be able to come and see me perform, although I'm not sure he will recognize me once the make-up and costume designers do their magic.”

Blythe Gaissert as Maddalena (left) in the 2008 Sarasota Opera production of Verdi's Rigoletto.
Photo by Richard Termine.
Blythe has been engaged by the Metropolitan Opera, LA Opera, Cincinnati Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, and New Mexico’s Opera Southwest as well as the Tangelwood Music Festival, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the Lyrique en Mer Festival in France. This September she appears in concert with the Sarasota Orchestra, singing works by Aaron Copland, Ravel, and DeFalla. For Sarasota Opera’s November 12 Operetta Concert, Blythe performs Noel Coward’s “Il Love Were All” from Bitter Sweet and a selection from Offenbach’s La Périchole.

-Greg Trupiano, Artistic Administrator

Don't miss Ms. Gaissert's performances as Prince Orlovsky in Die Fledermaus opening November 1st and running for six performances through November 15th.  Tickets are available at or by calling (941) 328-1300.

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