February 12, 2017
Operatraveller: Born in Iowa, Eric Cutler is recognized as one of the most exciting tenors in the heroic French and German repertoires before the public today. Having studied at Luther College and then on the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artists’ Development Program, he has since appeared on many of the world’s leading lyric stages including the Metropolitan Opera, the Bayerische Staatsoper, La Fenice, the Salzburger Festspiele, the Paris Opéra, València’s Palau de les Arts, Opera Vlaanderen and the Canadian Opera Company. Recent, current and forthcoming assignments include Hoffmann in Dresden, Roméo in Chicago, and Florestan in Stuttgart. I caught up with Mr Cutler from his home in Germany as he prepared for his upcoming appearances as Apollo in the Hamburg Staatsoper’s Daphne.
Mr Cutler you very recently appeared in Dresden as Hoffmann. It’s a massive sing because you are pretty much on stage from the start until the end. Tell us how you found working on the role, because it wasn’t your first Hoffmann was it?
No, my first production was the Marthaler in Madrid in 2014 and then I did some revival performances in Stuttgart last season. It’s colossal, it’s a marathon, but I think I’ve been lucky in that I’ve done quite a few lengthy French roles lately such as Moīse et Pharaon by Rossini, Les Huguenots by Meyerbeer, La Damnation de Faust by Berlioz and Roméo et Juliette – Roméo is not to be underestimated in terms of length. I think that with Hoffmann one must never forget that the last twenty or thirty minutes of singing are brutally difficult. In working a role like Hoffmann, for me, the rehearsal time is essential – especially the first time you sing it. I’m somebody who really believes in using the rehearsal time to pace the role and to figure it out. If you’re lucky enough, you’ll get a director who allows you to run acts or to run scenes multiple times and that’s a huge gift for singers. With Marthaler I was lucky enough to have almost a two-month rehearsal period where we were able to spend time on entire acts.
I’ve always viewed singing as a bit like athletics. I enjoyed playing sports in my youth and training was an absolute part of what we did. During the off season, you would still be working out. I took a week off after this recent Hoffmann due to a cold but today I was back at it. I’m always taking time to work on my technique.
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