May McFettridge to make her opera debut in ‘Die Fledermaus’ this September
May McFettridge is delighted to announce that, after many, many offers from opera companies all over the world, she will make her operatic debut appearance for Northern Ireland Opera at the Grand Opera House, Belfast.
Following 30 years of performing pantomime, May’s operatic debut is as the role of Frosch the Jailer in Die Fledermaus. Her similarities to Frosch are quite remarkable. Frosch, like May, would be fond of the bottle and usually ends up involved in mishaps and mayhem sprinkled with confusion and bewilderment. The result is pandemonium. Born, dragged up and still living in Belfast, May McFettridge is the greatest and most recognised character act in Northern Ireland and is loved by her public and peers alike.
Artistic Director Walter Sutcliffe commented, “The Bat, in German Die Fledermaus, is the world’s best and most popular operetta. If you love pure luxurious feel good music there is little more uplifting and indulgent than its incredible array of Viennese waltzes that sparkle even more than the champagne its characters are powered by. And, there’s so much more. It’s a brilliant comedy of male paranoia, bringing out the absurdity of man’s egomania and obsessions with sexual potency, conquests and status. In a masterclass of irony, it simultaneously seduces and ridicules us. It may be 145 years old, but its relevance today is probably even clearer than when it was written. Or perhaps it just shows us how little has changed. And if you can’t laugh at yourself then what can you laugh at?”
“Discovering new operatic talent is one of the great privileges of my role with Northern Ireland Opera. And, I think that in bringing May McFettridge to perform opera in the Opera House, Belfast will get a debut as noteworthy as Pavarotti’s here back in 1963. May already has a fantastic 30-year following for her work and we are proud that she has chosen us as the launch-pad for what we are certain will be a remarkable step into the opera world!”
May will be joined by Northern Irish baritone Ben McAteer (Eisenstein), who trained at the National Opera Studio in London and on the Guildhall School of Music & Drama opera course. He is a former winner of Les Azuriales Opera prize, the Guildhall School’s English song prize, NI Opera’s inaugural Festival of Voice. In 2018 he sang Marullo in Rigoletto for the company.
County Down soprano Maria McGrann (Adele) is a graduate of Queen’s University Belfast and the Royal Irish Academy of Music, Dublin. Her most recent operatic engagements include the roles of Countess Ceprano Rigoletto (NIO), Madame Herz Der Schauspieldirektor (INO), Cunegonde Candide (Opera in the Open), Musetta La Boheme, Zerlina Don Giovanni and Sandman & Dewfairy Hänsel and Gretel (OITO).
Dresden-born Stephan Loges, who will perform the role of Falke, has given recitals throughout the world, including regular appearances at Wigmore Hall, London as well as Carnegie Hall, New York, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Vienna Konzerthaus, Klavierfestival Ruhr, La Monnaie Brussels, Schleswig-Holstein Festival, Santiago de Compostela, BBC Radio 3 and the Musée d’Orsay, Paris.