Behind the Scenes with Alexandra Amerides,
Fairy Queen of Iolanthe
Alto extraordinaire, Alexandra Amerides will be starring as the passionate and powerful Fairy Queen in Gilbert & Sullivan Opera Victoria’s upcoming production of Iolanthe.
Tell me about your character in Iolanthe. What do you think of her?
The Queen of the Fairies wants to be a fire and brimstone ruler, though I believe her to have been quite the fairy femme fatale in the days before her reign. In many ways the role of the Queen was written for me, as I too find myself inconvenienced by a patriarchal parliament who go out of their way to create societal conflicts.
How is this show different from others you’ve appeared in?
This is my first operetta.
Do you have a favourite line of dialogue from this production? If so, share it with us!
“You have all incurred death!”
"Looking back on the experience now, I can see that even at such a young age, I innately knew I was not meant for the chorus."
Tell us about your first stage show and what you learned from the experience?
I was quite young, and I performed an excerpt from The Sound of Music with Stage School of Australia's
‘Young Australian Broadway Chorus’, I recall that every girl in class wanted to be Gretel because Gretel got to say a line, and that more importantly I was not Gretel.
As the performance came around and I stood on the National Theatre stage, several things occurred to me: the first was that I would do anything to be back on that stage and that whatever happened in-between meant nothing at all to me; the second was that I was apparently quite an intense young lady; the third was that the girl who was chosen to play Gretel had stage fright, which led to the fourth being that I had found myself exactly in Gretel's place in time to say her line.
Looking back on the experience now, I can see that even at such a young age, I innately knew I was not meant for the chorus.
Do you have a favourite play or musical, and if so, why do you love it?
Lin-Manuel Miranda is my favourite composer of this century and his 2016 musical Hamilton has “consumed my waking days”.
What role would you love to play that you haven’t had a chance to as yet?
Grizelda from “Grizelda”, by Vivaldi.
What does your perfect Sunday afternoon look like?
Coffee and company.
What’s the biggest challenge about taking on this role?
This year I'm completing my Honours year in Opera Performance at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, so I find myself needing to use my voice for both work, and study.
Also, as one of the youngest members of a cast, playing the oldest and most formidable character onstage is something I have to constantly be working toward.
When you have a five-minute break during rehearsal, what do you spend that time doing?
What do you do when you’re not doing theatre?
I've yet to not do theatre.
What’s the last thing you do before you step out on stage / the curtain goes up?
Swallow the chewing gum I have inevitably forgotten to throw away.
Interview by Judith Clark
Iolanthe premieres at the Darebin Arts & Entertainment Centre for a strictly limited season: May 5th - 7th
Bookings & Enquiries: (03) 8470 8280
Beloved and beautiful, immortal Iolanthe has broken one of her fairy kingdom's biggest rules – she fell in love with a human and was banished for marrying a mortal.
Now twenty-five years later, these two worlds will collide as her son, Strephon (half fairy from the waist up, and mortal from the waist down), has rapturous plans to wed pretty Phyllis, a sweet voiced shepherdess and ward of the Lord Chancellor. Unfortunately, Strephon has a lot of competition from just about every peer in the House of Lords, including the Lord Chancellor himself!
With class complications, mistaken identities, and not a little bit of supernatural shenanigans, will true love be enough to win out when party political lines are drawn?
GSOV is the performing arm of The Gilbert and Sullivan Society of Victoria which has been delighting audiences with its productions for over 80 years. One of the longest running theatrical organisations in Australia, it has been hailed as one of our country’s leading light opera companies. GSOV performs not only in Melbourne and regional Victoria, but has also won awards on the international stage at the premier Gilbert & Sullivan Festival in the United Kingdom.