Whats a diva to do?
- Stephen Blair
- Portland Tribune - Features
Mozart's 'Cos“ Fan Tutte,' which translates as 'Women Are Like That,' opens Saturday night at the Keller Auditorium.
Composed in 1790, just one year before Mozart's death, 'Cos“ Fan Tutte' serves up enough deception and lusty behavior to put Joan Collins to shame. The twisty plot follows two Italian gentlemen who test the fidelity of their future brides by donning disguises and romancing their fiancees. All hell breaks loose when, at the urging of their mischievous maidservant, the women allow themselves to be wooed by the impostors.
Amy Hansen plays Despina, the maidservant in question. A former Portland resident, Hansen recently moved to New York City to be closer to the opera circuit.
Though she still performs on the West Coast, she says, 'I felt I had exhausted my possibilities in Portland. You're not taken seriously as an opera singer if you're not living in New York.'
Hansen, who went to high school in Corvallis, trained as a vocalist at the Oberlin College Conservatory in Ohio. She moved on to an opera program at Indiana University before returning to Oregon to be a resident artist with Portland Opera.
For all of her classical training, Hansen says that her natural inclination is to act like a clown, not a diva. 'I'm energetic and willing to try crazy things,' she says. 'When I'd sing for people, they'd tell me that they liked my voice but that I needed to be more of a diva.'
Taking this advice to heart, Hansen has refined her stage presence during the past few years. Ironically, she has to throw elegance out the window for the role of Despina.
'I've been doing more womanly roles,' she explains. 'But I need to get rid of this training for the role of Despina. She's crafty and fast. She can't have manners.'