Motorcycling opera singer lands the function of Suzuki

Agnes Sarkis performs Suzuki.

FOR  Iranian-born singer Agnes Sarkis, enjoying the good mezzo-soprano function of Suzuki within the coming Handa Opera on the Harbour manufacturing of “Madama Butterfly” is the achievement of a lifetime.

For the motorbike-riding opera singer was alleged to be a civil engineer and her transition from Tehran to the principle phases of Australia has been fairly a journey.

Sarkis is not any stranger to Canberra audiences. She was one of many three mezzo sopranos sharing the function of Carmen in Opera Australia’s travelling manufacturing of Bizet’s opera seen right here in 2021.

Elsewhere, she’s performed the third woman in Mozart “The Magic Flute”, Cherubino in “The Marriage of Figaro”, and her current function, Suzuki, within the final outing of the Moffat Oxenbould manufacturing of the Puccini opera on the Capitol Theatre in 2017.

Suzuki is a strong function, not in contrast to that of Musetta in Puccini’s “La Bohème”, the one who gives understanding to the ultimate struggles of the heroine. By the top of the opera, she is Butterfly’s solely pal and ally.

It’s a powerful half for Sarkis, however she wasn’t at all times alleged to be an opera singer.

Born of Armenian heritage within the Caspian Sea area of northern Iran, she received a spot in a prestigious engineering faculty at a Tehran college and ended up, on commencement, working for a development firm for a number of years.

However she simply didn’t really feel it was her, so all of the whereas took courses, performed piano and sang in a choir, not straightforward in Iran the place public singing by ladies is restricted.

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“Music was my pastime again then, nevertheless it didn’t really feel like I had anyplace to go, I used to be getting nowhere, till somebody prompt that I ship my particulars to the Sydney Conservatorium.”

She recorded a DVD of three arias , together with Carmen’s “Habanera”,  instantly received a spot and a scholarship, flew to Sydney, enrolled in an English course and began her diploma at The Con.

“My instructor instructed me I ought to do an audition for Opera Australia, so that they bought me on the audition record and I by no means gave up attempting.”

Sarkis missed out first time spherical, nevertheless it gave her an opportunity to do a postgraduate yr at The Con, then after auditioning a second time, she bought a letter providing her the function of the third woman in “The Magic Flute” for a nationwide tour which got here right here in 2014. She additionally bought an opportunity to sing within the refrain within the first “Carmen” on Sydney Harbour in 2013 after which once more within the refrain of “Madama Butterfly” in 2014, the identical manufacturing we’ll be seeing by Barcelona director, Àlex Ollé.

“I cherished it,” Agnes stories.

After that, she did the third woman once more, bought the well-known “pants” function of Cherubino after which the mainstage a part of Suzuki within the Capitol Theatre manufacturing.

Suzuki, she says, is a vital character, the one that holds the whole lot collectively. She’s the one who tells Cio Cio San, Butterfly, that her husband the American Pinkerton received’t be coming again and that he doesn’t even know he has a son.

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“She’s like a sister to Butterfly and a maid solely when different persons are round,” Sarkis says. “She’s the one one who tells the reality, who says, ‘we don’t have any cash, he isn’t coming’.”

To her as a singer,  the excessive level is unquestionably “The Flower Duet” with Butterfly in Act II,  then the trio with the American Consul, Sharpless and Pinkerton in Act III earlier than the scene the place Suzuki drags the kid  off stage and Cio Cio San kills herself.

“Madama Butterfly”, Opera Australia, Mrs Macquarie’s Steps, Sydney, March 24 to April 23. 


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Ian Meikle, editor