Feature

Mariam Battistelli Q&A

Soprano Mariam Battistelli talks to us about playing Adina in L'elisir d'amore this autumn

L’elisir d’amore has now ended for Festival 2023, if you missed it this summer, you can catch it when it returns to the Glyndebourne stage this November as part of autumn 2023.

Our autumn season showcases the best of upcoming artists, and we spoke with Mariam Battistelli, who will be playing Adina in L’elisir d’amore, to find out more about the role. You may recognise Mariam, she’s previously appeared in Don Pasquale and La bohème.

Could you give us a short introduction to yourself and your career so far?

I am an Italian soprano born in Ethiopia. I graduated at the Conservatory Lucio Campiani in Mantua, I continued my studies at the Centre de Perfeccionament Plácido Domingo in Valencia with Davide Livermore. After winning the International Singing Competition Ottavio Ziino in 2017, I got an invitation by Dominique Meyer to be part of the Ensemble at the Vienna State Opera.

Since then I have had the opportunity to perform in a lot of prestigious opera houses like Teatro alla Scala, Wiener Staatsoper, Opéra de Monte-Carlo, Royal Opera House of Muscat and Glyndebourne.

Who is Adina, what makes her different from other opera heroines?

Adina is a rich, beautiful, self-confident, unpredictable but gentle woman who tries to hide her love for Nemorino. Unlike some other heroines she is a landowner so I think we might consider her as a business woman of her time.

Have you sung this role before? How are you preparing for the role?

No, it will be another Glyndebourne debut! At the moment I am filming a movie in Italy. Since there are some waiting times between the shooting of the scenes, I’ve had time to focus on memorising the role. Meanwhile, during my days off I am studying with a pianist.

© Paul Harris

What makes Glyndebourne different to other opera houses?

It is like being at home with your family! Glyndebourne has given me a lot of opportunities, and because you always had plenty of time to rehearse I have never felt any kind of stress, even when making my debut in a new role.

Furthermore the experience of having a 90 minutes interval when you can sit on the grass for a picnic is very unique!

Mariam as Musetta in La bohème (Tour 2022). Photo: Bill Cooper

Mariam as Norina in Don Pasquale (Tour 2021). Photo: Robbie Jack.

Are there any other artists who have inspired you in your career?

I have always been a great fan of Shirley Verrett, Jessye Norman, Reri Grist, Kathleen Battle, Mirella Freni and Ileana Cotrubaș. They inspired me and helped me understanding how to sing lightly and powerfully.

Do you have a dream opera role? What is it?

Yes, AIDA! It would be wonderful to be (maybe) the first Ethiopian singing this magnificent role.

What’s next for you after your Glyndebourne performances? Where can audiences see you next?

My forthcoming projects are La bohème at the Tokyo Bunka Kaikan’s Spring Festival and at Teatro La Fenice in Venice, Dido and Aeneas (Belinda) at Teatro Comunale di Bologna, Mosè in Egitto (Amaltea) in Modena and in Piacenza and next year at the cinema in the movie The Opera!


L’elisir d’amore is on stage 11 November – 1 December 2023

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