This is part three in a series of interviews with the cast and creative team behind Landless’ upcoming prog-metal rock opera Richard Campbell’s Frankenstein. Today, meet Irene Jericho.
Irene Jericho plays “Elizabeth,” Victor Frankenstein’s ill-fated bride. Jehricho is the frontwoman of Maryland-based Operatic Metal band Cassandra Syndrome. She is a classically trained spinto soprano of the bel canto tradition. Along with Cassandra Syndrome, Jericho’s vocals can be heard in the music of Imbolc Fire and Revel Moon.
We asked Irene a few questions about her performance:
Ally: Why did you want to be involved in this production?
Irene: As a classically trained vocalist living in a metal world, it’s always exciting to see an opportunity to weave those two divergent influences into one tapestry. I must admit—when I saw the email offering me the role, I shrieked and started bouncing up and down. I love classic horror stories, I love heavy music, I love opera and Frankenstein promises all three. It has also been many years since I’ve performed in a staged production of anything (the last time was when I scored the music for a production of Twelfth Night some four years ago), and it’s nice to revisit theater from time to time. My main artistic focus is my band, Cassandra Syndrome, but I just couldn’t pass Frankenstein up!
Introduce us to your character.
I play Elizabeth, Victor Frankenstein’s childhood love. She’s lived with the Frankenstein family her whole life, and loves Victor with all her heart. Elizabeth is heartbreakingly innocent and devoted. Despite long gaps without any communication from Victor, being repeatedly abandoned and kept in the dark about the issues he’s facing, Elizabeth’s love never waivers. She’s the one true voice of compassion in the production—unconditional love is her theme.
How do you relate to your Elizabeth?
When I was younger, I was in a folk music band. My lyrics at the time were very oriented toward coming together, peaceful resolution of differences, the global village, spirituality…beautiful ideas, but definitely somewhat naïve. Listening to those old tracks always makes me smile because it reminds me of the unblemished hopefulness and sense of destiny I had when I was in my late teens and early 20’s. For Elizabeth, I try to bring back that mindset and banish my cynicism and practicality. We all carry the voice of our younger incarnations within us. Finding Elizabeth is just a matter of peeling back a few layers.
What experience do you have with prog-rock or metal music?
I am a founding member and the lead singer of Cassandra Syndrome, an operatic metal band based in Maryland. We’ve been performing together for almost seven years, so my experience in metal is quite lengthy. We’re currently recording our third full-length album, slated for release in late summer.
What are your thoughts on Mary Shelley’s novel?
I think it’s a wonderful example of classic horror as well as time period, and it’s incredible to think how much of an impact her story had on our culture. Pretty impressive considering it was the early 1800s.
Richard Campbell is an exciting new young composer from the UK. How would you describe his composition?
Excellent—it’s an expansive piece, shifting from hard rock to prog to metal and back again seamlessly, all while delivering a dramatic, melodic storyline that never fails to fascinate.
What has been the most fun working with your fellow actors in this production?
Everyone’s been just lovely, and very patient with me since my theater-speak is quite rough indeed.
What impresses you most about their performances?
In many shows, it seems that at some point there was a choice between acting and vocal talent. That hasn’t happened with Frankenstein. Everyone has great chops, both vocally and dramatically. It’s wonderful to be a part of such a talented group.
What’s next for you on the stage?
Cassandra Syndrome returns to a normal show schedule in July, and we’ll be releasing our next full-length album in late summer sometime. We’ll do a lot of shows in support of the album, so my next big focus will be on my band. Keep an eye on for performance dates.
Landless Theatre Company’s production of Richard Campbell’s Frankenstein plays June 8-30, 2013 at GALA Hispanic Theatre – 3333 14th Street, NW, in Washington, DC. Purchase tickets online. For more information, visit Landless Theatre Company’s website.
Part One: “Richard Campbell’s Frankenstein: Making a Monster Rock Opera”: Meet Robert Bradley
Part Two: “Richard Campbell’s Frankenstein: Landless Making a Monster Rock Opera:” Meet Andrew Baughman