In Part 2 of a series of interviews with the cast of Victorian Lyric Opera’s Ruddigore, meet Carla Rountree.
Please introduce yourself and tell our readers where they may have seen you in the past year?
Hi there – I’m Carla Rountree, and you’ve probably seen me cross-dressing in previous VLOC shows (I do a lot of trouser roles). I’ve recently sung the role of Madlon in Riverbend Opera‘s production of Andrea Chenier and Bunthorne in the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop‘s production of Patience. I also sing frequently with the DC chapter of Opera on Tap.
Why did you want to be part of Ruddigore at VLOC?
I’ve been singing off-and-on with VLOC since 2007. VLOC is one big happy (and talented) musical family, and I was immediately drawn in by their welcoming nature and high quality work. Now they’re stuck with me! As for Ruddigore specifically, performing G&S in general is a hoot, but I’ve never had the chance to be in this particular show.
Why is Ruddigore so relevant today and what does it have to say to audiences of all ages? And why do you think it’s still so popular among Gilbert and Sullivan fans?
None of the characters are cookie-cutter good or bad people. They’re relatable because none of them are presented as perfectly evil or perfectly, well, perfect.
Who do you play in the show?
Have you appeared in other productions of Ruddigore, and if yes, who did you play, and how is this production different and unique?
This will be my first time ever in a production of Ruddigore! I’m having a great time already.
Tell me about the arias you sing and what we learn about your character in these arias/songs?
Mad Margaret has one big aria and scene in Act I where the audience learns that she’s completely crazy, but her mental state is a result of suffering from severe grief. She can’t have the man that she’s in love with, and she doesn’t handle it well. It’s silly but incredibly intense at the same time.
What is your favorite aria that you don’t sing is your favorite and why?
I love “When the night wind howls,” sung by Sir Roderick and the Ghosts. It’s a gorgeous piece that invokes spookiness (because, you know, ghosts). But not too much, because this is Gilbert & Sullivan – not a haunted house.
Which character in the show is most like you, and why?
Ha! Honestly, Mad Margaret. I’ve been told plenty of times that I’m crazy for one reason or another! And most people, myself included, have had to deal with some form of loss or grief in our lives. I feel her pain. I would venture to guess that a lot of people relate to her for the very same reason.
What do you admire most about your fellow castmates’ performances?
We had a full sing-through at the beginning of the rehearsal process, and everyone was just having a ball with it. It’s pretty inspiring to be among people that love what they’re doing and are working their hardest to make it something special.
In 10 words or less – how do you describe Ruddigore?
Hilarious. Ridiculous. Engaging. Beautiful. Awesomesauce.
What was the best advice or suggestions that Director gave you about playing your character and how has Musical Director Joseph Sorge helped you vocally?
I love that Helen has a definite overall vision for each character and how they’ve become the person that they are, but she still leaves room for individual interpretations. In terms of Mad Margaret, the question that she leaves up to interpretation is whether Mad Margaret was driven crazy by losing Despard, or whether she was already crazy to begin with. Joe is an excellent conductor, and he knows Ruddigore‘s music inside and out. He knows exactly how he wants to interpret the music, and he communicates that really well in rehearsals from the very beginning, which is very helpful to all of the singers.
What are you doing next on the stage after Ruddigore?
I’ll be in the chorus of Maryland Lyric Opera‘s production of Gounod’s Romeo et Juliette.
Why should audience goers bring their families to see Ruddigore?
Ghosts! When do you get to see ghosts outside of Halloween? Ruddigore – that’s where.
Ruddigore plays from June 11-21, 2015 at The Victorian Lyric Opera Company performing at F. Scott Fitzgerald Theatre at The Rockville Civic Center – 603 Edmonston Drive, in Rockville, MD. For tickets, call Call the box office at (240) 314-8690, or purchase them at the box office 2 hours before each performance. Box office hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 2 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Meet the Cast of Victorian Lyric Opera Company’s ‘Ruddigore’: Part 1: Mary Mitchell.