José Carbó on his dual roles in Cavalleria Rusticana & Pagliacci and favourite spot in Melbourne for post-show celebrations

After another successful season in Sydney, the Melbourne Opera Australia  season will be kicking off from the 4th May at the Art Centre Melbourne.

One of the productions on offer is Cavalleria Rusticana / Pagliacci, a double opera of interweaving tragedy and drama. We caught up with José Carbó ahead of the new season to discuss his dual roles in the production and favourite Melbourne spot to hang out with the cast post-show.

Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci are quite unique in that they are a pair of entirely different operas yet are frequently performed as a double bill. Why do you think they work so well together?

They’re very similar in theme when you think about it, all that really changes is the situation! They are both about betrayal, like a lot of operas are, and the consequences of betrayal in that time period of Italy.

You’ll be performing a role in each opera. How do you prepare for switching roles essentially mid-production?

Preparing for the switching of roles mid-production is sorted out during the rehearsal period. You know what is required from the characters you play and you adapt and give the delivery of the lines according to what the director would like to express as his view of the production. Also, you have feelings and input you bring to the production yourself.

These operas are described as “tragedies with stories that cut all too close to home” and “everyday tragedy writ large on stage”. What do you think makes these operas relatable to their audience?

Both of these opera are tragedies and the reason I think they’re so relatable to audiences is because of that! I don’t want to give anything away for the people who haven’t seen the production yet, but I think that the stories are so believable and audiences can understand the feelings that the characters (singers) are going through and can relate on a personal level.

Do you have a favourite part of the production that we can all look out for?

Yes, well, I have a favourite aspect of the production. It’s the first time I have seen Cavalleria Rusticana / Pagliacci dovetail into each other. It is the stroke of genius by Director Damiano Michieletto. It shows aspects of Cavalleria Rusticana happening in Pagliacci and vice versa. It is totally believable!

And finally, you’ll be spending a bit of time down in Melbourne. Do you have a favourite place you like to a drink or bite to eat after a show?

My colleagues and I always like to go to The Barre (formerly known as Curve Bar) at Arts Centre Melbourne after a performance. It’s in the same building and means we don’t have to walk very far! If that closes for the night and we’re keen to carry on we will head to The Melbourne Supper Club, which is always a favourite of the artists!

See José Carbó in Cavalleria Rusticana / Pagliacci at Arts Centre Melbourne from 10th to 20th May. For more information and to book visit