3 Questions with Sarah Richmond

We asked star of upcoming opera The Barber of Seville three questions. Here's what she said.

Who are you, and what is your role in The Barber of Seville?

My name is Sarah Richmond, a mezzo soprano from Carrickfergus, and I am playing the role of Rosina. Rosina is a young woman forced to be with an older controlling man, Bartolo. We follow her story as, with the help of her friend Figaro, she tries to free herself from captivity and be with the man she loves.

How do you prepare to sing an opera?

Each artist has their own way to prepare, but I start with the text. I write in a word-for-word translation, a literal translation, the phonetics of how to pronounce each word, then speak the text in rhythm and out of rhythm. I go through the music, then put it together. Then I bring it to my singing teacher Abbie Furmansky. Once I can sing the role I analyse the character. As an English National Opera 'Opera Works' artist, they encouraged us to go through the libretto to discover what is said about our character and what our character says about others, so we can get an idea of relationships and lots of other things. Once I've done that I take it to a coach.

The Barber of Seville is one of the most performed operas in the world, why do you think it has been so popular?

It's filled with catchy tunes, it's funny, and ultimately it's a feel-good story of good overcoming evil. The music is extremely demanding, and I think audiences appreciate when performers take on difficult music and make it fun.

The Barber of Seville is at the MAC for one night only on 15 February 2023. Tickets are available here.