Soprano Mary Bevan grew up in Somerset and Berkshire. Mary trained at the Royal Academy of Music, and read Anglo-Saxon Norse and Celtic at Trinity College, Cambridge. She is a familiar face to the Coliseum stage, having been an ENO Harewood Artist since 2011/12.
At ENO Mary has performed as Papagena in The Magic Flute, Second Niece in Peter Grimes, Despina in Così fan tutte and Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro.
This autumn we are delighted to welcome Mary back as Zerlina in Richard Jones’ new production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni. This will be her final role as an ENO Harewood Artist before she graduates from the programme.
We are very excited for the opening night of Don Giovanni on Friday 30 September. What has the rehearsal process been like for you?
This has been a unique rehearsal process for me in many ways. To begin with we had no musical run of the opera – instead, Mark Wigglesworth prefers to work on the music in conjunction with the drama, something I very much agree with. The other word that springs to mind is ‘detail’ – I don’t think I’ve ever done a show which has taken so much concentration in the rehearsal room! I love it – there’s been so much focus on acting and telling the story that the singing part feels like it takes care of itself while you’re doing other things.
And how has it been working with Richard Jones and your fellow cast members?
I find Richard Jones endlessly fascinating to watch – he has an incredibly expressive way of speaking and putting his point across, plus a great array of catchphrases… He’s also very funny so there’s been lots of laughter in the past few weeks; in fact, everyone has been on great form during the rehearsal process and there’s been a brilliant feeling of energy in the room. Everyone is perfectly suited to their roles so it feels like a strong cast, and we all have great respect for one another. I will miss this show once it’s over!
What have been your highlights at ENO during your time as an ENO Harewood Artist?
I know I’ve said this before but doing a line-dance dressed as a cowgirl at the end of Così fan Tutte was pretty much the highlight of my whole career so far, let alone at ENO. There are others though – singing in the gala concert for George Harewood in 2014 with a plethora of stars from the opera world, all of whom have worked at ENO in the past, was a reminder of the collective history of this place. Being a part of that history makes me very proud, and despite its grandness and age, you always feel like coming back to ENO is like coming back to a family. I’ve never been made to feel more welcome in an opera house as I have at ENO, and it’s the people and its supporters who keep this feeling alive. For that reason I would like to thank everyone who supports the Harewood Artist programme, something which has helped me in my career immeasurably. Without this support, I would never have felt as ready as I do to go out into the big wide world!
What are you going on to do next?
This year ends with a tour of Asia with the English Concert doing a programme called ‘Shakespeare in Love’, with Tim Mead and Harry Bickett. Then in spring 2017 I will be singing Merab in Barry Koskie’s production of Handel’s Saul at the Adelaide Festival. 2017 also sees the release of my debut disc of French songs with Joe Middleton on the Signum label. In 2018 I will be making my house debuts at Madrid Teatro Real and Lille opera houses plus I will be singing the title role in an exciting new opera which is being written as we speak.