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Thursday, June 1, 2023


Q&A: Moscow lead transforms in Russian play

Van Marren

Van Marren

Moores School of Music recently showcased Dimitri Shostakovich’s satirical musical “Moscow, Cheryomuskhi” on Friday and Monday night at the Moores Opera House. The leading female role of Lidochka was played by first-year voice performance graduate student Katrina Van Maanen. The Daily Cougar caught up with Maanen to get behind the scene details of the Russian theatric spectacle.

The Daily Cougar: What did you enjoy most about playing Lidochka?

Katrina Van Maanen: I loved playing the part of Lidochka because she is very dynamic. She is a total nerd, but as the opera continues we see her different layers unfold.

She is witty, loyal, vulnerable, a little unpredictable and she is not afraid to say what is on her mind. For this reason, she seems very real and I really identified with her.

TDC: How would you compare “Moscow, Cheryomushki” to other operas that you’ve participated in?

KVM: “Moscow, Cheryomushki” is different from other operas because it hasn’t been done very much, so the performers and the audience don’t have much to compare it to. When you’re dealing with operas that have such a rich performance history, many roles come with certain traditions or carry certain expectations with them.

With this show, there were no preconceived notions and no legends to live up to. It was more or less a blank slate that we were able to bring to life, which can be challenging as an actor, but it also takes off some of the pressure.

TDC: How did you feel after opening night?

KVM: I felt great after opening night, mainly because the audience enjoyed the show so much. We had a great turnout and they gave all of us so much energy during the show. It’s such a pleasure to perform a show that makes an impact on the audience. Everyone seemed to walk away laughing, smiling and humming the tunes.

There is no better feeling as a performer. It makes you feel like you really did your job.

TDC: What did you take away from being apart of this production?

KVM: Our music director, Buck Ross, did a fantastic job coaching us through the dialogue. We don’t get a chance to perform very dialogue often in opera. Sometimes we tend rely on the music to help us communicate, and here we couldn’t use that as a crutch. Buck really helped us to communicate effectively through our dialogue and I will apply what I learned from that experience into the work I do in the future.

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