Orlando Artist Interviews: Rachel Duval

Get to know members of our amazing Orlando cast!

Soprano Rachel Duval sings Angelica on Saturday, Feb 18th - get your tickets today!

What drew you to this project?

Händel. I have never sung a full Händel role before, so I was excited about learning some baroque conventions, and also working on my coloratura. Baroque singing is so different from what I've been training for the last handful of years, so it's been a welcome change, and my technique has improved while doing it. I figured it would be more fun to train my voice which putting on a show than in the confines of the practice room!

You recently moved to NYC from Barcelona - welcome! What do you miss most about Barcelona?

The family oriented culture. It's not easy taking your kids on the subway here! I used to go everywhere with my kids and now I feel like I have to isolate them to "kid friendly" locations. People in Spain really, genuinely, are happy when a child is in their space.

What is one of your favorite things about NYC?

Being surrounded by creative people pushing themselves forward as artists. 

And one of your least favorite about NYC?

See above (😊)

Our production is set within a surreal mental institution. How has that update informed the development of your character?

Juecheng Chen as Orlando and Rachel as Angelica in rehearsal. February 2017.

Juecheng Chen as Orlando and Rachel as Angelica in rehearsal. February 2017.

Well, it certainly makes Angelica more interesting! The way she's written, you can play her as a haughty princess who just takes what she wants (Medoro) and doesn't care about the consequences of her actions (Orlando's broken heart), or you can play her as a victim of her circumstances who happens to fall in love at the wrong time with the wrong guy. By giving Angelica the backstory of being so severely unwell that she needed to be institutionalized, it was easier for me to sympathize with her, and realize that her "man eater" qualities (as Brittány Goodwin, our wonderful director, lovingly called Angelica) are stemming from a place of deep hurt. I was able to sympathize with her better, and feel the character more lovingly as a result, something I hope comes across in my interpretation.

What has been the biggest challenge so far in putting this show together?

The length of time we've been working on it/length of time between rehearsals. I am more accustomed to short intensive bursts to get blocking, staging, and music together, so doing it slowly over two months has been more difficult for me.

We've had a more spread out process to juggle the many schedules of the artists involved! Has the longer rehearsal period changed the way you prepare or led to any positive discoveries?

It's been nice to be with a character a bit longer. 

What are your hidden or lesser-known talents?

I used to beatbox, I was a touring spoken word and slam poet for about 4 years, and I was a low flying trapeze artist as a teenager and into my 20s. Also I make an amazing borscht (beet stew). 

What’s next for you after Orlando?

After Orlando I have a four day turn around, and then I head to Washington DC to start working on a hip-hop opera by Paige Hernandez and Victor Simonson called Stomping Grounds which was commissioned by Glimmerglass. We will rehearse, tour, and premier the work in Cooperstown, NY at the Glimmerglass Festival this August.

Are you at liberty to share a line or two of your favorite lyrics from the Stomping Grounds?

I am not. 


Please visit Rachel's website at www.rachelduval.com for updates and news.