Behind every man is a woman with a story to tell, and this May that story is TESEO:MEDEA. Mary Kathryn Monday returns to CantantiPROJECT as King Egeo in a production that has women center stage and ready to shine.
Get to know Mary Kathryn in the interview below.
Music by Handel, libretto by Haym
May 11th @ 7:00pm
May 12th @ 3:30pm
Underground Theater at the Abrons Art Center
466 Grand St, New York, NY 10002
Part of the @Abrons Series Program and the 2019 New York Opera Fest.
Please introduce yourself: your name, where you’re from, what role you’re singing, and the first three things that come to mind when you think “Handel”.
Hi I’m Mary Kathryn Monday originally from Knoxville, TN but a New Yorker at heart. I’m singing King Egeo and the first three things coming to mind with Handel: royal, da capo ornamentation, and of course Messiah!
What brought you to NYC? And do you remember the moment you realized you were a New Yorker at heart?
NYC was a popular destination for family vacations growing up and the goal was mainly to see Broadway shows. In high school, I was “on my own” in the city for the first time with a People to People program focusing on all the arts. I met people with the same interests from around the world and I knew I wanted to have a global perspective that NYC offers. During that trip was probably when I knew I would live here one day. Two weeks after I graduated college, I flew here and have never looked back!
Our production of TESEO:MEDEA emphasizes the fact that women play very important roles in this opera. How has this influenced your character’s trajectory in the plot?
Wait, I’m the King so I’m in charge and have all the answers right? You mean a woman could outsmart or trick me? Nonsense. Kings always get what they want and end up on top. (Spoiler alert: the King ends up alone)
What would you say is Egeo's biggest weakness? most redeeming quality?
His biggest weakness is his ego. He can’t see past his own wants to read the situation around him. However, he is redeemed when you see the inner conflict he has with the crown. His human desires can’t outweigh his loyalty to being a kingly leader.
If Egeo could have a theme song, what would it be?
King of the World from Songs for a New World
What’s the most interesting discovery you’ve made while preparing for TESEO:MEDEA?
This is my first time preparing a pants role in its entirety and while taking on a masculine outlook, I’ve still incorporated a way to show Egeo’s humanity. I always try to make my characters empathetic and relatable and Egeo has quite the arc of emotions throughout the opera. Get ready for love, joy, vengeance, and rage!
And if you could have a mythological superpower, what would it be?
Shape shifting. I think it would be fascinating to be able to gain a new perspective through transforming into an animal whenever I’d like.
What's the first animal you'd shape-shift into and why?
A lion, representing royalty and rocking a great mane of hair! 🦁
One of the goals of this project is to showcase women in the arts - we have an all-female cast and a majority-female production team. What has this experience been like for you so far?
It’s empowering to collaborate with a team of women who have diverse backgrounds who aren’t afraid of making strong choices.
We hope TESEO:MEDEA inspires other female/female-identifying artists and audience members. What do you hope they’ll take away after seeing this production?
We’re set in an ancient land where women are warriors. All the women are strong and hold their own. I think that’s the lesson; it’s not a new concept to be a strong woman, we just have to keep empowering each other.