Do you have both a dramatic sound and flexibility to burn? Can you color your voice with what they used to call “a good cutting edge,” while still keeping it bright-toned? That’s the rather unusual soprano that best suits the role of Eglantine (mezzos sing it, too, but the end of this aria does them in). If you want a real roof-raiser for your audition, look no further. Eglantine, in some ways a very Ortrud-ish character (see Wagner’s Lohengrin), is a classic operatic woman scorned.
In 12th-century France, she’s an evil, bitter noblewoman whose love for Adolar, Count of Nevers, is unrequited. He, in turn, loves the opera’s title heroine.
After wheedling sweet Euryanthe into unburdening herself to her, Eglantine — in her powerful recitative — vows to prove that Adolar has been betrayed by his beloved. Eglantine then imagines her ecstasy at the thought of Adolar loving her. In the aria, she expresses her outrage that she could be rejected in favor of Euryanthe. Remembering how coldly Adolar resisted her amorous words, she now determines to destroy his happiness. This music is not for the faint of heart; rather, you must be consumed with confidence in your vocal abilities! To wit, you must be able to manage the slow or accelerated stepwise ascent to a climactic top note, constant vaulting leaps in the line, and very tricky rapid scales. And if you have a really smashing top B, you can flaunt it to your heart’s content!
Score: Robert Lienau Musikverlage
Recording: Rita Hunter in complete performance, Berlin Classics #0011082BC