THE stars aligned for mezzo-soprano Brigitte Heuser last year when she met The Gilbert and Sullivan Society of WA production manager Max Page.
“I was sitting next to Max Page from the Society at an opera,” Heuser said.
“I told him I was a singer and he said they were auditioning for their production The Gondoliers.
“I was new to Perth and wanted to start performing again after the birth of my daughter. I got a role in that and enjoyed my work with them, so I was keen to do another show with the group this year, which just happened to be The Mikado.
“It’s community theatre but the standard is so high because of the talent in Perth and they perform with an orchestra, which is a real drawcard as a singer.”
Born in Wellington, the New Zealander studied a Masters of Arts in Performance Voice in Wales but it was while training at the Australian Opera Studio in Perth 10 years ago that she met her husband.
After travelling and working in Europe for eight years, the couple decided to settle back in Mt Lawley in 2017 with their one-year-old daughter.
Heuser, who comes from a musical family, is playing the role of Katisha in The Mikado, the classic comedy set in imperial Japan where flirting has been decreed as a capital offence, punishable with death by decapitation.
“She’s an old ‘ugly’ woman, which is a lot of fun because I usually play a lot of younger roles or as a mezzo I’ve played a lot of men, which is a long story,” Heuser said.
“She’s a scorned lady who is bitter and never got what she wanted in life and has this power because she has the favour of the Mikado, who is the father of the heir (Nanki-Poo).
“I’ve convinced him that I should have married his son; I think this young, good-looking man is interested in me and I’m determined to get him.
“When he’s not interested, I want vengeance. It’s fun and melodramatic where I have evil moments but I’m also misunderstood, so there’s a lot of softer moments as well.
“It’s a really meaty role for a mezzo-soprano.”
What: The Mikado
Where: Dolphin Theatre, UWA
When: May 2 to 11