9 April 2021
Joel Amosa, winner of the 2018 Lexus Song Quest, is taking on the role of Masetto in Wellington Opera's production of Don Giovanni. This production, the first for Wellington Opera, opens on Saturday 17 April.
You’ll be tackling the role of Masetto in Don Giovanni. How have you found playing the jealous husband?
It's been a bit of a challenge. This is my first role where I actually have a proper spouse where we will actually end up being together. Most of my other operatic roles, I've played the cheating husband, the husband with no love in his heart and/or the baritone who never has a love interest. From that perspective, it's been a bit of an eye opener to how tenors must feel! But honestly, having Tash Wilson as the Zerlina has made the on-stage relationship so smooth and easy to be the jealous and loving husband Masetto needs to be.
How have you found the experience of working with an all-New Zealand cast and a brand-new opera company?
Amazing! Singing with one or two Kiwis in a cast is great, but for everyone in this opera to be a local – it's unheard of. I personally have always wanted to see something like this happen – an all Kiwi ensemble/cast. We have so many singers now days, both here and abroad! Why shouldn’t we utilise them? It’s a win-win for us singers; work and working in your home country. The additional benefits of having your friends and family to come and support are just the cherries on top. I'd like to give a personal shout out and congrats to Wellington Opera for front-footing an all Kiwi cast initiative.
(From left) Joel Amosa, Natasha Wilson (Zerlina) and James Ioelu (Leporello) in rehearsals for Don Giovanni | Image: supplied
By day, you’re a Regional Admin Manager at ASB. How do you balance the life of a working singer with an office career?
It isn’t without its difficulties, I'll put it that way. Add in new father of a nearly-walking 10-month daughter, my fitness bootcamps/sessions 5-6 mornings a week – it starts to sound a bit overwhelming. But in all honesty, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I've been an over-committed busy bee since way back – I would say people like me just manage to fit it all in.
There are times where I have to make a call and something gets sacrificed, but at the end of the day – the world's still spinning. It's one thing my ASB role has taught me: if I had an accident tomorrow the bank's not going to stop and wait for me – there will be measures in place to ensure everything continues on. With the singing world, fatherhood, exercise regimes – it's all a balancing act and yes there will be good and bad days, but the end result is why we do so much.
What's the one piece you’d love to perform but haven’t had the opportunity?
One day I would LOVE to sing the role of Porgy, in Gerwhin's Porgy and Bess. Who knows, opportunities might just be around the corner but then again, how long does one wait for? Porgy and Bess comes with some strict guidelines so until someone is willing to action that, I'll keep waiting 😊
Joel Amosa on stage with the NZSO at the 2018 Lexus Song Quest Grand Final Gala | Image: Norrie Montgomery
Why do you think that Don Giovanni still captures audiences, almost 230 years after it was first performed?
It’s the real-life comparisons for me. Even 230 years on, the characters in the opera can be seen in today's world. We all have a friend who thinks they are the hottest thing on the planet (Don G) or whatever their name is in your world. We have a close friend like a Leporello and we also know ladies who could be a modern day Elvira, Zerlina or Anna. It's these characters that make the drama but equally we all have a bit of them in us.
Secondly – the music. It's just so iconic and perfectly written that it becomes a timeless work of art. Thankfully, we are in a position to perform these works and continue on the Mozart legacy. Mozart's music and the way it's portrayed through the voice is infectious. I go home after rehearsal humming it all day and night (much as I try to disconnect sometimes). Audience members will be the same – it's like quoting your favourite movie line for line and getting all the inside jokes. And if you could talk to a statue of your passed loved one, for me my grandfather, wouldn’t you? That’s why Don Giovanni is still so popular in my eyes.
Don Giovanni from Wellington Opera opens on Saturday 17 April, with performances on Tuesday 20, Thursday 22 and Saturday 24 April. Grab your tickets here.