Sharin Apostolou returns to Ash Lawn Opera to star as Nellie Forbush in South Pacific, following her triumphant portray of Eliza Doolittle in last year’s My Fair Lady. We recently chatted with Sharin about how Nellie compares to Eliza, what she’s been up to since last summer, and what it’s like to work with director John de los Santos again after their much-heralded production of Le Comte Ory at LoftOpera. Don’t miss Sharin in South Pacific!
You were fabulous as Eliza Doolittle in last summer’s production of My Fair Lady! Are you looking forward to returning to C’ville?
Absolutely! I loved my time in Charlottesville last summer. The community is so wonderful and welcoming and I’m very excited to return to the amazing restaurants, vineyards, shops, my favorite yoga studio, and of course the farmers market!
What are the differences, similarities, and challenges to performing Nellie Forbush?
Nellie and Eliza have many similarities- they are both products of their environment. While Eliza is a cockney street smart city girl looking to change her life, Nellie is a country girl from “the sticks” of Arkansas looking to change her life. They both want something more and better from their existences and jump on opportunities to wildly change their lives. Eliza has a little more of a prickly exterior (she does give Higgins quite a run for his money!) while Nellie is much more open hearted and naive.
What have you been up to since you performed here last summer?
I’ve had the one of the busiest seasons I’ve ever had! It’s been an absolute whirlwind. I returned to Shreveport, LA to perform my first Micaëla in Carmen; then went to Baltimore for my first Adèle in Die Fledermaus, then off to Salt Lake City and then Pensacola for back to back Valenciennes in The Merry Widow, then off to Anchorage for Yum Yum in The Mikado (with Curt Olds [Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady]!) and then straight to Wilmington DE for Falstaff which lead directly into Le Comte Ory [pictured right] with the fantastic LoftOpera in Brooklyn, NY. My husband kidnapped me and took me to the beach for a few days where I basically just slept and reapplied sunblock. I feel so incredibly fortunate to have had such a busy year doing so many shows that I absolutely love!
You did Le Comte Ory with John de los Santos, our director for South Pacific!
Yes! I LOVE him. Truth be told, I was very nervous going into Le Comte Ory, knowing that he and I would be spending most of the summer together and we hadn’t worked together in the past. Thankfully, we get along so well. John is my favorite kind of director- besides being so open, encouraging, and positive- he has a plan. With these shows, we have an opportunity to tell our versions of these stories. He’s brilliantly able to really cultivate that while working with us and our ideas. Le Comte Ory is a very funny show that can fall very flat, but he was able to carve out each moment and make them special. I can’t wait to see what he does with South Pacific!
You perform a balance of operatic repertoire and operetta/musicals. Is that by design?
Kind of- it’s more by skill set. I LOVE doing operetta and musical theater and I’m very open about it. I grew up dancing and doing quite a bit of straight theater, so I feel very comfortable with choreography and dialogue. There’s something about musical theater that really speaks to me and it’s a style of performing that I really enjoy. I hope I never have to give either up! I’m very much enjoying having my cake and eating it too!
Will your husband, tenor Ryan MacPherson, be able to spend some time with you in Charlottesville this summer?
Yes! He was performing all of last summer and wasn’t able to visit, but he has a little time to come by and enjoy all the wonderful things Charlottesville has to offer!
Photos from top
As Nellie Forbush in South Pacific, photo by Janet Moore-Coll
As Eliza in My Fair Lady, photo by Janet Moore-Coll
Le Comte Ory, Loft Opera
Performing at the 2015 Opera in the Park at the IX Art Park