Opera Philadelphia

Q&A with Dito van Reigersberg

By Opera Philadelphia

Dito van Reigersberg, a.k.a. Martha Graham Cracker, discusses Dito & Aeneas: Two Queens, One Night, a one-night-only drag-cabaret-opera event starring Martha and mezzo Stephanie Blythe.

Tell us a bit about your role in Dito & Aeneas: Two Queens One Night.

My job is to represent the spirit of rock and roll, as it finds a delicate balance with its classical music counterpart; from this strange alchemy a new kind of music will emerge. Or at least a new blend of music will be heard, unlike anything that's hit the TLA thus far.

What has been your favorite part of the Dito & Aeneas process so far?

I have enjoyed playing around with Stephanie, getting to know her better, and seeing how much overlap there is between our seemingly disparate approaches to music. We joke around a lot, we talk about some very cheesy '70s pop and how meaningful it is to us, and we also play ridiculous games with director John Jarboe and find ways to let our inner goof run free....

What can your fans expect from such a genre-defying show?

I think they will be surprised at how delicious the sonic meal will be, between the sublime arrangements by Daniel Kazemi and the sumptuous swirl of sound you get with you put a rock band and a string quartet together (spoiler alert!).

What are you most looking forward to about teaming up with Stephanie Blythe aka Blythely Oratonio?

I am excited to hear her rock out. She can definitely belt in a crazy way, like in a Bonnie Tyler way. That alone is worth the price of admission. Plus she gives me great vocal tips!

How do you think opera audiences can relate to cabaret performances, and vice versa?

We may invade the audience's space more than an opera audience is used to but I swear there'll be no forced or embarrassing audience participation. And there might be moments where it's important, oh cabaret mavens, to be classy and keep your traps shut. Even if you've had a few beverages.

What is Martha’s favorite opera?

Aida. I think.

What do you hope audiences take away from the night?

I think they should go away satisfied but not stuffed. They will have felt a lot of amazing sound vibration, they will have laughed a ton, and they may even be moved.

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