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Wearing-Angelica

When Pradichaya Poonyarit wears
the operatic role of Suor Angelica






Suor Angelica, an opera in one act by Giacomo Puccini. The second opera of the trio operas called Il Trittico . Pradichaya featues in the title role at Capitol Opera Harrisburg. This article shows how the artist wears her role.

From the artist: Wearing Angelica

Pradichaya Gafaae Poonyarit as Suor Angelica

My approach to doing a role is the same as my approach to putting on clothes. Here I am, at the ripe age of --fill in the blank-- with children, and walking around with a few (okay, many) pounds more than I need. How do I pick the clothes of the day? Easy: the clothes that fit comfortably and flatter me. When I was younger and a lot thinner, instead of simply being happy being "me" back then, I wasted it by continuing to buy clothes that were too small- and was miserable trying to fit into them. I probably wasted half of my life doing just that. Today, as I said, being older and- so-I-want-to-believe- wiser, it is my choice to wear only clothes that fit me well and in which I feel comfortable and have the confidence to carry myself.

Pradichaya Gafaae Poonyarit as Suor Angelica

So, I face Angelica, who is definitely in her child-bearing years - and I'm- uh- not. She was forced into nunhood, cast away forever because she did the unthinkable and shamed her noble family name. In the Thai culture from where I came, the family name is something you preserve and put on a pedestal. -I can relate to Angelica's background. There is not a day that goes by, since the birth of her child, when she doesn't think about him. There's that sense of longing for her son, the shame and the guilt that she brought down the family name, and the need to punish herself. I am a mother, and I love being a mother, so I have four chidren. (Well, obviously there are other factors as to why I have four children, but we don't need to go into that at this time!) Before accepting this role I could not even imagine what it would do to me if a child of mine were to be taken out of my sore body and away from me right at birth. And now, I have to think it, believe it, live it, and feel it. My Angelica 3-piece suit (plus the wimple, veil, etc.) has to be custom made by me, to fit well enough that I could feel myself inside her- and her inside me. So I put on Angelica, zip her up, and let her fall naturally on me.

Pradichaya Gafaae Poonyarit as Suor Angelica

In letting Angelica fall upon me there are compromises that I have to make when it comes to the differences between us. Should the same misfortune happen to me -Pradichaya, The urge to be with my child will out- power the guilt and the shame. -I would scream and kick my way out of the convent long before seven years have passed, and that nasty aunt will have a taste of the true Pradichaya. But of course, Puccini didn't write an opera called, "Pradichaya and her revenge on the nasty aunt who took over her inheritance," so I have to settle with the gentle, repentant, and walk-around-with-a-secret-larger-than-a-Thai-elephant Angelica.

And the result? Please see for yourself, and I welcome comments and feedback. I grow with every role I perform, and I gain tremendous experiences from wearing a role. If and when I have another chance at performing Angelica I can't tell what I'll do, but I can guarantee that no two performances will be the same.

Please enjoy the opera. Perhaps the next time I perform live I will have the honor of your attendance.

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