A lot has happened to Jane Eaglen since her American debut with the Boston Pops in 1992. The English soprano embarked on a prestigious, prolific international career. Her interpretations of the works of Richard Wagner defined her generation. Two decades at the top, four solo albums, and 10 complete opera recordings later, Eaglen took another star turn—this time as a teacher, making stops in Seattle, Ohio and finally, at Boston’s own New England Conservatory (NEC) in 2015.
Enter Boston Lyric Opera (BLO). Ms. Eaglen’s connections to the artistic administration at BLO date back to her time with the Scottish Opera in Glasgow. And while she devotes a significant amount of energy to her full time gig at NEC, and to her responsibilities as artistic director at Baldwin-Wallace University in Ohio, her passion for performance has not waned.
Thus, when Eaglen was approached to play Mother Goose in BLO’s upcoming adaptation of Stravinski’s classic, “The Rake’s Progress,” there was little hesitation:
“I was born to play a brothel Madame,” she jokes.
It’s perspectivist humor from an artist who, come March 12th, will undoubtedly be one of the biggest names on the Cutler Majestic stage.
“I’m used to singing operas in which I sing for about six hours,” Eaglen laughs. “In this, I only have about 30 words. So it’s very different.”
And what a 30 words they must be, if BLO is heralding Eaglen as the show’s star turn.
Eaglen plays Mother Goose, the character with whom protagonist Tom Rakewell famously stays the night in a London brothel. Among the many liberties BLO takes with Stravinky’s famous opera in three acts—this iteration is as much about Stravinsky as it is about the play, with Stravinsky appearing on stage throughout—ornamenting Mother Goose to reflect Eaglen’s star power is perhaps its most glorious innovation.
“It’s fun,” Eaglen continues. “There’s a lot of humor in the show. It’s a slightly more humorous character than I’m used to playing—with an extremely amazing costume, and an extremely amazing wig.”
If infidelity, a bearded woman (one of Rakewell’s love interests), and a generational opera talent weren’t enough to push tickets, BLO has added an insurance policy: a generational opera talent in a generational wig.
If you go:
Cutler Majestic Theatre
219 Tremont St.
Tickets at blo.org