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Q&A with David Hare and the cast of The Moderate Soprano

We caught up with David Hare and the Olivier Award-winning stars of The Moderate Soprano, Roger Allam and Nancy Carroll

Having transferred to the Duke of York's Theatre from its sold-out run at the Hampstead Theatre, this magnificent new play tells the love story at the heart of Glyndebourne. It has astounded audiences and critics alike. 

David Hare's new play is the story of an intense love affair and the unrelenting search for artistic excellence in the face of searing scrutiny, sacrifice and the impending Second World War. 

What was your inspiration behind The Moderate Soprano?

David Hare (DH): I come from Sussex, I love Sussex. And it seemed to me so extraordinary that everyone thinks Glyndebourne is so English, and yet its character was formed by two Germans and an Austrian. Like so many good things in the UK, it's created by immigrants.

John and Audrey clearly had passion for their art, where did your passion originate?

DH: I always thought theatre could be more grown-up, more woman-centred, more challenging than it was when I was young.

Roger Allam (RA): My love of theatre came from seeing plays when I was at school and being completely smitten by them. 

Nancy Carroll (NC): My love for the theatre grew out of an instinct I had from a very young age to be as close to it as I possibly could. Watching it, in it, around it! Any way possible.

What's your favourite opera?

DH: I like George Benjamin's Written on Skin, and Brett Dean's Hamlet.

RA: Rigoletto is probably my favourite.

NC: I grew up listening to Mozart and I love his operas. Marriage of Figaro and Don Giovanni are my faves.

What's the best play you've seen this year?

DH: The revival of Andrea Dunbar's great play Rita Sue and Bob Too. So wonderful to hear an authentic working-class voice for once.

RA: Girl from the North Country.

NC: Beginning at the National Theatre. Two brilliant actors telling a simple story in real time. Sublime! 

Why should people come to watch The Moderate Soprano?

DH: If you care at all about the future of stage performance, you have to see our beautiful company of six playing together like a chamber music group.

RA: It's passionate, interesting, beautiful, surprising and funny.

NC: It's a great true story, written beautifully, based on the lives of brilliant interesting creative souls who made it their life's work to put this crazy brilliant opera house on the world stage!

Describe The Moderate Soprano in three words.

RC: Moving, funny and surprising.

NA: Funny, surprising and true!

The Moderate Soprano runs at the Duke of York's Theatre until 30 June 2018.