Rodula Gaitanou was interviewed by  Limelightduring pre-production on  William Tell

People think they know Rossini’s William Tellbecause of its famous overture and the legend that it’s based on. Then you start working on it and you discover almost a Pandora’s Box – it’s big, it’s epic. Rossini wanted to write a French opera so there’s ballet, there’s a big chorus, fantastic ensembles. But putting aside all the big things, so much of this opera is relevant to us today.

Rodula Gaitanou. Photo © Yiannis Drosoulakis 

Ultimately, it’s about a fight for freedom and the right to retain and practice your culture and traditions. The opera tells the story of a small Swiss community that is being oppressed by occupying Austrian forces. For the Austrians, it’s not enough to impose a certain way of life – rather, the customs and traditions of the Swiss must also be belittled and the people treated condescendingly.

And in all of this is a deep love that the Swiss have for their soil and land. The way I see it, and I think it’s there in the music, the Austrians not only invade this space but pollute it. This community is...