Stephen McIntyre says his latest role is a big challenge and very exciting.
1. Souvenir is the story of Florence Foster Jenkins, a real-life wealthy New York eccentric who thought she had a beautiful singing voice. You play her accompanist, Cosme McMoon. Is that a real name, and is the character at all like you?
It certainly is. He was her accompanist and a composer as well. Cosme is extremely like me when I was 24 or 25. I used to accompany a lot of singers to make some money while I got around to doing great things.
2. Florence (who can be heard on YouTube) has been described as one of the worst singers of all time. Is this a fair assessment?
It's absolutely a fair assessment. It leaves out the fact that Madame Flo had no idea of what her audience was hearing. She obviously had such a wonderful time singing that it never occurred to her that people might find her less good than she thought.
3. She announced a concert at Carnegie Hall that sold out in two hours. Would she be as successful if she were around now?
I'm sure she would be. What happened was a few people heard her, and you know what it's like when word gets around and everybody starts to talk. It built up into quite a cult following.
4. You're a distinguished concert pianist, but is this your first major acting role?
I've done a variety of bits and pieces before on stage. This is a big challenge, but very exciting.
5. Where do you recommend for a drink after a concert?
Most places are all for younger folk, but where I particularly like is The European in Spring Street. They actually allow older people like me in!
6. What's your favourite film about music?
I have many favourite films. A favourite is Death in Venice, which is based on the life of Thomas Mann. It has a most wondrous portrayal of how a musician lives, and acts, and how he suffers. One of the great things about the film is the way it uses the music of Mahler so extraordinarily. I first saw it in London 40 years ago and it's stayed with me ever since.
Souvenir, a fantasia on the life of Florence Foster Jenkins, opens at Chapel Off Chapel on Wednesday, February 20.