Turkish mezzo-soprano and music scholar Lori Şen has been cast as Princess Diana at an American musical named “Queen of the People’s Hearts” which tells the story of the beloved Princess of Wales.
The musical will debut at Hylton Performing Arts Center in the city of Manassas in Virgina in April. The new musical has been written by Angela Knight and Randall Dewey and tells the story of Princess Diana – from her storybook wedding to Prince Charles, to her tragic death while being chased by the paparazzi through the streets of Paris.
Şen, who can perform in 15 different languages, regularly collaborates with musicians and composers across a variety of genres, and has performed in Turkey, Europe and the United States.
Lori’s more recent performances include solo recitals, jazz performances, Angelina/La Cenerentola with Opera NOVA, and she was featured as the alto soloist in the Mozart Requiem performance of the Symphony Orchestra of Northern Virginia (SONOVA) in their 2017-18 season.
Şen told the Turkish media that a mutual musician friend had suggested her to Angela Knight for the role of Princess Diana. “Angela Knight told me, ‘We have given all the roles, but are still looking for someone to play Lady Diana and are auditioning. I would like to listen to you. Can you learn this role in 10 days?’ I said, ‘Of course I can.’ I have learned all of the songs and lines. After my performance, they told me that they have given me the role and we signed the contract,” she said.
Şen said that rehearsals for the musical would start in March and they will hit the stage in April. To prepare for her role, Şen is watching the interviews that the media has conducted with Princess Diana, through which she is mastering the beloved Princess of Wales’ gestures, facial expressions and her style of talking.
“When I am performing the songs, it does not much make a difference, but I have to pronounce the acting lines with British accent, so I am practicing for that. This is an interesting experience. It is thrilling to play a princess who is world wide known,” she said.
Şen, who is originally from Turkey’s Aegean province of İzmir, said that it was thanks to her hometown’s “cultural diversity” that she could so easily adap to the new culture in the United States.
“İzmir is one of the cities that represents Turkey’s cultural diversity and richness the best. It has also a pretty high number of people who are intellectual and open minded…And this has contributed a lot to me in terms of expressing myself and adapting to the United States,” she said.