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"Whatever I am doing, people are looking at me – but they don't know why!"

This is a new interview by Michael Church that was published today in The Independent. There is almost nothing new, but it could settle a little bit that debate related to the fact that Angela and Roberto sing less and less together. The beginning seems the same as in other interviews, but it develops and the end is very well chosen. Below there are some excerpts but you can read the interview in The Independent.
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'My husband is jealous of my new leading man'
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She hasn't yet decided which arias she will sing in the Southbank recital which is the pretext for this interview (in the event, it's to be a selection of arias by Verdi, Massenet, Gounod, Mascagni and Puccini). But she's fired up by the Tosca which Covent Garden created as a vehicle for her, and which, as we speak, has just had its first revival. (Indeed, Gheorghiu will return in La Traviata next July at the Royal Opera House.) She wishes the audience could have seen up close the murderous electricity between her and Bryn Terfel: "I just trusted my instinct, as I always have. In 20 years I have never made one mistake in following my instinct." Forty-year-old memories of Maria Callas in the role have been erased: "Now everybody accepts me as Tosca."
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One thing leads obliquely to another in Gheorghiu's rapid discourse, and suddenly she's criticising Jonathan Miller, as an example of what a director should not be. "Imagine the National Theatre engaging a director for Shakespeare who doesn't speak a word of English – yet in opera it happens every day. I remember Jonathan Miller coming to direct a new production of Traviata holding the booklet from my CD – excuse me! Whoa!" Was he perhaps wanting to flatter her? "Unfortunately not. He is a doctor, so he set the last scene in a hospital – he wanted to put a lot of beds, and I said no, put only one bed – my bed." What does she want from a director? "They must not be afraid to make demands. They must not be so touched by my singing that they just cry, and accept things as perfect. But they must ask, not command. If they command, I go." She prepares with fanatical thoroughness for each new role at home in Geneva, where she and Alagna have brought up her sister's orphaned daughter, Uana, alongside Alagna's daughter, Ornella, from his first marriage (his wife died of cancer).
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As she discusses – with notable generosity – the individual strengths of her colleagues, it becomes clear that in matters of the voice she is a real connoisseur. But one with an eye firmly fixed on the bottom line: "Opera is like football. Eleven players all dressed the same, but all the time you look at only one. Because he has that aura. His playing may have a defect, but he turns that defect into a strength." Does this apply to her too? "Yes." What's her defect? An exultant shout: "To be different! Whatever I am doing, people are looking at me – but they don't know why!"
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How does she feel about all the knocking stories in the press? "First I cried, then I said, I'll call my lawyer. But then I thought – the press have a lot of imagination. So I say, thank you for the ideas! They call me 'Draculette' because I am from Romania. And they talk of Roberto and me as Bonnie and Clyde – OK! Those names are now the subject of operas. Draculette is already written, by an American composer, so I say to the press, thank you very much. Another composer is now writing Bonnie and Clyde – so, thank you again!" What about that oft-repeated tale of her demanding a make-up artist for a Radio 3 interview? "Lies!"
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The latest piece of mendaciousness arose, she says, out of an interview Alagna recently gave in London, in which he was reported as being jealous of her new artistic partnership with the German tenor Jonas Kaufmann (she now divides her time on stage between them). But that report seems to have been pretty accurate.
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"In the beginning it was easier to sing with Roberto, when our repertoire was mostly the same, but then I began to sing with others, and in Roberto's mind there is jealousy," she says. "I'm a good colleague, I try to support him. But at the same time I am an opera singer, and I want a good result with everybody – if others want to sing with me, I try to give them the same. I need to feel free, to sing where I want, with who I want. I didn't marry Roberto to sing only with him. I must go ahead with my projects. And he is very upset."
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What will she do to resolve this? "Nothing. The show must go on, the life must go on. I must feel free. The problem is that we are married, and his mind is like, 'I must do with Angela everything.' He's a very good singer, and I am not betraying him, but he must accept that I will sing with more people. And here is the problem! The person who is happy because you are happy – that person loves you. But Roberto is a Sicilian man, so he has in his blood, 'She's mine – only mine!' He's still singing my old repertoire, but I'm not singing his repertoire."
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Might the answer be a long holiday together, to sort things out? "He never takes holidays! In 15 years, I have had just one holiday with him – in Mexico; it was paradise. But he is so intense about his profession, he won't stop." A rueful shrug: "C'est la vie!"
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Maybe, I suggest, reviews are now less of an issue than they used to be, given that most newspapers are primarily obsessed with gossip. "And I'm very good for that! I'm top of the list – thank you very much! You and I can thank each other, finally." The interview finished, I turn my machine off, and she suddenly asks with shy urgency what I thought of her Tosca the night before, and is grateful for a positive response. Perhaps reviews do matter after all.

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