THE fan blog
Contact: irina.stanescu@ymail.com
round minus
round plus

Tel Aviv - last call

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This post has two reasons. First I wanted to point out that there are some beautiful, large pictures from the stay in Israel on Angela's official website. Many thanks to those who took and posted them. They can be found in the PERSONAL section. The photo above belongs to the Official Site too. I chose it as my favorite from this round because it shows two amazing people (Angela Gheorghiu and Zubin Mehta) from any point of view you want.
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So far we have:
* the purpose of the event - HERE and HERE
* one video - HERE
* one review on an ONLINE NEWSPAPER with a beautiful picture HERE
* a lot of pictures from the stay in Israel on the OFFICIAL WEBSITE
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What's missing? The PROGRAM. This is the second reason of this post. I noticed that there are a lot of log hits on the blog from Israel. I still hope that somebody attended the concert or found a review that mentions the program or some other opinions. Of all the concerts so far this must be somehow different as Angela performed alone. Any hint would be extremely useful.
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Have a great weekend!
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VIDEO - Interview on TVR Cultural-part III

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Thanks to the same person that sent the short video from the second part. Now there's the entire episode. With a good quality of image and sound.
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No further comments. Enjoy the videos!
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Viginia Zeani - with videos

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It is well known by now the admiration Angela has for this beautiful lady and great Romanian soprano, Virginia Zeani. Each time she has the chance she mentions her as role model.
According to the person who uploaded the video, CharlotteinWeimar, the interview with Angela Gheorghiu was broadcasted back in 2000 on BBC Radio 3 the operatic excerpt is from Virginia Zeani's unrehearsed Covent Garden Debut 14th January 1960 with Traviata.
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Virginia Zeani's career was first primarily focused in Italy, where she sang at most opera houses, but soon her reputation led to invitations at major opera houses of Europe as well. Violetta was her debut role in London, Vienna, and Paris. She made her debut at La Scala in Milan in 1956, as Cleopatra in Handel 's Giulio Cesare, opposite Nicola Rossi-Lemeni, whom she married shorthly after.
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Zeani also appeared in Leningrad, Moscow, Philadelphia, and the New York's Metropolitan Opera, as Violetta, in 1966.
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She won considerable success in belcanto roles, such as Lucia di Lammermoor, Gilda in Rigoletto, Elvira in I Puritani, Linda di Chamounix, before turning to more dramatic roles, such as Manon Lescaut, Tosca, Fedora, Adriana Lecouvreur.She also tackled a few Verdi and Wagner roles, such as Lina in Stiffelio, Elsa in Lohengrin. She created the role of Blanche in Dialogues des Carmélites in 1957, at La Scala.
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She sang with tenors such as Beniamino Gigli, Ferruccio Tagliavini, Carlo Bergonzi, Alfredo Kraus, Luciano Pavarotti, Plácido Domingo, etc. A warm-voiced singer with an affecting stage presence, she made few commercial recordings, but a number of her live performances exist as bootleg recordings.
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Following her retirement from the opera stage in 1983, Zeani remained active as a voice instructor at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, where she and her husband, Nicola Rossi-Lemeni, were both honored as "Distinguished Professors".
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After her husband's death in 1991 she taught at IU for many more years before moving to Florida. There she continues to teach, in particular for the Florida Grand Opera Young artist program and the Palm Beach Opera Young artist program. Amongst Zeani's most famous pupils are Marilyn Mims, Susan Patterson, Sylvia McNair, Stephen Mark Brown, Elizabeth Futral, Vivica Genaux, Angela Brown, Mark Nicolson, and Heidi Klassen.
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On Tuesday, March 31, 2009, Ms. Zeani accepted an offer to be Artist-in-residence in the Fall of 2009 at Florida Atlantic University in the Department of Choral and Vocal Studies in Boca Raton, Florida. (wikipedia.com)
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Following Operaonline's suggestion, here's a video of the encounter Anglea and Virginia Zeani had a few years ago in London. This was part of a surprise for Angela during a Romanian TV show called "Surprises, surprises".


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Interview on TVR Cultural - part III - 22.10.2009

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This is the third and last part of the interview, broadcasted on TVR Cultural on October 22nd 2009. We all found out a lot of new things, we stepped to "the other side". And it was beautiful. Thank you!
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If you missed the other two parts or want to read the interview from beginning to end:
* part I - HERE
* part II - HERE
* part II - VIDEO
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Audio of the third part in Romanian and the translation, below. I might get some video too, but I don't know for sure yet. So come back in a few days.
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Good evening ladies and gentlemen. I’m Marius Constantinescu. I confess I wanted to have Angela Gheorghiu as guest for these three episodes not necessarily because she’s famous, beautiful, worshiped and sometimes contested and one of the three best sopranos of the world. Well, yes… this was the reason. And all these arguments were important. But I find it very provoking to be in the company of a person always followed by tons of legends, impressions, stories and even prejudices that her personal history feed. I think the challenge is to find Angela Gheorghiu behind the label “Angela Gheorghiu” with everything it involves. This is what I tried to do.
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You are Angela and Roberto. You are the soprano and tenor. You are the absolute duet in the opera. At the same time I play a little bit with words and also say “the duel”. There are hundreds and hundreds of legends regarding the rivalry, in between inverted comas, between the soprano and the tenor for the love of the public, for applauses, cheering and celebrity. How have you managed to find an agreement in all these years? Sometimes with diplomacy, with love, acceptance. It’s very difficult because I can’t talk about myself. Even if today I tell you all these things I think these were bigger issues for Roberto than for me.
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Do you have the strength to accept when the other one’s success is bigger? Oh, God. This happened. But I don’t mind. This can occur for the same performance, for me and Roberto, or when we sing with different partners. One night one of us receives more applauses, another night is the other… everything is so relative that I don’t even bother. If you talk about jealousy, we have it at a personal level, as man and woman, and not at a professional level. But sometimes the personal level mixes with the professional one because we both have the same job. Roberto broke out in an interview for a British newspaper and you started to misinterpret the words here in Romania. For him it was very simple. He was jealous. He couldn’t control himself even if he doesn’t admit. We know the reasons. It’s because we sometimes sing with somebody else. We both do this. It was that one time when he couldn’t hold it.
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Have you two ever gone on stage without being in good terms? If we argued before?
Yes. Yes, it happened. But the moment we stepped on stage we loved each other instantly.
And the love lasted for the length of the performance or also after it? Also after it. It was true reconcilement. I don’t play a part in my every day life. I don’t pretend to be happy. Never. All these belong to me, only to me. When I have something against a reaction I show it. I tell him, he tells me. We don’t pretend anything.
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You’ll be Carmen at the Metropolitan soon. What do you say to those who don’t think you’ll fulfill the expectations regarding this part? I’m also surprised. I’ve never said I’m a mezzo, I didn’t want it, and it was not the dream of my life to be Carmen. I recorded Carmen as you know because EMI and Roberto wanted it. The new director of the Metropolitan, Peter Gelb, used to work for Sony. When we first met he had a lot of ideas. He suggested I should do Carmen at the Met. Wow. That is too much.
4000 seats, large venue… It’s a large venue but it has the best acoustics of all opera houses in the world. I was surprised and then I said “ok, but I have a request. I need to find a reason in order to do it. I must have the director I want”
And you had him. Yes, indeed. Richard Eyre. I haven’t offended anyone. I have this privilege of being able to ask for a certain director. I really liked the idea of working again with Richard Eyre.
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I have another curiosity. Do you think that you’ll ever leave behind the Italian and French traditional opera repertoire and move on to Wagner or Richard Strauss? Why not? Nobody thought of Wagner yet. I still want to preserve the freshness of the voice. I like some operas, arias.. some moments. I have something against this composer because compared to the greatness of the music he didn’t have enough knowledge of canto.
He loved more the orchestra than the singers. People talk about the magnitude, the volume and the length of the operas and other details. He’s a genius. But for many reasons Wagner can’t be preformed by young voices that sing lyrical parts at the same time. And I’m very sorry for that because his music is brilliant. I like Richard Strauss. I like Russian music too. I was invited to sing Rusalka or Evgeni Onegin. Only that I don’t speak Russian, I don’t understand it and it would be huge work. When I utter something I like to be understood. For me the essence is in the word. We know that every composed found inspiration in the words. They wrote music on top of words and not other way round. So pronunciation is essential. I like to understand what I sing, what I’m saying. Because I get help from this, I can have a certain state of mind, I can create the character. It’s difficult in Russian. I’ll give it a try but it’s hard. I love Evgeni Onegin. It’s an amazing opera. Once I had to cancel in Chicago because they said I have to sing 12 performances. I said 6, they said 12 so we had to let it go. I don’t want to lose the freshness of a role. Actors might say I don’t know anything about this. They have seasons with hundreds of shows. For me it’s harder. I confess I don’t have this ability. When I sing Mimi for two months and need a short break after that and something else instead.
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Next season you’ll also be Adriana Lecouvreur at Covent Garden. Some time ago, I don’t remember the year, I did La Rondine there. Well, it was supposed to be Adriana Lecouvreur. But I thought it would be better to switch, to do La Rondine first and after that Adriana Lecouvreur. It’s a very difficult role. I see it very lyrical. I connect it somehow with Tosca because she’s an artist too. And the artists are very sensitive, many times not understood. We have the strength to suffer, to receive the applauses. I find this state of mind in Adriana as I found it in Tosca. I met a lot of artists, I’m an artist too, and I noticed that we display a wide range of inner conflicts. You can feel that you’re the saddest person on earth, that absolutely nobody loves you. We all feel this way at least once in a lifetime. There’s also the opposite feeling, when you see everybody happy to see you, that they worship you. There are moments when I’m extremely happy and I can’t hide that. All these shifts can be also found in characters. So these sentiments allow me to get dramatic. And Angela can be Tosca or Adriana Lecouvreur.
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You talked about contradictions and how an artist is seen by the others. What is the most frequent preconception people have about you? They say I’m difficult. And moody. Because when they say “diva”, they say “difficult”. First of all I’m an artist, a very well known person. I’m very optimistic. These negative things don’t fit my personality. And I suffer a lot when I notice that people see in me exactly the opposite of who I am. I have different nicknames, I told you before. I have a long list.
Bonnie and Clyde, Draculette… Yes. This led to two operas. Vladimir Cosma is writing an opera called “Bonnie and Clyde” and an American composer already wrote “Draculette”. I take the positive and practical side of everything.
What if there would be an opera called “Angela”? I would like that.
Who should compose it and who should perform the title role for the premiere? I don’t know. We all know the story of the famous Romanian soprano Hariclea Darcle whom Puccini wrote “Tosca” for. He thought of her when writing. When she told him “I’m the main character and I need an aria”, that moment one of the beautiful arias in the world, Vissi d’arte, was born. Great composers thought of an artist when writing. I know there are some composers that write thinking of my voice, such as the Italian Marco Tutino, and I feel very lucky. Vladimir Cosma composed “Marius et Fanny” thinking of me and Roberto. I want to tell you one thing. I still wait for the Romanian composers to buzz me, to insist to write something. Nobody said anything.
Maybe in the future. Writing beautiful music is not old fashioned. Remember that people like beautiful things. So I’m still waiting for suggestions.
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Last question: you have beauty, glory, fame; you have the audience that loves you and money, which is important too. Yes, it helps me having a beautiful life.
Do you feel there’s something missing in this moment? What do you mean?
Do you feel accomplished, in peace with yourself? I’m an optimist person. Speaking of accomplishments, I’m still on the way up. I still have dreams, wishes, I want to discover new things, I want to talk to you or to other people that want to know about me more. If I can share something of what God gave me, it is fine. We need to go on being happy. If I can enjoy my voice in the future, that’s good. If not, I hope I can find other ways of happiness.
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Get to know... Angela Gheorghiu

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Short interview on Southbank Center website. It's short for those who are not members. If you become one for 45 UK pounds/year, you could read the entire interview. As I'm not member, I gently ask those who are members and willing to help, to tell us what else is there. PLEASEEE
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Interesting qustions. At some point you ran out of ideas and questions such as the one with the cell phone come up :)
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The interview is published HERE and you can also read it below.
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What do you fear the most? Death, because we do not know anything about it, there are only divagations and fiction about this topic.
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Which mobile number do you call the most? This is my secret.
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What – or where – is perfection? In divinity, in nature, in art…
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Who is your favourite hero from fiction (book/comic/film/opera) – and why? Charlie Chaplin in everything: in acting, ideas, music, subtlety… and because he is a genius!
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What’s your favourite ritual? Breakfast!
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Which living person do you most admire (and why)? Roberto Benigni and Dalai Lama. Because they possess the power to make people dream and hope…
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What other talent or skill would you like to possess? I’d like to compose, to be a sculptor, a priest maybe…
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Tell us about a special memory you have of Southbank? I remember a concert I did there for Prince Charles – an extraordinary human being, a very courteous man and a true fan of classical music!
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If you could programme your ideal Southbank Centre show, which artists (living or dead) would you bring together? Virginia Zeani and Franco Corelli.
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"No doubt the girl knows her job" - review from Tel Aviv

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This is the first review of the concert written by Omar Samaritan for the Globes, a local newspaper. For those who read Hebriew, the article can be found in the "Culture" section. For the rest of us, you have it below. The translation is "so and so". But you understand everyting. The author was not very impressed by the concert. He liked it but not to that extent to say it was THE concert. There is also a nice picture from the concert on that website.
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He didn't mention the entire program but just some arias:
* O mio babbino caro
* Habanera
* something from La Rondine - probably Il bel sogno di Doretta
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Annual gala concert of the Philharmonic was last night (Saturday) marked a 40 year tenure of Zubin Mehta, music director of the orchestra, it became identified with it completely. His endless criticism of Mehta became Levon - ton, and not always correctly: Beyond his ability as a conductor, international connections are a great asset and their right to come here big names for ridiculous wages. A good example was the appearance at a concert of soprano Angela Gheorghiu.
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Gheorghiu (44) belongs to the world's top opera singers, whose appearance had discovered Cshihok. Although this concert was not exciting or breathtaking, but the fantastic quality of her poetry has provided many beautiful moments. Mehta gave Gheorghiu expressing rhythmic freedom.
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The concert consisted of alternating short orchestral sections and sections of poetry accompanied by the orchestra. Most parts were sung operatic arias of Verdi, Puccini and Bizet ("Carmen"), some familiar and some less. Another part of the program, smaller sections of the kiss was light music. The program promised sensual pleasure, but did not provide the kind that gets throat passages.
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All in all the selected repertoire was incoherent combination of different segments, strongly prevented the rise of emotion from the singer and the audience. 'Therefore, the impression was more of less of Ftifurim main course. Oddly, the most exciting moment was the orchestral concert: It was saccharine and sentimental piece of Piazzolla called "Hello Grandpa", which Mehta and the orchestra showed intimacy every couple was proud of her.
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Energy in terms of quality music, concert gala took on a very good IPO. The band played a warm and rich sound, Mehta led her all the concentration and enthusiasm. Beyond that, it was a pleasure to see the connection between him and Gheorghiu. Mehta learned master, accompanied by soloists, and last night is well evident. He gave Gheorghiu rhythmic freedom of expressing, in turn made sure to escort her to be precise to get it. In most cases it worked well, except in places where the orchestra covered the singer in terms of power.
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With regard to Gheorghiu herself, can sum up the concert a success, especially in the second part. In vocal Gheorghiu was and remains an excellent singer. She has excellent technique for optimal voice control, which allows her to sing in a free and without any apparent effort. Lions is particularly impressive soprano, which is her natural voice. It was hard not to admire her singing high range, its ability to combine poetry with quiet strong dramatic expression. This was especially true lions of the beautiful Rondine and Gianni Schicchi by Puccini, which were wonderful. On the other hand, insistence integrate an aria from "Carmen", written for mezzo - soprano, showed low sounds is a little less at home.
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Subtle flirting with the audience
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Beyond voice, Gheorghiu has proven that it is also a charming stage that can easily hold an audience of thousands of people. This included subtle flirting with the audience and the conductor, replacing the three dresses throughout the evening, a veiled dance sexy as needed. No doubt the girl knows her job. The second part of the evening was more successful in that aspect, too, that the more emotionally touched and that was warmer in terms of repertoire.
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The sweetest sounds in the evening actually came from the orchestra Fund Chairman, Michael Tzlrmayer, a gala event at the Hilton Hotel Orchestra Foundation. Occasion, attended by many Israeli business community, announced that Tzlrmayer finally become steps to promote the long-awaited renovation of Mann Auditorium. He said, The renovation should begin next season, while maintaining the original character of the hall. The orchestra is crying out for renovation this for years, and apparently now even Tel - Aviv determined to promote it.
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Tel Aviv... anyone?

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What is the press saying about this concert? I'm not very good with Hebrew. They must say something because IPO and Mehta are big things there.
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So, who can help? There are so many people waiting for news...
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What else is there besides this video ? (Habanera from Carmen by Bizet)

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Thanks in advance!
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Caruso... at the seaside

I've always had a thing for this song. No mattter who's singing (Pavarotti, Andrea Bocelli, Lara Fabian, Josh Groban, Mercedes Sosa) it reminds me of home, of seaside, of the Black Sea. The fact that I live in a big, crowded city makes me escape from time to time and drive to see the sea. And I do this especially in fall, winter and spring when there's nobody on the beach. It feels like it's enitrely mine. Great feeling to listen to the waves coming and going to the emerald crystal clear surface. In fall and spring the water is green or grey. But it's sky blue and foamy during the winter. It's beautiful.
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Usually I listen to Caruso and think of the sea. Today I went to see the sea and remembered the song. I came home and listen to it.
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There's a particular version I'm very fond of. I first listened to it last year in June when the concert was broadcasted on the radio. It was a concert from Prospect Park, New York. Angela is singing. It was the first and only time I heard her sing this song. Couldn't be happier! Listen to it and also follow the lyrics, in Italian and English (it's not my translation. I found it on the internet)
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Caruso is a song written by Italian singer-songwriter Lucio Dalla in 1986. It is dedicated to Enrico Caruso, one of the most famous Italian tenors.
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Qui dove il mare luccica, e tira forte il vento
sulla vecchia terrazza davanti al golfo di Surriento
uno uomo abbracia una ragazza dopo che aveva pianto
poi si schiarisce la voce, e ricomincia il canto
Te voglio bene assai
Ma tanto tanto bene sai
É una catena ormai
Che scioglie il sangue tinto vene sai...
Vide le luci in mezzo al mare, penso alle notti là in America
ma erano solo le lamparee la bianca scia di un'elica
senti il dolore nella musica,e si alzo dal piano
fortema quando vide uscire la luna da una nuvola,
gli sembro piu dolce anche la morte
guardò negli occhi la ragazza, quegli occhi verdi come il mare
poi all'improvviso usci una lacrima e lui credette di affogare
Te voglio bene assai
Ma tanto tanto bene sai
É una catena ormai
Che scioglie il sangue tinto vene sai
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Potenza della lirica, dove ogni dramma è un falso
che con un po' di trucco e con la mimica puoi diventare un altro
ma due occhi che ti guardano, cosi vicine e veri
ti fan scordare le parole,...Confondono i pensieri
cosi diventa tutto piccolo, anche le notti là in America
ti volti e vedi la tua vita, dietro la scia di un'elica
ma si, è la vita che finisce, e non ci penso poi tanto
anzi, si sentiva gia felice, e ricomincio il suo canto
Te voglio bene assai
Ma tanto tanto bene sai
É una catena ormai
Che scioglie il sangue tinto vene sai
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Here, where the sea shines And the wind howls
On the old terrace Beside the gulf of Sorrento
A man embraces a girl After the tears
Then clears his throat And continues the song
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I love you very much
Very, very much you know
It is a chain by now
That heats the blood inside the veins
He saw the lights out on the sea Thought of the nights there in America
But they were only the fisherman's lamps And the white wash astern
He felt the pain in the music And stood up from the piano
But when he saw the moon Emerging from a cloud
Death also seemed sweeter to him He looked the girl in the eyes
Those eyes as green as the sea Then suddenly a tear fell
And he believed he was drowning
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I love you very much
Very, very much, you know
It is a chain by now
That heats the blood inside the veins
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The power of opera Where every drama is a hoax
With a little make-up You can become someone else
But two eyes that look at you So close and real
Make you forget the words Confuse your thoughts
So everything becomes small Also the nights there in America
You turn and see your life Through the white wash astern
But, yes, it is life that ends And he did not think much about it
On the contrary, he already felt happy And continued his song
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I love you very much
Very, very much, you know
It is a chain by now
That heats the blood inside the veins

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Have a great Sunday!
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Midnight thoughts on the interview on TVR Cultural

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These are not my words. I wish I were this good with writing. I only translated the article with the permission of the author. After watching the last part of the interview I sat down in front of the computer and tried to put something down. I couldn't. What Angela said and how she said it impressed me too much. The sincerity, the smile, the look...
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I had the story in my head but it wouldn't come out. Somebody else who watched the interview wrote this immediately after in an atempt to keep this moment close to the heart. These are thoughts coming out from a person who loves music, who appreciates Angela as much as I do. Beatrice, how did you know what I was thinking of, how I was feeling? It's amazing.
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Good job, Mr Constantinescu! I regret there were only 3 episodes. Raise your hand those who want more! Thank you in the name of all those people who watched the interview but don't know how to tell you this!
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Thank you, Mrs Gheorghiu, for being simply you!
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Are you curious to know what else Angela said in the interview? Give me a couple of days. It's worth waiting.
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The article is signed by Beatrice Lepadat (BIG THANK YOU) and published on Liternet.ro. You can read it in Romanian HERE. The translation is below.
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The TV show “Profile, Story, Character”, whose broadcast started in fall 2009 on TVR Cultural, had the third and final episode with Angela Gheorghiu as guest on October 22nd 2009. What we have seen during 2 weeks was the meeting between two original people, each in her/his own way: Angela Gheorghiu for the sincerity of the confession, striking sometimes, and Marius Constantinescu who had a difficult mission. What questions to ask a world famous diva? And more than that, how to ask questions to an artist about whom people say is “capricious”?
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But the young interviewer made everything flawless during this series of interviews. Neither the host nor the guest made us feel that they prepared in advance an impressive speech in order to be persuasive as professionals. For real professionals, also gifted with a great passion for art, each word comes out naturally but never randomly.
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During this last part of the interview, Angela Gheorghiu talked about what we hadn’t known about her artistic personality (but not only) and also about what we should forget about her. I’m talking here about the portrait press built up assiduously – the image of a capricious, sometimes hysteric diva that does everything she wants and pushes everybody back for her to be in front position.
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But her arguments against this idea made the point. Not by a perfect logic or loudly rhetoric, but using a sort of “resignation” of a human being aware of the inner beauty, who started to understand in time that the world or certain people are not necessarily the same.
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Her face and voice haven’t shown any sign of annoyance (justified in this case). And she clearly stated from the beginning: “these negative things are not part of me”. I bet it’s enough to listen to her for two hours to understand that only such a person can deliver with sensibility the drama of a Tosca or a Violeta.
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In any case, those who love her and followed her during this interview haven’t waited for polished speeches. The fans had the chance to witness again the overwhelming unforeseeableness of the artist. At a certain point you might get the impression that you already know what she’ll say next, that you know enough details of her biography to foresee a reaction or an answer. But Angela Gheorghiu is still fascinating by the originality shown at each public appearance.
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In the end, the artist was asked if she lacks something in order to feel accomplished. Knowing her as positive and optimistic all the time, I was sure she would say “no”. But she surprised us again: with her countless accomplishments, with all the love she gets from an enthusiastic audience, she confessed that she still has unfulfilled dreams, that she hopes and ligers for more.
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She freely but a little bit amused talked about Roberto Alagna’s jealousy (and it’s a pity that know we have to talk about him as “ex husband”) and about how she learned to accept this aspect. With the utmost sincerity the soprano revealed her inner and most hidden self without any trace of sensationalism or cheap novelty. In this context of revealing the personal life I can’t help mentioning the regret I feel watching images from the past with this couple inserted in the interview. But the nostalgia and sadness are soon tempered by the soft vibration of soprano’s words.
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During “Profile, Story, Character”, Angela Gheorghiu proved us again that beauty defies time, that people still come to the opera in search of harmony. I’m sure that if these words had come from a prig teacher I would have turned the TV off. But the presence of the soprano is magnetizing and those who cherish her know that every word is true. She wanted to stress upon the importance of pronunciation in opera, this being the main reason why she hasn’t performed a Russian opera yet.
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She has magic in speech, magic in her eyes and of course, in her voice. This is how the artist appeared during the dialog with Marius Constantinescu. I call this dialog rather than interview precisely because if we talked about sincerity it must be said that the producer of the broadcast hasn’t kept away from it. He hasn’t hidden the emotions, disappointments and satisfactions caused by the contact with the world of opera. Nowadays it seems that the pride of the high ratings broadcasts is that the moderators ask “uncomfortable” questions. With Marius Constantinescu I appreciated the fact that the questions, far away from being “easy”, have been “comfortable”, meaning that they help the guest feel good and tell everything as if talking to friends.
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This was an unusual meeting of the Romanian audience with the famous diva. It ended too soon but there’s a consolation: “Profile, Story, Character” goes on and after three episodes we trust that it will continue as attractive and provoking as it started.
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3 videos from Singapore concert

Just before moving on to the next concert, you have below three videos from the concert in Singapore on October 10th.
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Somebody who attended filmed this. It's not from TV as there's no logo on the image. I think it must have been filmed from the first row of the balcony. Paolo Olmi is conducting the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra.
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Verdi - La Traviata - Parigi o cara - Angela Gheorghiu and Marius Manea


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Puccini - La Boheme - Che gelida manina - Marius Manea


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Verdi - Luisa Miller - Quando le sere al placido - Marius Manea


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Marius Manea will perform again with Angela in the concert on November 10th, at Royal Festival Hall in London. He's replacing James Valenti. Due to the postponement of the concert (it was supposed to take place on October 2nd), Valenti couldn't reschedule.
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Tel Aviv - 2 days left

For the moment there's no program published for the concert on October 24th. They're the first ones in a long chain of concerts that don't say absolutely anything. Just "famous arias". Brilliant. Nobody would have imagined that, right?
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So, having no program to talk about, I was interested in the history of this orchestra I admire so much, the conductor and the hall.
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The 2009 - 2010 season (the 74th in the history of IPO) is dedicated to Zubin Mehta's 40th aniversary as music director of Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. He first conducted the IPO in 1961, was music adviser from 1969 and music director from 1977. In 1981 he was named music director for life. The season brochure shows him through the years. You can browse it here. A lot of artists come every year to Tel Aviv to perform with this great orchestra.
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Mann Auditorium is the hall that hosts all the concerts, home of IPO. It was opened in 1957 and Leonard Bernstein conducted the inaugural concert, with the pianist Arthur Rubinstein as soloist.
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The stage is designed to comfortably hold an orchestra of 120 members, and a chorus of up to 180 singers. Under the stage is an orchestra pit that can accommodate up to 60 players. The front of the stage can be opened to reveal the pit, enabling the orchestra to be heard throughout the hall. A built-in hydraulic lift can be used to raise and lower a piano, stage sets, or other equipment that can be held under the stage until needed.
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The hall contains 2,760 seats in a modified amphitheater arrangement, with its orchestra section framed by sloping wings leading to the balcony. Every seat offers a full and clear view of the stage.The floor of the hall is covered with Esche parquet, which adds to the acoustic qualities of the hall as well as to its beauty and to the walking comfort of the audience. The unique ceiling, built of pyramids stretching outward from the stage, is designed for optimal acoustical qualities.
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The Orchestra
On December 26th The Palestine Orchestra was born. The great Polish born Jewish violonist and musician, Bronislaw Huberman, who foresaw the Holocaust, persuaded 75 Jewish musicians from major European orchestras to immigrate to Palestine, creating on the sand dunes of Tel Aviv what he called "materialization of the Zionist culture in the fatherland".
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Huberman invited the greatest conductor of the time, Arturo Toscanini, to conduc the opening concert, performed at the Levant Fair Hall in Tel Aviv on December 26th 1936. Even if it was very difficult to keep playing, in 2006 the Orchestra celebrated its 70th birthday.
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Major soloists and conductors have always performed with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. For its inaugural concert its members traveled in armored cars to play in a besieged Jerusalem during the War of Independence and, among Israelis, the memory of IPO Laureate Conductor Leonard Bernstein conducting the Orchestra before 5,000 soldiers on the Negev dunes after the battle for Beersheba, is an historic moment. Through it all, the Orchestra has enjoyed associations with such renowned artists as Emanuel Ax, Daniel Barenboim, Yefim Bronfman, Principal Guest Conductor Yoel Levi, Yo-Yo Ma, Lorin Maazel, Honorary Guest Conductor Kurt Masur, Itzhak Perlman, Jean-Pierre Rampal, Arthur Rubinstein, Gil Shaham, Isaac Stern and Pinchas Zukerman. Their time and talent have enriched the cultural life of Israel and have helped the Orchestra to maintain its high artistic standards.
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So, you see... this will be a great concert! If you still don't believe, listen to them.
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Beethoven - Piano Concerto No.4 in G major Op.58 -I. Allegro moderato Pt.1/2
MITSUKO UCHIDA (pf) ZUBIN MEHTA (con) Israel Philharmonic Orchestra
Mann Auditorium, Tel Aviv 26 March 2002

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If somebody goes, please tell everybody how it was.
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Video from TVR Cultural interview

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The same person that sent the audio also sent me this fragment. Anonymus donnation :). This phrase reminds me of the programs at the ROH. "The performance of X in the title role is supported tonight by anonymous donnation" :)
The video is short but suggestive. It's the ending of the second part of the interview broadcasted on TVR Cultural on October 15th.
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This is what they're saying:
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* Montserrat Caballe came to Bucharest about 2 months ago. And I was one of those who raised and applauded when she entered the stage because she’s who she is and I wanted to listen to her live all my life. And after the first bars I was very, very sad and the feeling remained till she left It doesn’t matter.
* Not for her. It mattered for me. You had both happiness and sadness. I would have liked to ask at least 100 people in the audience if they liked or not.
* Maybe they liked it. Yes. If that artist makes so many people happy, why he/she shouldn’t accept the invitation? You’re right in what you say. It should be like that. When you feel the slightest uncertainty you should say “that’s enough”. I think it’s very difficult. And if you ask me what Angela will do, I don’t know. I want to have the strength to say “enough”, move on and enjoy what’s left.
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In the Singapore Botanic Gardens
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With conductor Paolo Olmi, during the concert on October 10th
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The pictures above belong to Angela's Official Website.
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For those who don't check the Official Site too often, there are several photos from Singapore posted there, both in Stage and Personal sections. So, please go to http://www.angelagheorghiu.com/ and enjoy the other pictures.
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Interview on TVR Cultural - part II - 15.10.2009

This is the audio of the second part of the interview on October 15th, broadcasted on TVR Cultural. Thanks to the anonymus who sent it to me. The contribution is highly appreciated. Maybe you have the video too?


Below there's the translation.
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Marius Constantinescu: I’m waiting for something else from this interview. Maybe more pauses, maybe some denials, maybe some rephrased question that could pass the star’s censorship. But it wasn’t like this at all, I have to confess. As spectator, I applaud the charismatic character on stage. As journalist, I have to let Angela Gheorghiu be herself. She proved no restrain in front of a genuine curiosity.
Angela Gheorghiu: Only those who performed with me can understand the strong connection that we have. And you can ask them about this.
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* Fragment from “Carmen” – ROH – Placido Domingo as Don Jose, Angela Gheorghiu as Micaela
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* I’m sure that back than when you started your international career you were appreciating some “gods” of the opera. I was curious if those “gods” remain gods when you performed with them on stage. Always. There are only a few exceptions that I don’t even want to talk about.
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* You, opera singers, are very discreet. When you have bad experiences or less enjoyable ones never say anything. Now that you said that, I’ll tell you something. After 10 years or so I met Montserrat Caballe. I worshiped her and I still do. She knew very well who I was. I was in Vienna and I went to listen to her at Musikverein. At that time I was singing at Staatsoper with Roberto and everybody was talking about us. After the concert I went backstage to congratulate her. And she asked me “You’re a singer too?” “Yes, in my spare time”.
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* Have you actually told her that? Yes. After that she apologized. But that was her first reaction. This was one of the experiences. I have others. One of them connected to a great Romanian soprano who welcomed me with open arms. It was my first appearance at “Do you like opera?” and I performed Addio del passato. One day later I went to see Traviata with Eugenia Moldoveanu. I was very nervous. When she opened the door and saw me and opened her arms towards me. She invited me at her place and she gave me a dress. She treated me exceptionally. After that I met another great person, Virginia Zeani. Now we’re so close that I call her “mama Virginia” and she calls me “my little girl”. I had another great experience with Renata Tebaldi. Before meting her, she had listened to my first recital CD with DECCA. And she sent me a marvelous letter. Imagine how I felt. So, besides that first experience with Montserrat Caballe (who’s famous for her humor so I guess for her it was a joke but I was shocked) I’ve never been disappointed when meeting someone.
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* Do you like comparisons? Yes. Because it proves people can make the difference. We’re talking here about a large family of singers. Those from the past, present and future. From this point of view I was never afraid. When I have a new project, a new role, I never think of somebody else. During a performance I don’t care if the audience is formed of singers. When I have something to do, I do it. I often laugh with the directors that say that I have emotions. Of course I have emotions. At the premiere we go on stage to take the applauses or boos. Some directors don’t even have the courage to come on stage knowing that not everything was fine. Usually when a show starts, the director stays at home. Their work has ended and mine just begins. Some opera singers complain about the directions. I went through all the stages of refuse, rejection. Those who know me say I’m the “black sheep”. But the evolution exists.
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* fragment from Faust – ROH 2004 – Angela Gheorghiu as Marguerite, Roberto Alagna as Faust, Bryn Terfel as Mephistopheles
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* You give the impression of a artist that knows herself very well and knows what’s best for her. I’m curious if during Angela Gheorghiu’s career there were uncertainties or maybe wrong steps. No. I trust my instinct. I had two negative experiences. Once I didn’t agree with Riccardo Muti when he said “I don’t do accompaniment”. But this is what you do. If you don’t do it you might change your job. He also said “I build the character”. “So you don’t need me anymore” I said. There was this conflict from the first meeting.
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*In Ravena? Yes. In that moment I understood we can’t communicate. We rehearsed once, twice, he hasn’t showed up for 3 weeks of direction rehearsals. He came in the last minute. He was raising his hand to the right; we were on the left side. Ok, these things happen, maybe he had something better to do. When I felt there’s something wrong I said “signori, addio, io me ne vado” (gentlemen, good bye, I leave).
The other bad experience was in Madrid. We started the rehearsals for Traviata. The director set the action at the beginning of the Second World War. There was something connected to the SS. I trusted him because we had worked together for another Traviata and it was ok. His new idea disturbed me. I couldn’t find myself in it. I didn’t know how to build the character. I was lost. And I said “I signed a contract for Traviata… you know, Verdi, Dumas…. I can’t find anything from it in here. I’m sorry but I leave”. And I left.
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* Have these happenings cost you anything? No, on the contrary.
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* Reputation, trust, money… The negative ones brought me opera sheets written for me, publicity I didn’t want. But they all hurt me. I suffered for all of them. Because of them people see in me a different person, opposite of what I really am. It doesn’t mean that if you want something you’re a difficult person. These things get mixed up. I learned a lot of what I told you about now. The first lesson I’ve learned is that when I have a new production or a revival I want to know everything before starting. I want to know the direction, to see the costume, to know about everything. If I accept and the first rehearsals start, it’s too late. You can’t simply disappear. The tickets are already sold, people want to see me, they have expectations. It happens to cancel the show due to illness. But when I take part in a production I feel extremely responsible, same as the theatre manager, the director, the conductor. We all want to make a good performance. I don’t remember going to the theatre and saying “today I’ll sing badly”. I don’t get there to get booed. I don’t go there to make fool of something or somebody. Everybody on stage must be looked up because they give everything. The fact that I’m on stage is the result of a continuous study during the lifetime.
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* Fragment from Traviata – La Scala 2007 – Angela Gheorghiu as Violeta, Ramon Vargas as Alfredo
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* Do you consider that you reached that stage in your career when you do the best for you? Yes.
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* There’s no obligation, no restraint. No.
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* You’re privileged. Yes. And I’m not ashamed for this. I think that everybody has this freedom. I tell these things to my colleagues and they say “You can afford doing this”. It’s not exactly like this. Everybody has the right to know what happens to him or her. Nobody forces you to sing a role. I take the liberty to find out why I have to sing in a certain production and not in another one.
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* Pictures from different productions
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* These days your name is first on the cast list, you’re the star, you’re the last one at the curtain call. What would happen when you won’t be in the spotlights anymore? Where do you see yourself in 20, 25 years? I really hope to exist 25 years from now. I love life very much. I was thinking if He says tomorrow “Angela, it’s over”, I’m happy and I thank God for what I had so far. But if He gives me the happiness of life, this would be my first joy, to sing. I love more things in life, such as nature, art. You asked me what I’d like to do. I receive a lot of suggestions: to establish a school, to teach, to direct. I remember now of Placido. He too has this passion of doing different things as long as they’re connected to the theatre, which can be like a drug.
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* I was thinking precisely of this drug when I asked you what would happen when years pass. Names of divas from the past that had a hard time giving up this life come to my mind. They wanted to be divas even when it wasn’t the case anymore. Will you have the wisdom and courage to step back from the spotlight? This is a Romanian way of thinking. Mirella Freni sung a lot, Montserrat Caballe too. Maybe when they started the career they told themselves “I’ll give up when time comes, I’ll do this and that”. Well, it’s not that easy. I try to imagine what Montserrat Caballe tells herself when she’s invited to sing. People want so much to see those they adore that they would be happy just to see them walk on stage, maybe to sing whatever they like using the key they want. Who can do it… why not?
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* fragment from La Fille de Regiment with Montserrat Caballe
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AG: It is difficult to understand that there are people, especially in classical music, that are very happy that a certain person exists and still can say “I went to see X or Y”. Also 30 or 40 year old singers can have bad nights. This can happen to anybody. When we buy a ticket we know that the person we’re about to see is 70 years old. It’s a convention. Theatre is a convention. Opera is a convention.
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* I enjoy this when what I listen to matches my expectations, to what I was used to see and hear. This might be a mistake. We have the CD and we want to listen live, on stage, what we have listened to at home. People who come to opera have a certain age, it was proved. There are also young people coming to opera but most of them are elder. And they set their minds on certain recordings with people in the past.
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* Montserrat Caballe came to Bucharest about 2 months ago. And I was one of those who raised and applauded when she entered the stage because she’s who she is and I wanted to listen to her live all my life. And after the first bars I was very, very sad and the feeling remained till she left It doesn’t matter.
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* Not for her. It mattered for me. You had both happiness and sadness. I would have liked to ask at least 100 people in the audience if they liked or not.
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* Maybe they liked it. Yes. If that artist makes so many people happy, why he/she shouldn’t accept the invitation? You’re right in what you say. It should be like that. When you feel the slightest uncertainty you should say “that’s enough”. I think it’s very difficult. And if you ask me what Angela will do, I don’t know. I want to have the strength to say “enough”, move on and enjoy what’s left.
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The next and last part of the interview will be broadcasted next Thursday, October 22nd, on TVR Cultural at 10:30pm, local time.

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Tel Aviv - One Time Gala

Not too much time left to the concert that will take place in Mann Auditorium, Tel Aviv, on October 24th. Angela Gheorghiu will be a special guest in Zubin Metha’s 40th anniversary as music director of the IPO. The program is not announced yet, but But Mr Mehta himself will conduct the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. I remember when they all came to the "George Enescu" Festival in 2005. Oh, what a concert it was! This is one of the two concerts I would have loved to attend this year, but they were too far away. The other one was in Abu Dhabi, with Jonas Kaufmann.
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Knowing this, I can only imagine how Angela's voice will sound accompanied by their music.

According to the website of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, this will be a one-time gala concert. I totally agree! I wish I could go.
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The price of the tickets is from 55 euro/ticket to 130 euro/ticket. But if you're willing to pay about 220 euro/ticket you can enjoy an after concert dinner at the Hilton Hotel. Mr Mehta is also invited so you'll have the opportunity to shake his hand and say "Thank you, Maestro!".
According to this WEBSITE and the translation Google gave, the Annual Gala Concert revenues will be used for music education project initiated by the Philharmonic Foundation.
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Also part of this fund raising there are three important concerts, on October 19th, 20th and 21st, all involving the pianist Lang Lang, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and Zubin Mehta.
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Program for October 19th and 20th
Oded Zehavi - Rock
Brahms - Symphony #3
Beethoven - Piano Concert #3
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Program for October 21st
Webber
Brahms - Symphony #3
Beethoven - Piano Concert #3
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Now, I don't know if it's a mistake that Google made when translating, but taken as it is, it is funny that they couldn't decide on the name of the soprano. They put there two versions, none of them correct. Maybe "gh" can't be written in Hebrew.

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NEW - picture from Singapore concert

Thanks to Dening who was very kind to send me this picture. He attended the concert in the Esplanade Hall in Singapore on October 10th and said it was a real joy. He also told me that there were no mics used and this might have affected hearing the voices up in the 3rd level.

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2 reviews from Singapore

I was sure that in about a week people will start writing reviews. And I was right.
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I found two long and informative review on Mad Scene Blog . Thanks for posting and thanks to those two people that wrote them: ST (an artistical review) and Christopher (a more technical review).
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Finally somebody mentions the encores. There were 5 of them:
* O mio babbino caro - Angela Gheorghiu
* Muzica - Angela Gheorghiu
* No puede ser - Marius Manea
* Granada - Angela Gheorghiu & Marius Manea
* Brindisi - Angela Gheorghiu & Marius Manea
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And some mentions about Angela's outfits - see the last paragraph in Christopher's review.
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ST’s Review
Opera Gala Performance (10.10.2009 at the Esplanade Concert Hall)
Singapore Sun Festival 2009
Angela Gheorghiu, soprano
Marius Manea, tenor
Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Paoli Olmi
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Programme
1. Verdi - Overture to La Forza del Destino
2. Verdi - La Traviata “Parigi o cara”
3. Catalani – La Wally “Ebben? Ne andro lontana”
4. Puccini - La Boheme “Che gelida manina”
5. Verdi - Prelude to Act 1 La Traviata
6. Donizetti - L’Elisir D’amore “Caro elisir”
Intermission
7. Verdi - Overture to Giovanna d’Arco
8. Mascagni – L’Amico Fritz “Suzel bon di”
9. Verdi – Luisa Miller “Quando la sere al placido”
10. Puccini – Madama Butterfly “Un bel di vedremo”
11. Mascagni – Intermezzo from Cavalleria Rusticana
12. Puccini – La Boheme “O soave fanciulla”
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Singapore opera lovers’ much anticipated evening has finally arrived. The concert hall was almost a full house on 10 October 2009. Under the direction of Maestro Paoli Olmi, the orchestra started off the evening with the dramatic overture to Verdi’s “La Forza del Destino”. Upon the conclusion of this famous overture, the star of the evening, Angela Gheorghiu appeared on stage with her co-star, tenor Marius Manea amidst enthusiastic greetings.
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As a reward to the enthusiastic audience, Gheorghiu was in fine voice throughout the evening. She also showcased no fewer than 3 outfits (at least one was rather revealing). On the official programme, she sang 2 arias and participated in 4 duets.
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The La Wally aria was a bit wobbly at times but the ever popular “Un bel di, vedremo” was radiant and moving. In the duets, she was in turn teasing as Adina (L’Elisir D’amore), and shy and charming as Suzel (L’Amico Fritz). She was musically perfect in the opening “Parigi o cara” but the performance did not suggest Violetta’s tragic condition at all. Perhaps this was the first vocal item of the evening and the singers were not quite warmed up yet. The “La Boheme” love duet at the end of the programme showcased some really beautifully held high notes.
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Compared to her famous recordings, the real thing when heard live had a softer quality, bit less metal in it, more velvet liked. Compared to Moffo’s voice in the 50s and early 60s, both had beautiful lyric voices but Moffo’s voice could be more harsh and metallic when forced. Ghoerghiu’s was smoother, always maintaining that velvet quality and thus making it sound more beautiful.
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The Romanian tenor Marius Manea was a singer new to me. His voice was that of a lyric tenor, with colours that are reminiscent of Nicola Gedda even if not as polished. Perhaps with time he would be adding heavier roles to his repertoire. He made a tentative start in “Parigi o cara”, then settled down and sang a good “Che gelida manina”. In the duets, he was most charming as Nemorino (L’Elisir D’amore) and Fritz (L’Amico Fritz), and was suitably ardent in the Boheme love duet. The recitative leading up to the Rodolfo’s famous aria in Verdi’s Luisa Miller might have been a shade too heavy for his voice at the moment, but the aria itself was beautifully phrased. He demonstrated superb breath control and ended the aria with its high option which earned much applause from the audience.
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The singers sang no less than 5 encore pieces. Gheorghiu started off with a ravishing account of Puccini’s famous “O mio babbino caro” which brought down the house. She then sang that Romanian song “Muzica” which she recorded and sang often at concerts. Manea then took over and sang “No puede ser”, a Spanish aria first introduced to me by Placido Domingo at the first 3 Tenor Concert in 1990. Haunted by that vivid memory of the great Placido Domingo, I found Manea’s voice a shade too light for this excerpt. Perhaps an aria from “L’Elisir D’amore” or “La Traviata” would suit his voice better for the time being. The 2 singers then joined forces to sing Lara’s “Granada” and concluded the concert with that obligatory “Brindisi” from “La Traviata”.
Throughout the evening, the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra provided splendid support under the direction of Maestro Paoli Olmi. In addition to the overture from “La Forza del Destino,’ they also played the overture to “Giovanna d’Arco” and gave beautiful accounts of Prelude to Act 1 of ”La Traviata” and the famous “Intermezzo” from “Cavalleria Rusticana” by Mascagni. I am sure most audience members went home very happy after the 2 hour concert.
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Christopher’s review:

Angela Gheorghiu, Marius Manea, Paolo Olmi with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra delivered an excellent selections of 19th century Opera highlights at the Esplanade on 10 October. The most well known amongst Singapore audiences, Angela Gheorghiu certainly lived up her reputation as an international artist, but that did not stop conductor Olmi from stealing a lot of the limelight from her.
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Structurally, the concert program came with a symmetrical plan:

Orchestral
Duet
Soprano aria
Tenor aria
Orchestral
Duet
intermission
Orchestral
Duet
Tenor aria
Soprano aria
Orchestral
Duet
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The conductor certainly had given thought to such a symmetrical line-up, allowing the soloists to demonstrate their virtuosity at the same time permitting the orchestra to show off fireworks as well. The opera selections was balanced with excerpts from all the major Italian opera composers of the 19th century.
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The conductor gave a very balanced chiaroscuro between the soloists and the orchestra. He gave the soloist the liberty of tempo-rubato, yet was able to direct the orchestra to come in precisely. Difficult recitative and fast passages are well supported showing the artistry of the maestro.
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Angela was just a little restrained at Verdi “Parigi o cara” (then again, Violetta was ill, and expected to have a restrained dynamics), but fully warmed up at Catalani’s “Ebben”, in which she displayed her full dynamic range, great sensitivity towards Catalani’s subtle tonal changes, and her beautiful portamento. She got better and better, and her Puccini “Un Bel Di Vedremo” was the best moment of the concert. Even though it was a concert performance, her delivery was so convincing that it had the presence of a staged performance.
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Romanian Tenor Marius Manea was straight into form with the first “Traviata” duet, displaying great dynamic range. His “Che Gelida Manina” was taken with a slower tempo, creating a more pensive feel while displaying fine technical control leading up to the sustained high “C”. He executed agogic accents to enhance the intense emotion, excellent enunciation of consonants and ringing vowels. He was at his best in Verdi’s “Quando le sere al Placido”. There were great moments when he dared to use a rough, raw quality in the voice to display great emotions… Ah!!! That natural quality bites so well that the audience gave him a standing oviation at the end of this aria.
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Next the duet selections:
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In the first duetto, Verdi’s “Parigi o cara”, the orchestra was slightly overpowered by both soloists, especially during the pizzicato of the strings. This duetto ended wonderfully with the voices of both soloists ringing down the hall, and the conductor sensitively ended the orchestra to let that ringing echo on.
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The second duetto, Donizetti “Caro Elisir” was a difficult selection. Particularly the opening recitative, there were a lot of changes in tonality within every phrase, and the soloist would experience difficulties in maintaining the tone centre. Especially in the tenor’s part, where he had to be just that little “off-pitch” to make act out the effect of the magic elixir is having on his character, but too much of which becomes unmusical. This was probably the most virtuosic piece in the entire concert, and the conductor rightfully chose it to close the first half of the concert. Alas, there was an inappropriate clapping midway when Angela (as Adina) sang “Bravissimo! La lezionn ti giova”, where, as in many stage productions, the audience entered with applause.
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The third duetto, after the exciting Verdi “Giovanna d’Arco” overture (more about that later), is the jovial Mascagni “Suzel, Buon di!”. The soloists are totally at ease, their light-hearted acting added a lot of presence to the music, and the beautiful duet weaved on, to a magical moment of allargando (Alas, a cough from audience ruined the moment).
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The forth duetto, Puccini “O suave fanciulla” was the best performed item in the entire concert. Such beautiful singing and music making for such a well-written opera, the magic of the moment was so lovely that this reviewer is not going to spoil it by going into details. Rightfully this piece ended the concert with the soloists walking towards the exit.
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Now the orchestra selections:
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The overture to “La forza del destino” opened the concert with a big bang. Immediately it showcased the virtuosity of the woodwinds and brass as well as well articulated strings. Immediately, it established the artistry of the maestro and the well-rehearsed orchestra (both relatively unknown to Singapore audiences).
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The prelude to Act 1 of “La Traviata” allowed the soloists to rest and prepare for the demanding “Cherry Duet” to come. To this reviewer, this was the only weak part of the whole concert, where the strings sounded a little untidy, but it was forgivable.
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The overture to “Giovanna d’Arco” after intermission was the best performed orchestral piece. This piece is probably the least known to audience, so the freshness added to the magic fireworks. Once again, the clean teamwork showed the commanding power of the conductor. The ensemble effect was so exciting and aptly opened the second half of the concert.
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“Intermezzo” from “Cavalleria Rusticana” showcased the best of the string playing, satin-like and sensual, the singing tone of the violins were well supported by the cellos and double basses. It was an impressive performance of this well-known piece.
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Finally, the encores: Angela was in total command as the diva. She sang “O mio babino caro” (excellently) and her usual romanian “Muzika” (with “BOOMZ”). Manea sang a Spanish song “No puede ser”, which was free and exciting, leading to the soloists to sing another infectious Spanish song, the popular ”Granadas”.
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At this time, the audience were so receptive that Verdi “Brindisi” from “La Traviata” was certainly appropriate to close the evening. Angela asked the audience to sing along, and the conductor turned around and signalled to the audience to follow him. He did more than the usual “interative” portion, and actually asked the audience to follow his dynamic (sorry to say that the audience did not understand his conducting, but what a nice way to end the concert). This was really a fun piece, and nice way to end a magical night of music.
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What do i dislike about the concert? Actually the audience was well behaved and had very little interruption (except for the really unforgivable cough for the Cherry Duet). But this reviewer could not resist complaining about Angela’s gowns and hair-do: she had three gowns: a tacky black gown for the first half of the concert (that was more fitting for getai than a gala), a cerrulein-blue gown for the first part of the second half, and a revealing (and distracting) red gown for the second part of the second half (others might have appreciated the almost see-through lace more; as Bruno would say, “she must produce a lot of milk!”). She highlighted her hair with blue-green colours (terrible) and she certainly needed to re-bond her hair (unless she was planning to sing some mad scenes!)

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