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Interview on Antena 2 - part 3

You said that if Puccini was alive you would be in love with him. I’m sure that you’d manage to make him give up his bad habits.
No, definitely no. I was thinking of him as musician. Yes, when I study the work I’m also interested in the person. Giacomo Puccini always fascinated me. He was a high class bohemian with a great personality. I like people with personality.
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Tell me, isn’t it too much to have two swords in the same sheath?
What do you mean?
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You and your husband.
Yes, you can say that. When we do a performance together or when we want the same thing at the same time. The issue is with our personalities. Roberto is French of Sicilian origin which is worse than our Latin way of being. I was always aware that Angela is an artist, Roberto is an artist and us together form the third artist. In time our careers separated us mainly because our repertoire. At some point I refused doing what he was doing. Our job involves traveling 90% of the time. This started to be a problem. It gets difficult seeing each other if we don’t sing together. So the swords split. But we both know that starting 1996 that we were a phenomenon. Never a tenor and a soprano had sung so much together.
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Due the situation, is there a chance for a new love?
I can’t guarantee anything for anybody. I thought that it would have been better for each of us follow our own destinies. Roberto thinks that this is a stage in our lives and that I need some time for myself.
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Do you have more freedom now?
I have always been free. The real problem was jealousy. When there are other partners or projects that Roberto is not involved in he didn’t like it.
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Are you jealous?
Yes. But he understood that everything I chose to do, professionally speaking, is not meant to prove something or to hurt someone. I do what I think is good for me.
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Are you well organized?
Yes. For example I know the place and time I will be in in 2014. It seems strange but that’s it. Now when I’m talking to you I should have been at Metropolitan in New York for a production of Carmen. But I decided to cancel it as I considered it would be better to keep some distance from Roberto. And I didn’t want to tell somebody else to leave. I have never done that. I dropped out.
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Was anybody angry?
No. Because we talked to each other and accepted the situation. If there’s no acceptance in a couple, then there’s nothing.
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Is love missing from your life?
Not at all. For me Roberto is the love of my life. And I’m the same for him. There’s something that can’t be described. When we’re on stage it happens something that it’s difficult to be explained. But the artist and the person don’t always have the same faith.
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People fell in love with Angela Gheorghiu when they saw you in La Boheme in 1992. You were at the beginning of your career; you were in London which is known as an expensive city. How did you manage to live?
It was difficult but I was lucky. I debuted at Covent Garden which was the only place I auditioned after graduating the Conservatory. And I immediately received an important role.
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Who told you that Covent Garden was the right place to go to?
Nobody. I followed my instinct. And after debuting with such a big part everybody knew who I was. The press, media, my recordings also supported this.
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Did this new situation scare you?
No, because I understood that this is part of the system, of my life. I was never bothered by photographers. People think that I belong to them. I’m on stage to give them a little magic. And I love the stage with all it involves: the dust, the craziness, I like to be applauded. I can’t be happy about this just at home, with my family. It’s difficult to show myself in front of the audience but it gives me a huge satisfaction. There’s nothing else like this in the whole world.
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You were coming from a strict system, Communism.
I wasn’t part of this system. Communism supported artists and sportsmen. Since I was 18 I was surrounded by lights, mics, cameras, concert halls. There was no important show without me taking part.
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But when you went to London you faced the grandeur of the West.
It wasn’t like that. There isn’t any difference between the feeling on stage in London or Bucharest. I think it was harder in Bucharest.
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After you started earning money, what was the most expensive item you bought?
A little bit of everything. I have a story that journalists find strange. I used to take pictures of shops that sold fruit and flowers, clothes and everything. I was fascinated.
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What were you doing with the photos?
They’re part of my collection. They’re an exercise of discovery.
I never made a difference between a stage in Romanian and one abroad. I never wanted to be asked when I left Romania. I never left. I have a home somewhere else, it’s true. But I did what all the artists in this world do.
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Do you still have that red dress that you were wearing when you first went to Covent Garden? That red dress that your mother made for you.
Yes, it’s true. And when I first went to London I didn’t speak English very well. I asked somebody where the stage door of the opera is. He showed me. It was very close as I already was on Floral Street. That person was the director of the opera.
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You made men cry when listening to you. What does it mean for you? Has anybody told you this?
I saw it. I lived such emotions. And knowing the effect I get more and more nervous myself. And I feel I have to give my best. And I take the chance of being judged as a difficult person. I never asked something for myself. Everything was related to the performance.
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You know important people around the world. You met the Queen of Great Britain and Prince Charles.
Thanks to the internet you know can find about all the places I’ve been in the past 20 years. I met a lot of people and some of them remained my friends.
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I know that you were at the White House a few days ago, on December 10th if I remember well, singing in front of the President of USA.
It’s almost correct. I was invited at the White House along with many other artists. After that he came to the show I took part in at Kennedy Center.
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What about Meryl Streep’s reaction when meeting you?
She’s one of the most famous actresses in this moment. She knew about me but it was the first time we met. And I’m very glad that all these people got the chance to listen to me not just talk to me. Her reaction impressed me. I prepared to say nice things to her. And instead she came to me and told me she’d like to be born again to get to be like me.
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What reaction do you get from your girls?
My daughter Ioana is now in college studying management and foreign languages. She recently started some acting classes. And there’s also Ornela. She’s studying cinematography. And they are very good friends.
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