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Contact: irina.stanescu@ymail.com
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Angela on the cover of TABU magazine or "the hi-tech diva"

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Mrs Gheorghiu is on the cover of March issue of the Romanian magazine "Tabu" (it will be available starting tomorrow, March 1st). And the post on Cristina Bazavan's blog of the magazine promisses many more photos. The hi-tech, disco-rock Angela, a different perspective than the one everybody is used to (this is the style of the magazine). The photos will be accompanied by a nice story - "we entered Angela Gheorghiu's bedroom". The two photos I posted here belong to Tabu Magazine.
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And here's a bit of the article, as it was published on the same blog:
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I spread the dresses on the large bed, letting them cover the royal velvet bed spread. I put the shoes on the soft carpet. I smiled seeing the Toma Caragiu movie collection near the TV and I admired the gramophone stylishly placed on a marble pillar next to the balcony door. I smiled seeing some fluffy, bear faced slippers near the wall, next to a guitar box full of stickers.
Even if it hadn't been for the wooden commode with mysterious small boxes from all over the world on top of it, even if I hadn't spotted the annotated scores on the chair next to the bed, I would still have known that we are inside the bedroom of a diva. From the beige curtains to the pillows on the armchair next to the bed, everything suggested voluptuousness and indulgence.
"Shall I try them?" she plainly asked us when she entered the bedroom and saw tens of outfits. Laura politely suggested that she can try them only if she feels necessary. "oh, no, if we must choose, then we try them" she said throwing the tassel cap in the middle of the bed. With this playful gesture Angela Gheorghiu was ready to try the first dress.
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More about this... tomorrow.

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Free Classical Superstars CD with The Mail on Sunday

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One free CD plus the opportunity to buy the second part of the compilation for just 3,50 UK pounds. This is the offer The Mail makes to its readers on February 28th. It features 14 pieces from the greatest operas sung by world-famous artists including Lesley Garrett, Angela Gheorghiu, Placido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti, all accompanied by the sensational musicians of renowned orchestras. The full details can be founf on The Mail website
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The track listing includes:
1. Libiamo Ne' Lieti Calici (Brindisi) from La Traviata
2. Un Bel Dì Vedremo from Madama Butterfly
3. Votre Toast Je Peux Vous Le Rendre (Toreador Song) from Carmen
4. Una Furtiva Lagrima from L'Elisir d'amore
5. Largo Al Factotum from Il barbiere di Siviglia
6. Thy Hand Belinda... When I Am Laid In Earth from Dido and Aeneas
7. Grand March from Aida
8. Soave Sia Il Vento from Così fan tutte
9. E Lucevan Le Stelle from Tosca
10. Va Pensiero Sull' Ali Dorate (Chorus Of The Hebrew Slaves) from Nabucco
11. La Donna È Mobile from Rigoletto
12. Se Quel Guerrier Io Fossi... Celeste Aida from Aida
13. Vesti la Giubba from Pagliacci
14. Non Più Andrai from The Marriage of Figaro
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More information about the second CD can be read HERE.

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Virginia Zeani: "I did 71 different roles, from 1948 to 1982"

Virginia Zeani and Nicola Rossi Lemeni
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This is the third and last part of the interview. Virginia Zeani tells the beautiful story of her meeting with Nicola Rossi Lemeni, there are more thoughts on La Rondine and in the end again Angela's voice speaking about how it's like to share emotions on stage with the person you love.
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It was impressive for me to listen to Mrs Zeani. She has so many things to say about Puccini and his works. If you have time, listen to the other 7 episodes of the interview. And if you missed the first two parts, you can read them here:
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Virginia Zeani: It’s always a matter of relativity when talking about the beauty of the opera. Critics always disregard it when comparing to other operas by Puccini. But I don’t trust them. I loved to sing it. For me Puccini is not more or less important. Puccini is Puccini and you have to sing it how he would have wanted, how he felt the voice and the character on stage.
Luminita Arvunescu: Magda has a few arias in the opera
VZ: She has “Il bel sogno di Doretta” and another one, in pianissimo, that also involves dancing. But the most beautiful part in this opera is the concertato in the second act. I gave an encore for it in many theatres. It wasn’t only my merit. The tenor and the choir were there too.
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LA: It’s very interesting how after 25 years after Manon Lescaut Puccini managed his coming back to high class society of Paris.
VZ: Paris was more romantic than Italy, than Rome or Milan. Paris was stylish, full of lights, of women who had the habit of being lovers of rich people. Magda is part of these beautiful women. It was said that the women in Paris were the most beautiful. Then somebody said the Romanian women going to Paris were the most beautiful.
LA: Was it true?
VZ: It’s what I heard. People were telling me “Oh, you’re Romanian”. Romanian meant also beautiful. Women in Paris were not afraid to show what they had. It was not the case in Italy.
LA: Puccini was courageous to depict this atmosphere.
VZ: Yes, he was. He couldn’t have done anything without courage. As courageous as Verdi was when he composed La Traviata. Puccini loved the woman. She was number one in his life.
LA: He loved especially the women with strong personality. Not necessarily young, inexperienced women but mature women who knew how to love.
VZ: The intelligent man needs inspiration in music and love. We learn them but sometimes it’s too late.
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LA: In the first act Madga says “love blossoms, protect your heart”. What had Virginia Zeani felt when meeting Nicola Rossi Lemeni? You owe me this answer.
VZ: I performed with Nicola when I replaced Callas in I Puritani, in Florence, in 1952. But I couldn’t see him very well. He was hired at La Scala was only coming to Florence in the evening, to sing with me. Callas was doing Norma in La Scala and she couldn’t be also in Florence to sing in I Puritani. So I sung there and my career started somehow there. Nicola was already dressed when we met and wearing a grey beard (he was my father in the opera) and I always thought he’s more mature. I was 26 and he was 31. He asked me on stage who I was. I told him I was Virginia Zeani and I came from Romania a few years before. This was our first meeting. After that we haven’t seen each other for four years. We met again in La Scala. I had a part in Giulio Cesare by Handel. And Giulio Cesare was Nicola. We liked each other so much that he proposed me after only one week.
LA: And you agreed.
VZ: I didn’t think too much. I waited two or three days to be sure he doesn’t have a previous commitment. I said yes and three moths after we had the civil marriage in Milan. On July 2nd 1957 we had the religious marriage, also in Milan, in a church on Via della Passione. I’ve been Virginia Rossi Lemeni since then. From all the points of view. The decision of having a family was very important.
LA: How long was you marriage?
VZ: We were married for 34 years. And this last July (note: July 2008) it would have been 51 years. I life dedicated to Nicola Rossi Lemeni and to the stage.
LA: Prunier says in La Rondine that the destiny of a woman is written in the palm of her hand. What was your destiny written on?
VZ: It’s important that I got out from Solovastru. People called it a little village. It’s a lovely village with great people. I got to Bucharest for highschool and the first year of the Conservatory. Then I went to Italy and managed to have a career of 34 years and then a career of 24 years of teaching in one of the most prestigious American universities, that’s important. My talent and tenacity helped me a lot. I did 71 different roles from 1948 to 1982. 34 years.
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VZ: This dialogue should be as honest as my life was.
LA: That’s why I try to mix information from your private life with facts from Puccini’s operas
VZ: I don’t think that when I was younger things were better or worse. Everything changed, from any point of view. People develop. Most of the times it’s a good development. There are also some problems, but they can be improved.
LA: Going back to La Rondine, do you think that they speak more about love or the characters actually love each other?
VZ: Love is superficial in La Rondine. It’s not a strong one like the love in Madama Butterfly. Or a jealous love that we find in Tosca, or Mimi’s gentle, delicate love. The characters are different but they are all women with a great soul.
LA: What about the music? Does it reach the level of the other operas? It’s not a trap. I just want to know your opinion.
VZ: How could I judge Puccini’s music when I used to cry only listening to it, before learning it better? Even now, when I listen to a performance on the radio, I cry as if listening to it for the first time. I was touched when listening to La Boheme at the Metropolitan, La Boheme in Paris and London, when the sopranos are remarkable. The way Angela is, and I’m not saying it because she’s my follower but she’s a woman of her times. We think alike in an evolutional way.
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Weather Angela Gheorghiu is or isn’t Virginia Zeani’s follower in the world of opera, we can still talk about. But there is one fact. Both married to famous opera singers, unique in their ways, they lived everything at double intensity, the emotions but also the success brought in their lives by the other half.
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Angela Gheorghiu: This also brings us together. We both know how it is to be married to a great artist. Somebody that does the exact thing you’re doing. We’re like a reflection. The emotions on stage are double. Nobody can understand this unless she or he experiences it. It’s even harder for me because the tenor is always my partner or lover on stage, the one I share all the drama with. When you care about the person next to you, the emotions are overwhelming and I try to overcome them. I can’t be impassible to his feelings. I leave home together with Roberto and I know how he feels, how he slept. All that’s concerning him is also concerning me. And he feels the same, I’m sure. The emotion that we have together is our biggest gain, and it’s also a gain for the audience.
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LA: One of the accomplishments of the couple Angela Gheorghiu and Roberto Alagna is the studio recording of La Rondine, in 1996.
AG: I managed to promote La Rondine more and more because it’s not staged too often and not too many people understand its importance. It was Roberto’s idea and EMI agreed. We wanted to record an opera important for both of us and not very well known. And the trio, with Antonio Pappano, proved to be a winning one.
LA: In December you’re singing it at the Metropolitan.
AG: Yes. Now it’s a sort of Puccini Festival for me. I’m going to San Francisco for La Boheme, then there’s La Rondine whose premiere is on New Year’s Eve.

LA: Maybe we’ll be able to broadcast live this performance with Angela Gheorghiu and Roberto Alagna singing the title roles. La Rondine, the Swallow, on a libretto by Giuseppe Adami, was premiered in Monte Carlo on March 27th 1917. Hoping that you’ve enjoyed this fifth broadcast that I produced in dialogue with the soprano Virginia Zeani, celebrating 150 years from the birth of the Italian composer, I say good bye to you.
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Angela Gheorghiu will perform in Romeo and Juliette in 2011 at the MET

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And the rumours were true. Angela stars in Romeo and Juliette next to Piotr Beczala. And Placido Domingo is conducting. March 3rd to March 26th, 7 performances with the same cast.
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Another confirmed rumour is Roberto's presence in Don Carlo, in some of the performances between November 22nd and December 18th.
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What else is there?
* Armida and Capriccio with Renee Fleming
*Boris Godunov with Rene Pape
*Carmen with Elina Garanca
*Le Comte Ory with Damrau/Di Donato/Florez
*Don Pasquale with Anna Netrebko
*Simon Boccanegra with Fritoli/Vargas/Hvorostovki/Furlanetto
*Tosca with Radvanovky/Alvarez and Urmana/Licitra
*Die Walkure with Kaufmann/Voight/Terfel/Blythe
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And many more. See all the details on the MET Web Site
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Playbill Arts also mentions the new Live in HD Season. Sorry, no Romeo&Juliette :( but Don Carlo is included. Read the ARTICLE for a very comprehensive review of the new season at the MET.
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The Met: Live in HD 2010-11 Series
The 2010-11 season of The Met: Live in HD will feature 11 transmissions, beginning on October 9 with Das Rheingold and continuing with Boris Godunov (October 23), Don Pasquale (November 13), Don Carlo (December 11), La Fanciulla del West (January 8), Iphigénie en Tauride (February 26), Lucia di Lammermoor (March 19), Le Comte Ory (April 9), Capriccio (April 23), Il Trovatore (April 30), and Die Walküre (May 14). The company’s enormously successful, Peabody and Emmy Award-winning series of live transmissions into movie theaters in 44 countries and more than 1000 theaters around the world has sold more than 1.8 million tickets so far during the 2009-10 season. With two transmissions remaining in the fourth season of the popular series (Hamlet on March 27 and Armida on May 1) attendance is expected to exceed two million, effectively tripling the Met’s paying audience (approximately 800,000 people attend performances in the opera house in a Met season).
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New York Times also brings bad news for Met goers: The cost of an average individual ticket will rise by 11 percent, while subscriber tickets will go up an average of 6 percent. But the productions there worth spending more money, right?
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Zeani: "I first sung Magda at 46"

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Thoughts on La Rondine from Mrs Zeani. And some very nice words from Roberto on how she influenced him in a certain moment of his life.
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Part 2 of the radio intreview with Virginia Zeani broadcasted on Radio Romania Muzical in October 2008. The first part is HERE.
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All the time during our dialogue Mrs Zeani expressed one regret. That she hasn’t taken more care of her image as artist that she hasn’t made more recordings. And she almost persuaded me. But I talked to Angela Gheorghiu and Roberto Alagna, both of them stating to have met and cherished the soprano Vigrinia Zeani listening to her voice long before meeting her in person. If for many of us life is not a game of chess that allows changes, in the end the most interesting parts come first. Speaking of Mrs Zeani, live recordings proved to be good enough to promote her glory after she retired.
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Roberto Alagna: I have beautiful memories related to Virginia Zeani. I knew her though her records.
LA: You were already married to Angela Gheorghiu.
RA: I’ve always loved music. I have a large collection of LPs and CDs so I knew about her long before. She stayed with us in London for a few days. And we had the chance to know each other better.
LA: She’s the gentlest person on earth.
RA: Yes, she’s very modest but at the same time she has the “sacred fire” in her eyes. When I was in London I was writing a book about myself, a sort of story of my family.
LA: The one you published in France?
RA: Yes. And she was reading what I was writing. She was the first person to read the book.
LA: Now she’s the one writing a book of dialogues, in cooperation with Sever Voinescu. You should be the first one to read it. You owe her this.
RA: It’s true. But I was glad because when she was reading, I could see the reaction in her eyes. And this helped me a lot. Virginia is like family to me. She’s not an inapproachable diva. On the contrary, when we met it was like we had known each other forever.
LA: Despite the fact that she was a great artist, a true diva of the opera.
RA: I admire her a lot. I admire the singers that have the courage to do the impossible.
LA: She did that.
RA: Yes, she did. She found the energy to sing so many operas. She did it at the highest level and with an amazing voice. She’s not only a great artist but also a vocal phenomenon, such as Maria Callas, Nicolai Gedda. There are only a few phenomenal singers and she’s part of them.
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Mrs Zeani in the part on Olimpia in Les Contes D'Hoffmann
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You listened to the thoughts of the star tenor Roberto Alagna about the artistic destiny and the person that is Virginia Zeani. And maybe it’s not coincidence that she was close to him in some important moments of his life. Virginia Zeani is the artist that has accompanied us for the past five nights thought the labyrinth of Puccini’s work. Today she’s talking about the part of Magda from La Rondine.
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Virginia Zeani: The part of Magda in La Rondine is a sort of compromise between Violetta and Musetta, a little bit comic, a little bit tragic. But the end is tragic and not how somebody would have foresaw according to Puccini’s initial score. The character is funny in the beginning and sad in the end, giving up Rugero whom she had fell in love with. I think there should be at least 20 years between them. Rugero was 21 and she must have had 42. I always thought of the age of the characters I brought to life. And I was trying to have the proper voice and appearance.
LA: How old were you when you first sung the part of Magda?
VZ: It was the year my father died in a car accident, 1971. Each summer my mother and father were visiting their friends in Romania. For them Solovastru was the most important place in the world. Rome came on the second place. They were very connected to Solovastru. I feel closer to it more than to Bucharest, after 61 years. The birth place remains always connected to you. I did La Rondine 10 days after my father’s death. I had to sing it in Luca, close to the birth place of Puccini.
LA: And to be a fashionable character.
VZ: She’s a character in between Traviata and somebody else.
LA: So Mrs Zeani was 46 when she first performed the part of Magda, the main character of a German libretto translated for Puccini by Giuseppe Adami. Her story is tragic, the same as all love stories with Puccini. I commented it with Mrs Zeani. But not as tragic as in La Boheme, Manon Lescaut, Madama Butterfly or Tosca. The two lovers are alive in the end but they separate forever because Magda, the same as a swallow, will return to the previous life style, giving up her chance for happiness.
VZ: It’s very easy to render the character if you have a flexible voice. It’s not vocally dangerous, it’s based on some pianissimos and puccinian influences where forte becomes piano and piano becomes forte. These vocal colors must dominate.
LA: Besides that tragic moment when you first performed the role, did you enjoy singing it?
VZ: Yes. When you go on stage everything disappears, no matter how you feel like because the character is important. I managed to do that and I performed it several times. Not too many times because it was not staged too often. It will be staged next year at the Metropolitan.
LA: With Angela and Roberto.
VZ: I hope I’ll be strong enough to go there to applaud them.
LA: I’m sure you’ve already been invited.
VZ: Sure. They are very nice and gentle people, with me and everybody that appreciates them.
LA: La Rondine seems to me a teamwork opera, more than others we’ve talked about.
VZ: Yes, there are pairs that work together. Just like Mimi and Rodolfo. In the end Magda has to give up Ruggero.
LA: Puccini was asked to write La Rondine by the directors of Karltheater in Vienna in 1913. Puccini was there on the occasion of a new production of his opera The Girl of Golden West that had its world premiere in 1910 at Metropolitan Opera in New York. He liked the story that he was supposed to put on music from the first moment. Only that the war started and it was very difficult to travel to Europe. In 1916 it seemed that La Rondine will never be premiered. Eventually Puccini sells the right to a company from Milan who manages to set the premiere date to March 27th 1917 at Theatre du Casino in Monte Carlo. Was it a triumph? No. Was it something new, exotic, and overwhelming? No. But the music itself is a delight.
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Virginia Zeani sings Magda’s famous aria from the first act on the LP “Puccini recial” recorded with Decca.
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Part 3 - coming soon...
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Virginia Zeani talks about La Rondine. Angela & Roberto talk about Mrs Zeani

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I found this photo inside the Opera House in Bucharest. At the first floor, before entering the balcony, there's a dusty display of old but very valuable stuff found in the archives (pictures, some of them autographed, posters, costumes). There are several other pictures of Mrs Zeani and I'll put them here one by one.
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Fascinating details from the private life but also from the life on stage are presented in this interview that Luminita Arvunescu made with the great soprano Virginia Zeani in October 2008. Radio Romania Muzical celebrated Puccini and thought that Mrs Zeani has a lot to say about this. 71 roles on the most important stages, a life full of love, stories about famouse people in her life... all these were told in a very long interview (in Romanian). There are 8 episodes (see HERE), each one dedicated to a particular opera. Click on the name of the opera to listen to the episode:
*4 - Tosca (interview with baritone Nicolae Herlea and tenor Corneliu Fanateanu)
*5 - La Rondine (interview with Angela Gheorghiu and Roberto Alagna)
*8 - Anniversary edition dedicated to Mrs Zeani with the participation of Her Royal Highness Queen Ana of Romania and His Royal Highness Price Radu Duda
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Angela and Roberto were preparing La Rondine for the Met premiere on December 31st 2008 at that time. They speak a lot about Mrs Zeani and how she influenced their ways in music. And if you've never heard Roberto speaking Romanian, this is your chance.
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This is the first part. The entire interview has 50 minutes and there's also a lot of music. It was a true pleasure listening to it again. And I thought some of you might enjoy it too. Listen and read. Don't just read because you also have to listen to THE VOICE.

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Virginia Zeani – Tribute to Puccini, 150 years
Radio interview with Virginia Zeani, Angela Gheorghiu and Roberto Alagna
A program by Luminita Arvunescu
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Angela Gheorghiu: We first met by listening to a recording. She was the first opera singer I listened to. It was the first disk I ever listened to.
Luminita Arvunescu: What was she singing?
AG: It was an Electrecord recording. I used to go to the State Library in Bucharest during the highschool period. I had never seen an opera live. Later on I saw all Eugenia Moldoveanu’s performances. I first listen to a singer from abroad on a LP. It was La Traviata. Mrs Zeani recorded in Romania La Traviata and Tosca. La Traviata was the first disk I listened to. When I was a young girl the State Library was the only place I could listen to music. It was a very pleasant atmosphere there. She made me dream at 14 about what I was going to do years after.
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AG: She was a sort of goddess, the way she looked like, her voice
LA: She was gorgeous.
AG: It’s something you’re born with. I always felt she was a phenomenon, a diva in the best way possible.
LA: Diva on stage, but a very modest and warm person off stage.
AG: Diva doesn’t mean something bad.
LA: No, opera needs divas.
AG: Yes, I think so. It’s something the artists dream about or they are born to become one. They are persons people dream about.
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I talked about the diva Virginia Zeani with the diva Angela Gheorghiu and her husband Roberto Alagna during this fifth episode of the eight episode broadcast entitled “Virginia Zeani – Tribute to Puccini” and realized on the occasion of 150 years from the birth of the great Italian composer. I recorded a conversation with Virginia Zeani about “La Rondine”, “The Swallow”, the fifth Puccinian score Mrs Zeani approached during her career.
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La Rondine, another love story a la Puccini, was successfully performed by the couple Gheorghiu/Alagna, while the experts keep on studying its musical language. I talked to Mrs Zeani about how original the plot and music of this opera are, an opera that musically reminds of La Boheme and from the point of view of the atmosphere it reminds of La Traviata. I also dared to approach another topic, her love story with the bass Nicola Rossi Lemeni, artist and husband who passed away 17 years ago.
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Many times she was unfairly considered just the most beautiful Violetta of her time, the artist with the best voice for the famous character. People forget that Virginia Zeani’s repertoire has 71 characters. Angela Gheorghiu talked about all these in an interview she gave me. Mrs Zeani considers Angela the image of what she could have been if…
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LA: If she had been more careful with the recordings, if she had considered more what would remain after her retirement…
AG: She told me something: “Angela, you’ll avenge me”. From this point of view, it’s true. But I haven’t done yet what she did. She performed live on stage many of the roles I haven’t dared or ever have the courage to do. She had a different type of career. She wanted to spend more time in Italy, to stay with her family. I’m more independent. But she got involved in operas. I remember “Dialogues des Carmelites” where she performed the title role. There were composers that thought and wrote for her.
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Poulenc was one of her contemporary artists that loved her voice and admired it with immense hope. “La voie humaine”, a score that Zeani sung in premiere at Monte Carlo on March 23rd 1975 never had, according the composer, a more emotional rendition.
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AG: Her repertoire is fantastic. My opinion is that what Virginia Zeani did is inimitable, with all due respect to my colleagues. I don’t think there’s a role she hadn’t performed on stage. Nowadays this is very difficult. Having a different type of career, she managed to do an incredible thing. She had a different nature. She didn’t think twice. I think very often of what I have to do on stage. Criteria for directing and staging changed a lot. Speaking of myself, the demands are so great that I have to be more careful with the repertoire. Seeing what I’m doing she said “I should have been like you”. She means that she’s content and she would have liked to do the same.
LA: She could have done the same.
AG: She could. And she did a fantastic job. She hasn’t recorded in the studio, as I do now.
LA: Because this was not a common thing those days.
AG: But there are two live recordings on vinyl.
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LA: Yes, it’s true, as Angela Gheorghiu says. There are live recordings with Virginia Zeani. And the full recording of “Zelmira” by Rossini made in 1995 under the name of “Great Opera Performances”, after a show in Naples in 1965.
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"Puccini - Opera Arias" is now in stores

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Reminder: this CD was released and can be found in stores. It can be ordered on amazon.co.uk but for the moment it's TEMPORARELY OUT OF STOCK. After just 1 day from the release. The alternative is the MP3 download, the entire CD or song by song.
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It is listed on amazon.com too, but here the release date is March 30th 2010 (previously February 16th). It can be pre-ordered.
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Amazon.de has it too, in stock.
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Some time ago I wrote about this CD and I also posted the track list. Here. But I found some more information on it. Puccini - Opera Arias is part of a larger series of CDs called EMI MASTERS celebrating the greatest EMI recordings. Launching this month with 20 titles, the series features legendary performances by Pablo Casals, Steven Kovacevich, Itzhak Perlman, Simon Rattle, Otto Klemperer, Yehudi Menuhin, Dinu Lipatti, Walter Geiseking, Jacqueline du Pré, Janet Baker, André Cluytens, Thomas Beecham, Denis Brain, Herbert von Karajan, Emmanuel Pahud, Angela Gheorghiu, Alban Berg Quartet, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf and Maurice André - all recorded, mastered or re-mastered at London's legendary Abbey Road Studios.
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The vocal part is represented by:
*Angela Gheorghiu - Puccini, opera arias
*Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau - Schubert: Die schöne Müllerin
*Elisabeth Schwarzkopf - R. Strauss: Four Last Songs
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There is also one very special one for me, the Waltzes by Chopin performed by Dinu Lipatti.
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EMI and Virgin Classics have a special STORE on amazon.co.uk. All the CDs in the series can be ordered from there. Click on the picture below to enter the store... and enjoy shopping!
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Operas in cinema - La Traviata & La Rondine

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La Traviata opens the Opera Season at Curzon Community Cinema, Clevedon, UK. It's the 2007 La Scala production with Angela Gheorghiu as Violetta and Ramon Vargas as Alfredo. There are two screenings, at 2pm and 7pm, on Saturday, February 27th 2010. The ticket price range from 5 to 10 pounds.

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La Traviata is followed by:
*Cosi Fan Tutte (on March 27th, at 2pm and 7pm) from Salzburg Festival in 2009
*Tribute to Pavarotti (on April 24th, at 2pm and 7 pm) where Angela sings La Ci Darem la mano with Sting

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They are followed by another screening, this time across the ocean, in San Francisco. If you happen to be around on April 3rd (at 10am) and 7th (at 6:30pm) you could go to Sundance Kabuki Cinema to see La Rondine, War Memorial Opera House, starring Angela Gheorghiu as Magda, Misha Didyk as Ruggero, Anna Christy as Lisette and tenor Gerard Powers as Prunier.
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La Rondine is the last opera in a series of other operas broadcasted in this theatre:
*Madama Butterfly, February 13th and 17th, with Patricia Racette as Cio Cio San and Brandon Jovanovich as Pinkerton - a San Francisco Opera production
*Don Giovanni, February 27th and March 3rd, with Mariusz Kwiecien in the title role, with soprano Elza van den Heever as Donna Anna, soprano Twyla Robinson as Donna Elvira, tenor Charles Castronovo as Don Ottavio and bass Oren Gradus as Leporello - a San Francisco Opera Production
*Samson and Delilah, March 20th and 24th, with Olga Borodina as the seductive “Delilah” and tenor Clifton Forbis as the Old Testament hero - a San Francisco Opera production
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A&R at the theatre, a few summers ago

"The Government Inspector" (Revizorul) by N.V. Gogol is one of the best plays staged at the Comedy Theatre in Bucharest. It was premiered here on October 5th 2006 and the direction is signed by Horatiu Malaele. It was so good that it is still part of the schedule. In time a lot of famous people came to see it. Among them, three that you might know.
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Angela and Roberto attended the play in Summer ...2008, I think. It might be 2007 though. Sorry, don't know for sure. The pictures were taken back then. After the performance they talked to the director, Mr Horatiu Malaele (the man in the second photo) and visited the sets.
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The other famous person is Mr Ioan Holender, the Director of the Vienna State Opera (the last picture). He visited the theatre and attended the play a few weeks ago.
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I received the pictures and the permission to post them not long ago. Thank you. The pictures belong to the Comedy Theatre.
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Mr Ioan Holender, the Director of the Vienna State Opera
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Spotted again...

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...at the Opera House in Bucharest. This evening. Angela attended a performace of Lucia di Lammermour. Edgardo was Marius Manea, the one she sung with in Munich, Moscow and London.
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This time I wasn't there as I attended another concert. So thank YOU for telling me :)
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"Angela Gheorghiu" School, in celebration


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Two years ago, on February 10th 2008, School #3 in Adjud, Romania (first established in 1959), was named after Angela becoming "Angela Gheorghiu School". On February 10th and 11th 2010 the school is in celebration, with music, theatre plays and competitions for the students. According to the article published in Monitorul de Vrancea tomorrow takes place the second edition of the "General knowledge, literary creation, art and singing competition" initiated by Angela. "The General knowledge contest has 3 prizes of a total of 1000 euro offered by the soprano and some other prizes for different sections offered by the school" states the newspaper. The rest of the article (in Romanian) is HERE and you can also check the website of this school (in Romanian)
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Look what popped up on YouTube

There is a recording of this opera. But as you can see in the small excerpt, the quality of the audio and video is not that good.
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Roberto Alagna and Angela Gheorghiu "Dolce Aprile" (Cherry Duet) L'Amico Fritz by Mascagni. Thanks to yhe uploader. myyellowlabfan has some other nice videos on his/her channel on Youtube


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Il Doge di Genova - Simon Boccanegra

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"Maestro Levine to the pit, maestro to the pit". These are the words that everything starts with. I first heard them during the first Met live in HD in my country, last year for La Rondine. Marco Armiliato was the one called to the pit. They're a sort of spell. They remove you from the real world and put you in Paris, Venice, in a castle, on a ship, in a prison, in a church, you name it, they surround you with music and beautiful voices.
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Tonight's Boccanegra wasn't an exception. Thank you, Neubauer family and thank you Bloomberg for giving this opportunity. To be miles away and still be able to see everything live and closer than most of the people in the venue is amazing.
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I had no idea this opera is so beautiful and powerful and passionate. Each character has a story to say, a tragedy to share with the others and the music sustains the voices. with Maestro Levine conducting, the orchestra was impressive. Domingo is a phenomenon. Piezonka and Giodani matched perfectly. People say that because of the political ideas involved the opera is boring. It is not true. I think that the political elements (such as the presence of the Doge, the senators, some riots) bring grateness to the whole thing.
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There's nothing else to say. Or.. there are 10000 things to say but I don't want to spoil anybody's pleasure. Simon Boccanegra continues the tour. This was the last performance at the Met. It moves back to Europe. To Scala in Milan first (the tickets go on sale on February 16th), then to Royal Opera in London (the tickets go on sale on March 3rd for Friends - there is a 2 ticket per friend limit!!! - and in April for everybody else) and the final stop is in Madrid, at Teatro Real (the tickets go on sale on April 7th). If you happen to be in one of these cities, go see Placido Domingo and the lady that will join him on stage.
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Carmen - CANCELLED

What should I say? I wrote and deleted what I wrote, and then wrote again and deleted again. A lot of things come to my mind. Why? Why again? And again... Not to mention that the two performaces were SOLD OUT. I'm pretty sure why there were no more tickets left. The two names were so important that 8000 people paid hoping to see them and listen to them. Now all the people that said she won't sing are happy (see some blogs...). I'm sad. Some people know the reason. The main one. The other one is that Peter cried "wolf" again. And the press will write about it. Looong articles, full of all sorts of explanations and suppositions. The first article is already online, in New York Times. There must be a good reason. MET gave a statement quoting Angela. "To make so important a debut as Carmen, I want to be as prepared dramatically as I am musically. Therefore, I will postpone my role debut until a later date when I can work intensely with the Richard Eyre production." Kate Aldrich steps in.
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The OFFICIAL SITE published the continuation of the statement: Therefore, I will postpone my role debut until Autumn 2012 when I can work intensely with Richard Eyre production. When offered the new CARMEN, I had immediately thought that Richard was essential to create a new, fresh vision of Carmen for me. My greatest sadness in withdrawing the opening this season has been to lose the extended rehearsal hours with Richard. When I return to Covent Garden this summer to revive the 1994 production of LA TRAVIATA which Richard created for me, we shall again work together to deepen and build upon our 1994 collaboration. This is how I want to work and need to work. Thank you for your understanding.
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What's left? Traviata, three times (NY, London and the tour). I'm sure there's place for way more than that. And for Placido Domingo's sake, I hope she stays in for Boccanegra.
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Sorry, I'm upset. I try to understand that there must be not enough time for rehearsals but I can't help being disappointed again. More than anybody can imagine. well, those who follow her in the world know how it is. You know how it is to buy tickets 6-7 months before and then waiting. So I'll stop here.
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Happy ending - with better videos

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EDIT: e2ul uploaded the interview on his YouTube Channel in a very good quality.
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Part 1
Part 6
Part 7
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And we got to the end of the interview. I'm waiting now for the next one. Don't forget. TVR1 broadcasts the show again on Friday morning from 10am. There is a good version uploaded but it came after I finished the translation. So I'll use the old ones just to finish the job.
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Thinking of Sting, when we decided we would sing together I started listening to his music, to be prepared. But he said this is a unique opportunity to do the exact opposite thing. He wanted to sing opera with me. It was an experience for him but we felt extremely well because we did it to honor the memory of Luciano.
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Are they difficult people or regular people?
It depends on the situation they find themselves in.
Is it difficult or easy to work with Angela Gheorghiu?
I would like you to ask this question to the people I worked with, directors, conductors, singers. The fact that I kept good relationships with my colleagues can be a sign. We have a huge responsibility every time we’re on stage and the performance starts. For example if you ask what my name is before the start of a performance you might have the surprise that I hesitate.
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You changed from the beginning of the show. You’re calmer now.
Don’t mix up emotions with the fact that I'm considered difficult. I always want to feel safe. For example this show. I knew who the guests were and how the sets looked like.
You came here yesterday and checked up every detail.
Because I like to know everything from the beginning. Is it wrong? Wouldn’t it be great for everybody to do that? You’re musicians and you know that improvisation is good sometimes. But it is not always true. It can be fake. You’re not always honest with the audience. I don’t believe in improvisation 100%. In most of the cases it’s studied.
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Successful people are considered spoiled by the destiny. Only a few people know that you still suffer after the death of your sister and that you adopted your niece. How do you overcome the turns of life?
With trust and faith.
Where do you find the strength?
I don’t know. Sometimes I ask myself this question. There is no recipe. Each of us find strength in something. Music gives me energy. People find support in religion or in themselves.
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In December 2009 took place the 32nd edition of the Kennedy Awards where artists honored Mel Brooks, Dave Brubeck, Robert de Niro, Bruce Springsteen and Grace Bumbry. And you were invited to perform in honor of the mezzo soprano Grace Bumbry. Was it the first time you sung in front of a President?
I don’t remember. I don’t think there’s a capital in this world where the President or the Queen doesn’t attend a performance once or twice a year.
So you were used to it. Let’s see some images from the Kennedy Center.
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I don’t know if you liked being at Danutz SRL but you have to believe me I was honored to have you here. As you were inspired by all those people you sung with, you and this great evening will remain in my memory. Thank you for coming. Please let me offer you flowers.
Thank you very much. I see tears in your eyes. I consider the flowers a symbol of Spring (“martisor”).
I’d like to dedicate the next song to you. It’s called “Spring starts with you” ("Primavara incepe cu tine")


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"Tu sei peggio dei tenori"

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Part 2 and part 3 of the interview. In the third part there are a few seconds from a concert in Bucharest in 1992 with Placido Domingo. That video recording is well hidden in the archives of the Romanian Television. I would really love to see it. Maybe someone finds it and broadcasts it on TVR Cultural. Mrs Luminita Constantinescu could do that. She has a very interesting program dedicated to opera each Wednesday evening at 8pm. Dreaming... dreaming...
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Your success brought you on the most famous stages in the world, Covent Garden and Metropolitan, led you from New York to Moscow, from Rome to Tokyo. Where is home for Angela Gheorghiu?
It’s an ordinary question. Romania is home for me and it has always been. There is no concert without a Romanian song. I have strong connections here.
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Paul Young, a British singer, has a song that says “wherever I lay my hat there’s home”.
Many times I say that home is where I feel well. But in time I realized that Romania is home for me.
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The success also brought you famous people in the audience: Queen Elisabeth II, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands. Is it possible for an artist to influence the world?
Yes, if he or she dares to. It takes more than singing.
Does he/she get involved in activities other than singing?
It’s a relative thing. The artist is like a doctor. I don’t care about the religious or political views of the audience. I do the same thing for everybody. The artist has a direct connection with people. The art is considered to be ageless so it can influence a lot.
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Let’s watch some more videos.
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I’m speechless. And the applauses are real. You don’t have to be an opera expert to recognize the value. Tonight we’re not experts but we bow our heads in respect towards what you’re doing.
In 1994 BBC cancelled all the programs in order to broadcast La Traviata live from Covent Garden. After the show George Solti declared “I was very touched. She was great. This girl can do anything”. Is Violetta your favorite character so far?
Hmm, no. She's not the only one. I find myself in many other characters. I’m lucky to be able to transform myself such as the ones in La Boheme, La Rondine, Turandot and others.
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I asked you if you like the music of Jacques Brel and you said yes.
Sure, I like his music. He composed beautiful music with amazing lyrics. I wish I listen more often to Romanian pop songs with interesting lyrics, not only a nice melody. I always say that the classical music is for the soul and the other genres are for the body as we feel the impulse to move.
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How do you get along with pop music?
We’re in good relationship. I always liked it. I’ve never been to disco. Well, you can’t have everything in life. I took care of my voice. I never thought of smoking. I buy CDs very often. Wherever I am I want to find out what’s new in music. I like good music no matter what genre it belongs to.
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You were born Angela Burlacu. Then you married Andrei Gheorghiu. You divorced but you kept his name. Later on you married the Italian tenor Roberto Alagna with whom you formed a musical couple labeled as “a huge package of energy, passion, spirit and beauty”. How much does the personal life influence the professional one?
It depends on each one’s personality. I and Roberto always tried to make a difference between Angela, Roberto and Angela&Roberto. We considered that there was a third artist. We had different ideas and repertoire. When I take a role I have to know everything about it before signing. I ask why, what where, what for. I’m responsible for everything and I like to feel good wherever I am.
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You performed with Roberto Alagna but also with other great singers: Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo, Sting, Andrea Bocelli, Jose Carerras. Has the little girl Angela Burlacu ever dreamed of singing on stage with these legends?
Yes. I never thought I won’t do what I do. It was a sort of duty for me. I felt like being pushed from behind.
Does self confidence help?
Everybody around me told me I’ll become someone. I had a lot of support from my family and teachers. It was like a springboard for me.
And you always have to trust yourself and to wish to be the best, to sing with the best.
I was very determined and was very sure of myself. I worked a lot and I was always aware of what happens around me in the world of music.
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Let’s see some more videos
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I’ll ask some stupid questions now. How is it to sing with Luciano Pavarotti?
It’s difficult for me. There are so many important people. There are 20 years of singing, of emotions next to great artists, colleagues that I respect and I share so many memories with. They are part of my life and they are all my friends. I don’t know how it happened but they entered my life at the right time. Seeing Luciano impressed me because he’s no longer with us. I’m very sorry. But his talent and his spark of genius touched me. He was also very hilarious. He always found something funny to say. I remember that we met backstage after one of his concerts in Los Angeles. He told me “I want to organize a concert only with tenors at the Metropolitan. And I’d like to invite you too”. I said I was not a tenor. And he replied “you’re worse than tenors” (tu sei peggio dei tenori).
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There's more to follow. Soon.
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Danutz SRL - TVR 1

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It's always a pleasure to see her on TV. Be prepared to listen to the question we all love to hear: "where is home for you?" :) But the interviewer, Dan Bitman, is nice to her and very polite. He's a singer (pop/rock singer. He's the vocal of a band named Holograf and he's been the host of this TV show for the past few years.) Even if he doesn't seem to know too many things about the person in front of him and he reads some long questions, he also knows how to be funny and gentle. There's nothing new in the interview. Same old questions. But it's enjoyable. The interview has about 40 minutes. It is devided in smaller parts because YouTube has some limitations. This is the best I got for the moment. The show will be broadcasted again on Friday morning. Maybe a better version will come out.
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This is the beginning of the interview. Enjoy!

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Named by the New York Sun "the world's most glamorous opera star", I have the honor to invite here Mrs Angela Gheorghiu. Welcome. It's a great honor for us to have you here. I think these applauses say everything.
Yes, even if they're directed, in time they'll learn why to applaud.
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You have a career that not too many people have. Everybody knows this. How do you feel now when you're again at the Romanian Television after 25 years from your first appearance?
I realized this thing a few days ago. It's been so long. I feel at home somehow. Even this particular smell belongs to the Television.
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I'd like you to overcome the emotions that are normal here. Antonio prepared a great menu. So I hope you'll feel comfortable here with us. Let's start. You were born in Adjud. I have some memories related to this town. I was there with my band. We used to have a lot of concerts years ago and sometimes we didn't know exactly where we were. And I got on the stage and said "good evening Aiud". Somebody in the audience told me "so go there to sing, man". (Aiud is another town in Romania, in Alba County. Adjud is in Vrancea County. The names are very similar in writing and pronunciation)
I'm used to this mistake, no problem.
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Your family was a regular one. Your father worked at the railways and your mother was a dressmaker. Who guided you towards the classical music, considering that it's not an easy genre.
Nobody. The destiny, I guess. I started singing when I was very young and I always took it seriously. In kindergarten my voice was louder than the others. And it was obvious for me and everybody else that there's something there. Something extraordinary. I had a dual life, singing on one hand and going to school on the other hand. And I have never stopped getting on stage. Back then the music teacher came to my classroom with a tape recorder. And I sung a classical lied by Brahms. So I started the journey.
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What did the family say?
They supported me. My parents and my teachers always helped me to have good grades. I was practicing a lot and we all knew that when I got 14 I'd go to study music at high school and conservatory.
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Do you conider it an effort?
No, it's my hobby, my passion, the destiny I've always followed gladly.
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Let's see some videos with Angela Gheorghiu.
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The last images belong to a documentary called "The Romanian Journey", produced by BBC and TVR with the participation of Madrigal chorus. It was filmed at the monasteries in Northern Moldavia. And it served as publicity more than any other material. Who had the idea of this documentary?
BBC had the idea. I recorded a sacred music CD years ago in London. I thought I should sing some Romanian sacred music, not just Catholic music. So I made the first recordings with Madrigal having Ion Marin as conductor. The orchestra that took part in the recording is extremely important in UK (London Philharmonic Orchestra). Their patron, Prince Charles, wanted to know "the road" I followed, where these songs come from, how I practiced. And BBC did this. Even some of my fans wanted to find it out.
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Prince Charles loves Romania, this is not a secret. He has a residence here.
Yes, this was one of the reasons. But I won't get into more details.
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You graduated the Conservatory in 1990 and in just 2 years your dream of singing on the stage of Covent Garden came true. It was La Boheme by Puccini. How did you manage this in such a short time?
When I entered the Conservatory in 1986 I had a goal. To audition at Covent Garden. And my first audition there has a nice story attached to it. The person I asked where the stage door was, was the director of the Opera. After that audition he offered me my first part. It was La Boheme, indeed. I was lucky but every time you have to prove you're good. Being on stage is not a joke. And these days, due to mass media, when you make your debute in a theatre on the next day everybody knows about you. Even faster than that thanks to the internet. This is very important for a career.
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The rest of the interview will be up soon.
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If you're wondering where Angela is these days...

...then you should know she's in Bucharest. She was a guest at a tv show on TVR 1 (a local station) called "Danutz S.R.L." on Sunday afternoon. I don't know much about it as I was not at home. My friends called me to tell me she's on TV. The show will be rebroadcasted on TVR1 on Friday, February 5th from 10:10am. I'll be at work but maybe someone can capture it.
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I wasn't home because I was at the Opera last evening. Cosi fan tutte, by Mozart. The part of Fiordiligi was performed by Iulia Isaev, a Romanian soprano that sings mostly in Vienna, but from time to time she comes to Bucharest. She was very, very good. You can see the photos from the performance HERE.
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She was colleague with Angela at the Conservatory and she also declared in a recent interview that they remained good friends. The rest is a little bit obvious. Yes, Angela came to see her. Knowing she's in Bucharest I sort of expected her to show up, but I wasn't sure. She came during the interval, directly from the tv station. After every meeting with her I think I need to take some breathing control lessons for unexpected encounters :). It's a feeling that can't be controlled. It just happens. It was amazing. She's very, very beautiful, smartly dressed and always smiling.
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These few moments in front of Angela were the best birthday present I could get. I'm happy. And I'll be happy for the rest of the week.
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