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Article in Jurnalul, 24.06 - translation

I posted it before, when it was first published (Jurnalul.ro, June 24th) but didn't have time to translate it. It's about the recording session for "Ciobanas cu trei sute de oi"
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They keep talking about classical music and folk music. This folk music is the Romanian traditional music and for singing this the singer needs a different kind of voice and training. The difference is huge. Also the sound of a folk orchestra is different. The best example is a song called "Sanie cu zurgalai". Angela sung it during the New Years Gala in Paris, in 2006. And the same song performed by a Romanian folk singer, Maria Lataretu.
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The famous soprano recorded “Ciobanas cu trei sute de oi” exclusively for Radio Romania. She recorded it with her best friend from high school, Eugenia Moise. The recording session took place on June 22nd, at the Radio studios after they managed to get last minute permission from EMI, whose exclusive artist Angela is. Besides this recording, the soprano prepares an album that will include only Romanian songs.
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"I’m impressed by the reason I’m here, said Angela Gheorghiu after the recording session was over, during the conversation she had with the press. I met again my colleagues, friends, family, I met Eugenia Moise, my colleague at “George Enescu” High School that we both graduated. We were the singers of our class, class 1980-1984. I was singing classical music, she was singing folk music. She had the beautiful idea to remember our years in high school and I thought it would be nice to leave something behind, a recording together. I like to be challenged, it’s a thing many people in Romanian haven’t thought of, meaning to ask me to do something. But my colleague thought of me and I said yes. I was very nervous during the recording", also said the soprano.
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"We were together everywhere, almost like Siamese sisters", added Eugenia Moise. "We went together to performances, we were together at home, we were very close to eachother and I’m glad that after so many years we managed to record a song, accompanied by the Radio Orchestra. And as Angela said, we wanted to leave behind a small jewel of those years. I was really touched because Angela is amazing".
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Angela said she sung “Ciobanas cu trei sute de oi” with her sister long time ago. "We were young and our teacher, Mia Barbu, told us to sing this song together. I also sung it during a Gala at Opera Garnier in Paris. Today I had also to get the permission from my recording company". The recording of this song was an exception made by EMI Classics, Angela’s exclusive recording company.
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The soprano stated that she seriously started to record Romanian music, propounding EMI all sorts of modern, daring sounds from her point of view. "It is known that Romanian music performed abroad is considered a strange music, with an unusual sound, that professional musicians don’t get too easy. So I try to prove them that if they haven’t known it so far it’s neither their fault, not mine. But I do the best I can, using all the necessary means, on all my CDS, in all my concerts, to make people appreciated the Romanian music that hasn’t been exported yet”.
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Even if the folk music was part of Angela’s life and her good friend Eugenia Moise made her love it and “modestly” hum it, the famous opera singer doesn’t think she would ever be able to sing this genre. “Ciobanas cu trei sute de oi” won’t be released on any CD yet. But the song will be considered a preview of the CD that will include only Romanian music. This is an album Angela already started to work on. But there is another album to be released before, under EMI, “with megaclasic repertoire. In all my concerts I sing Romanian music so there’ll be some songs on this CD too. I haven’t chosen them yet”. Regarding the future cooperation with Holograf and Directia 5, the soprano is waiting for a song to be composed first. “I’ll get involved as I did with Stefan Banica. I know a lot of people in this world that can orchestrate a song in the best conditions possible. This is not an issue. I’m waiting for the motivation”.
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Ioan Holender said "Good bye, Vienna"

Photo @ APA
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After 19 years of hard working, he left the spot (director of the State Opera Vienna) to another colleague. The Gala in his honor took place last evening (June 26th), at Staatsoper Vienna. A lot of people owed him their careers, he fought for the voices he admired and he remained friend to most of the singers that performed at the Opera. Placido Domingo, Anna Netrebko, Simon Keenlyside, Ferruccio Furlanetto, Barbara Frittoli, Natalie Dessay, Thomas Quasthoff, Ramon Vargas, Thomas Hampson, Diana Damrau, Waltraud Meier, Johan Botha, Piotr Beczala, Angela Denoke, Adrianne Pieczonka, Krassimira Stoyanova, Simone Young, Bertrand de Billy, Franz Welser- Möst, Fabio Luisi, Zubin Mehta and Antonio Pappano came to sing. The program was impressive.
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The Romanian born now ex director of the State Opera Vienna will offer his advice to other opera houses in the world, including the Met. Good luck, Mr Holender!
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Intermezzo reported
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Traviata at Royal Opera - SOLD OUT

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All 4 performances of La Traviata (Gheorghiu/Valenti/Lucic) on July 8th, 10th, 14th and 17th are sold out. If somebody didn't get a ticket, don't give up. ROH is one of the few opera houses that allows returns. So check back from time to time. You might get some very good seats at good prices. If this doesn't work, then there's the good old method - the Q :).
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Counting down the days to it.
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Short interview for Radio Romania Cultural

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The interview was broadcasted this morning on Radio Romania Cultural. I was driving to work when it started. Thanks to modern technology (meaning a cell phone that does all sorts of things) I managed to record it. Not a good sound but it's enough to have an idea. This time I didn't mind I was stuck in traffic. I could enjoy the three minute interview.
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The translation is below. Angela talks about the song performed by Ioana Radu and Mia Braia. It's the one I posted yesterday. And she also talks about the performance of the same song at Opera Garnier. I knew about it but I only got it today. Thanks, F.T.! I put it after the interview.
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Enjoy!
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It’s a very special event because Angela Gheorghiu has been an EMI Classics artist for more than 10 years and these exceptions are seldom. Angela Gheorghiu and one of her former high school colleagues, Eugenia Moise, a folk music singer, recorded a version for two voices of the well known song “Ciobanas cu trei sute de oi”, arranged by Ionel Tudor. The Radio Orchestra conducted by Tiberiu Soare joined the project. As Angela said, maybe many of us remember this song in a famous rendition, with Ioana Radu and Mia Braia.
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I liked the song a lot. I’m twice subjective. I sung it with my sister when we were young. Ioana Radu and Mia Braia were also sisters and our voice teacher, Mia Barbu, told us to sing it. I also sung it a few years ago during a Gala at Opera Garnier in Paris. Back then I managed to present some true Romanian songs. I needed arrangements so I asked a friend of mine, Ionel Tudor, to do this for me. He did it right away and we were very proud of the result.
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The recording from yesterday represented for the Romanian artist famous around the world a good opportunity to remember the high school years and to record a musical jewel.
How the cooperation between the Radio Orchestra and one of the most beautiful voices in the world was possible told us the Director of Radio Orchestra and chorus, Mrs Oltea Serban Parau.
"It was Eugenia Moise’s initiative and Angela was very enthusiastic about it. When she likes an idea she immediately embraces it. Everything matched. We met last week to talk about different ideas, projects, and one of the topics was about this recording. The Radio Orchestra was delighted to take part in the project and we hope to have this chance again.
After Bucharest she’ll go to London to perform in La Traviata at Covent Garden and then to Madrid, to sing in Simon Boccanegra. In Fall, besides Adriana Lecouvreur and the ROH tour in Japan, Angela Gheorghiu will record an album with Romanian songs only".
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Angela Gheorghiu and Iulia Isaev - Gala at Opera Garnier - Paris, 31.12.2006
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New song recorded today, exclusivity for Radio Romania

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EDIT: minutes after I posted this, I found an article published this evening that explaines what's with this song and who the mysterior colleage is. The lady's name is Eugenia Moise and they wanted to record something together, to remember the years spent togheter in high school. It might be part of a future CD with Romanian songs only. The plan is to record and release it after the one coming out this Summer. I'll translate this. It's interesting. But.. tomorrow :) You can read the interview in Romanian here. And one more article published in Adevarul
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3 weeks before La Traviata at Royal Opera House in Londra, Angela spent a day in the studio recording a song. She is in Bucharest. Yesterday, on the Facebook page of Radio Romania Muzical there was a teaster: "Angela Gheorghiu will record a song at Radio Hall. Stay tunned, we'll be back with news". This afternoon the status changed:
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Angela Gheorghiu a inregistrat astazi, alaturi de Orchestra Nationala Radio, dirijorul Tiberiu Soare si o fosta colega a ei de liceu (Liceul George Enescu din Bucuresti, promotia 1984) piesa "Ciobanas cu 3 sute de oi". Inregistrarea va ramane in Fonoteca Radio Romania si speram sa o putem difuza cat de curand. Mai multe detalii de la conferinta de presa, maine, pe site-ul Radio Romania Muzical.
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Angela Gheorghiu recorded today the song "Ciobanas cu trei sute de oi", along with Radio Orchestra, the conductor Tiberiu Soare and her former high school (she) colleague ("George Enescu" High school, 1984 class). The recording will be kept in the archives of Radio Romanian and we hope to be able to broadcast it soon. More details from the press conference you can find out tomorrow on the website of Radio Romania Muzical.
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"Ciobanas cu trei sute de oi" is a Romanian song, an old one as far as I know. It's about a man who asks a shepherd to tell his beloved he cares about her and misses her. The best rendition I found is with two famous ladies in Romania, Ioana Radu and Mia Braia. So for the moment enjoy the music and try to imagine Angela's voice singing it.
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Same old things in a new interview in Cotidianul

Photo @ Cotidianul
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A new interview was published today in Cotidianul, a Romanian online newspaper, signed by Mrs Magdalena Popa Buluc. Before getting too excited, let me tell you that there's nothing new in it (from my point of view and the point of view of other people that have been reading the interviews in the past few years). I'm glad that people ask questions. I'm sorry that they ask the same questions again and again. You know, same questions lead to similar answers. Nobody asks about future plans. It's always about the past. There are two CD's coming and a possible recording of Adriana Lecouvreur. I would really want to know if there's any chance for a Romeo&Juliette in Europe. I crossed the pond once, but it's not that easy to do it again. You know, things like that. But then again, it's just me.
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That's why I decided to translate only some parts. There's a lot of "literature", hundreds of adjectives introducing a rather short question. "Diva" is involved too. There are questions like
* "how was the road to celebrity?" (and the answer contains the story from Brahms's lied to 1994 Traviata at ROH and Goerg Solti's tears)
* "what followed after that Traviata?" (New York, London, Paris, Salzburg, Berlin, Tokyo, Rome, Seul, Venice, Athens, Monte-Carlo, Chicago, Sao Paolo, Los Angeles, Lisbon, Palermo, Beirut, Amsterdam, Kuala Lumpur, Zürich, Vienna, Madrid, Montreal, Chicago, Valencia)
* "how do you see the evolution of opera? do you obey the director?" (it follows the story of the Traviata in Madrid with the SS soldiers when she left the production. Also see here)
* "what character is closer to your soul?"
* "in Fall you'll be Adriana Lecouvreur at ROH. What does this production bring you? What sources did you use?" (Also read here in Romanian)
* "you were invited to the White House with many celebrities" (she said she always gives her best no matter who's in the audience and that she has been invited to a lot of ceremonies along the years)
* "is the audience different from one country to another?" (she replied that she believes in the quality of the performance)
* "what is music for you?" ("my passion and destiny")
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And now some Q&A from the interview:
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How do you feel before entering the stage and what’s more important to you, the rehearsals or the performance? Stabilty is important and it comes from Shakespeare’s “Dream…”: “Rehears today to perform tomorrow”. As Peter Brook said, to rehears means to think out loud.
I’m still very nervous before entering the stage. It’s about starting again, about improving. Any opera is a field to be explored. The singer looking for the character is actually looking for herself. To rehears also mean to rebuild. Hate and love, as well as rehearsals, have multiple aspects. I care a lot about the results of the first rehearsals. I try to think the rehearsal as the lab of a question: why do I sing opera for? [...] I’m very nervous in front of the orchestra and my colleagues. People want perfection, but it’s hard to achieve. Other people imagine I belong to them. They think I’m always Violetta Valery because I portray her for 2 hours. I’m one with the character when I’m still at home. There’s a ritual, starting with the makeup that I do myself. You don’t know how difficult it is to give everything. Every time I want to offer something else to the audience. There are fans that take flights and go from a country to another to rediscover me.
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Which are the partners that you felt most confortable on stage with?
There is a long list and I kept good relationships with all my partners. I won’t name anyone for them not to be jealous. I want to have the best and most good looking around me. I don’t like to be surrownded by uninteresting people. I don’t want to be alone out there. Everything around me has to be at high standard. When I saw Roberto Alagna I wanted to sing with him and Antonio Pappano to be the conductor. And it happened. I wanted to sing with tenors with a special timbre, with perfect pronunciation. And it happened. When I record, I try to have the best studio, an excellent orchestra and conductor because these things are made to last. I like to be proud of what I did.
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90% of your performances are already scheduled. But still, why do you sing so seldom in Romania?
In Romania things change after signing an agreement. I can’t sing where there’s not a good venue, with poor acoustics. Some time ago I performed at Palace Hall. The agreement was not obeyed and the show did not fulfill my requirements. Romania is my home country and I sing Romanian songs in every concert. I don’t really like small venues, that look more like reception rooms. If we talk about a concert with orchestra, I like a rich sound. I’m sorry to say that people want to listen to the voice at the same intensity as on CDs at home. The sonority is louder and louder. They want our voices to be louder and this can be a trauma for us.
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This was it. Glad to know she's fine. Waiting for more news.
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Booking period 2 for ROH

Just a reminder, to put the dates down in your agendas. All the performances for Adriana Lecouvreur at ROH are included in the second booking period (Winter), along with Tannhäuser, Hansel and Gretel, Il barbiere di Siviglia, Die Zauberflöte and Anna Nicole
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07.09.2010 - for the Friends of ROH
05.10.2010 - for the rest of the people
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Angela is performing in 6 out of 8 performances, on November 18, 22, 25, 30 and December 4 and 7.
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The Triumph of Puccini. Tosca and Madama Butterfly

Two fragments of part 3 of Opera Italia, a BBC program presented by Antonio Pappano. This part is about Giaccomo Puccini, his life and works. Angela speaks about Tosca and Cio Cio San. Two very handsom gentlemen also talk about Tosca (Roberto Alagna) and Madama Butterfly (Jonas Kaufmann). And there are presented some fragments from Tosca-the Movie and the recording session of Madama Butterfly CD (Gheorghiu/Kaufmann, 2008) in Rome to illustrate the words.
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The entire episode is uploaded on YouTube. Pappano also talks about La Boheme, Gianni Schicci and Turandot. It was a great pleasure to see that the video used to support the part about La Boheme is the performance at ROH where my fellow Romanian Teodor Ilincai made his debut as Rodolfo.
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Viva l'opera in italiano!
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Tosca


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Tosca & Madama Butterfly


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Madama Butterfly
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Welcome, says Angela

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Classical Legends - podcast

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The CD is already in stores and at the same time EMI released a podcast. It's a summary of some impressions of some of the best artists of classical music on characters, scores and composers, accompanied by their own voices. Angela talks about Cio Cio San and Carmen, Rostropovich talks about his friendship with Shostakovich and Sir Tomlison shares his opinions on Wagner's music.
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EMI Classics’ illuminating new four-CD set, Classical Legends – In Their Own Words, brings listeners up close to some of the greatest artists of yesterday and today, and provides a unique and fascinating view of some of the great works that they interpreted.
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Spanning 60 years of superb artistry, the set features prominent soloists, vocalists, and conductors discussing the repertoire that they have performed, complemented by extracts from their most acclaimed EMI recordings. The new release presents an extraordinary opportunity to get inside the music through the invaluable insights of artists who have reached the pinnacle of achievement in their fields.
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The 13 featured artists are grouped on the four CDs as follows:
CD 1 – Angela Gheorghiu, Mirella Freni, Grace Bumbry
CD 2 – Jon Vickers, Nicolai Gedda, Giuseppe di Stefano
CD 3 – Roberto Alagna, Ruggero Raimondi, Sir John Tomlinson
CD 4 – Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Antonio Pappano, Evgeny Kissin, Mstislav Rostropovich
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This box can be ordered on Amazon.com
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Leonard Slatkin hits again. "She went off the charts"

"If we still couldn't work it out, then one of us would have had to go, but it should have happened after the dress rehearsal," said Leonard Slatkin in an interview by Mark Stryker from Detroit Free Press published today. He decided to break the silence and speak about what happened at the Met, during the rehearsals for Traviata and during the first performance. He defends himself, recognizes his mistakes, he accuses some people but in the end he decides to conduct the opening night because Peter Gelb reassures him: 'Whatever you're doing, just keep it that way. I know she's difficult, but you're doing fine.' ". Well, a little bit lame, if you ask me.

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Sting's Symphonicity

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After Songs of the Labyrinth, Sting hits again. This time he gathered an entire orchestra (Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra) to record the new album, Symphonicity. There'll also be an European tour, starting on September 3rd in Oslo and ending on November 10th in Rome.
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Here's a preview of how the new album would sound like. Oh, how I would love to listen to him at Royal Albert Hall...
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OperaAngela

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An official channel, new on YouTube. It was created less than one month ago and for the moment it contains 8 videos, EMI stuff. I was waiting for something like this to come up. We'll see if some new videos will be uploaded. Whoever is behind it, did a great job (the personalized header can't be created by a regular user but companies in most of the cases).
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To visit the channel, click on the photo. To get updates, subscribe.
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Correct! La Traivata, ROH, act II, scene II

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You were all right. It's the dress from the second act of La Traviata, the 1994 production. it's on display in Paul Hamlyn Hall at Royal Opera. It was a real pleasure to be able to see it from so close. There are a lot of details that can't be seen from the venue during the performance.
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It is part of "Forty Years of Royal Opera House Collections" along with some other dresses from La Traviata in 1994 and 1967. This dress was also worn by Kiri Te Kanawa who first appeared as Violetta on 1 January 1980, in a revival of 1967 production. The somptuous dress and accessories were designed by Vera Marzot.
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Dress worn by a member of the chorus for the 1967 production. designed by Vera Marzot

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Costume worn by Gillian Knight as Violetta's friend, Flora, Act II, scene II. Designed by Vera Marzot.





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This dress is special. And it's on display in the Carriage Entranceway (main entrance). It's Joan Sutherland's dress from the 1960 revival. Her costumes were specially designed by Franco Zefirelli and this one features in act I.
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