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

Angela - the music, the roles, the passion

And here it is. The translation of the interview. Enjoy!

.

“Adriana Lecouvreur” was very well received by audiences and you have already sung it in Berlin and London. Do you intend to take Adriana to United States soon? Your fans across the ocean are wondering…

Yes, my dear Irina, I’ll sing in the same production in San Francisco and Los Angeles. We’re still working on the schedule.

.

In an interview that you gave before singing in “Adriana Lecouvreur” you were asked which side of yours reflects in the character and you postponed the answer. Can you tell us now where Adriana Lecouvreur and Angela Gheorghiu meet?

Angela and Adriana met on stage. Same as Floria Tosca, Adriana Lecouvreur is an artist loved and respected in her time. She had the gift of bringing novelty, courage and simplicity in a period when the presence of the woman on stage was disfavored.

.

Three years ago you recorded “Madama Butterfly”. Your fans would like to know when you will sing this role on stage. Is this a pragmatic decision, related to a set career plan, to the future schedules of the opera houses or is it just a matter of artistic and emotional readiness that you’ll acknowledge when you meet it?

None of these. It’s true that I adored singing each note of this difficult score but the answer is much simpler. I haven’t planned to sing Madama Butterfly on stage yet.

.

Since the first years of your career you have constantly sung roles such as Violetta, Mimi, Tosca. Do you intend giving up one of these roles to make room for new ones?

I don’t intend to give up these characters but I seriously think of new titles.

.

Speaking of new roles, when you prepare one do you work methodically, from the beginning to the end of the score or do you choose the key moments first? Generally speaking, how long does it take you to learn a new role?

I’m extremely organized and conscientious when I practice. For me, the score is like the life in images and sounds. When I start studying a score I know instinctively that it’s suitable for my voice. I have never started learning a score to give it up later. I like to read the score note by note, also playing the piano, from the first to the last page, as if I’m reading a book. I never start with the difficult moments. I enjoy creating the real image of the opera or performance. We never start a performance with a particular moment, do we? After that I read the libretto also as if it were a book. No, more than that, as if it were a part in a play. I like to recite the libretto. When I manage to understand the proper meaning of the words then I put everything in chronological order. Many times I practice the difficult moments in several postures, to be able to sing if a director asks me to do something unusual or brave. Sadly, the directors haven’t dared to ask for something else so far. Maybe my attitude and my way of singing made the directors feel it’s more than enough and they declare themselves happy. I still wish to experience these kinds of things. I dream of a modern “La Boheme”, full of original ideas. It’s extremely strange that the most modern production becomes old-fashioned faster than a classical production that observes the libretto, the style of the music and it’s in perfect harmony with what the composer or the librettist wanted to express.

.

Sometimes the lyrical artists are offered roles that have no connection with their type of voice, with their repertoire and that normally they would refuse. Which was the weirdest offer you received?

It’s obvious that every day we get some of the strangest offers. This is the exact moment when we have to say: “definitely no”. Usually the singers accept the offer because they don’t have a better one or they want to prove how brave they are. I think that the true modesty, humility and respect for music and audience is when you understand where your place is and what your limitations are. But this doesn’t mean you’re not good or you’re not courageous to take the challenge. It means you know your own voice very well. Vocal health should be the most important for a singer. We should never make an effort or try to prove that we are something we’re not. Whoever did this, paid the price. I’ll always remember the advice of my friend, the baritone David Ohanesian: “never too high, never too loud because you’ll suffer soon“. I don’t believe in competition in this profession. I don’t see why excessive singing is so important. You may like it or not, but the audience feels when you give yourself totally on stage.

.

Besides operas you sing in a lot of concerts, accompanied by orchestra. Is there any particular reason you prefer these to recitals? You declared recently that you’ll record a recital for EMI. Will it be live or in studio?

I like concerts very much. They’re like fireworks, with lots of musical jewels in one evening. Recitals with piano have more of a chamber atmosphere. Yes, I’ve just finished recording my latest CD in New York, during the rehearsals for “Romeo et Juliette”. It contains some of the most beautiful arias. It is a pretty shocking idea. This time I prepared big surprises. It’s the first time in the history of opera that this artistic and technical approach has been put into practice!!!

.

You said many times that you count on intuition a lot, that you personally make most of the decissions related to your career. Still, have you had moments when you felt the need to ask for a second opinion, let’s say, in professional matters?

Never in my life have I had the courage to ask somebody something. For four years, when I studied at “George Enescu” Art High School, I have been following Mia Barbu’s advice religiously. Starting at 18 it became my choice not to ask for opinions. I don’t want to have the occasion to think I made a mistake because of someone. If there’s a mistake, it has to be my own. I take full responsibility. It’s not easy, I’m aware of this, but I prefer being myself, to have the authenticity and liability of my life. Sure, I got offers, but I’m the one deciding if I can do it or not, if I want or not. For me, instinct means God. He’s the one wanting us to act in a certain way. Why doesn't He wish only the best for us? Well, I don’t have an answer to this question.

.

Your performances made so many people in the audience cry. As a spectator, have you lost yourself in music and cried at the opera in the past few years? Is there a particular opera?

Yes, I cried many times or I had goose bumps. I see this feeling also as a sign from God because it’s involuntary. You have it or not. The latest opera was “Aida” with Roberto at Royal Opera House. I was impressed by the fact that he has the strength to change his interpretation technically from one performance to another. It’s never the same. I see it as an act of great courage, considering the difficulty of the roles. Then there’s the diversity of his repertoire over many years and the capacity to sing both cross over and opera at the same time. He has preserved graciousness and professionalism and I respect this. The singers will understand what I want to say.

.

As spectators we often have an image of the character we’re about to see on stage, we have expectations regarding the way of singing, of acting. Do you have expectations from your audience? Is there a prototype of the audience you’d like to have in the venue?

I know and understand this reaction of the audience. It’s normal. I don’t have a prototype of the audience. It wouldn’t be correct because I’m only one and I have in front of me many souls. I will never give more or less, according to the public or venue. All we want is to be surrounded by this unique spell named music.

.

My final question is not related to the professional life but it’s also about… music. The distance between us and the artists made us have prejudices about them. I couldn’t imagine you driving. Then I saw a photo and I was curious: what is Angela Gheorghiu listening to when driving?

Hmmmm, what a marvelous question! I love to drive. It’s impossible driving without music. It’s as if you don’t have gas. I listen to good music but, depending upon the landscape, I listen to old Romanian music. Last time when I was in the Alps with Roberto, Mioara Manea and Gabriel Arvunescu, I listened to the best songs by Doina Badea and Gica Petrescu, that we all love. Roberto has already learnt these songs and sings them to me often. The latest song he dedicated to me in perfect Romanian was “Oameni, oameni”, first sung by Aurelian Andreescu. But I can’t start a journey without Sting or Michael Buble…

.

13 comments:

  1. What a tremendous interview, and thank you so much for doing the translation as well! I guess I'm already waiting for "Adriana" in the USA -- the only problem is Angela picked the "wrong" coast, so far away it probably would have been closer to go to London. But fans in Cali will be delighted when the time comes around!

    ReplyDelete
  2. It's a good interview Irina, and some questions are original, but I still feel as if a lot of these answers I've heard before. For me, I would have loved to hear more about her personal and family life, especially since she and Roberto are back together. But I do like how in your interview she talks about him so casually- just like it used to be. But you are indeed so lucky to have had this opportunity! How did this come about? I've had my list of questions I'd want to ask her for a long time- I think it's all a dream of ours!

    ReplyDelete
  3. @Anonymous. It was my choice not to talk about Angela's private life on the blog. Everything here is about her professional life. Writing about personal matters may seem like gossip and I wouldn't want that.
    how I got to have this interview? let's say I wanted it very, very, very much :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thank you very much, Irina, for this great interview ! When did you made it ?

    ReplyDelete
  5. @Annie: recently, as she speaks about Aida at Roh..

    ReplyDelete
  6. Great interview, Irina! Thanks so much for all your efforts and time translating it. Must have been a great thrill for you to be able to do it.
    I found your questions to be interesting and Angela's answers informative.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Angela will sing Mimmi in La Boheme at La Scala next season:
    http://www.teatroallascala.org/en/season/opera-ballet/2011-2012/boheme.html
    Arabella

    ReplyDelete
  8. @Arabella.. hehe.. saw that. it's "La Boheme" year :). Barcelona, Munich and now Milan

    ReplyDelete
  9. bravo Irina for this interview! It's a pleasure to read it! Tank you very much!
    Anne

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hi Irina, congratulations for the exceptionally interview. I have just read that Angela will sing in a concert in Essen (Germany) on february 11 in 2012. I am looking forward to it because it´s not far away from my hometown.
    http://www.philharmonie-essen.de/konzerte/event/36125.htm

    Nice weekend!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thank you Irina for the translation and all your hard work. I agree about private life gossip,I just want to know about the music. However, I am glad they are back together and wish them good luck and happiness.
    Carole

    ReplyDelete
  12. bonjour irina
    et bravo pour cette interview qui est bien intéressante.
    et on sent que angela gheorghiu est très détendue et en confiance.
    j'ai aimé les passages sur sa méthode de travail par rapport à un nouvel opéra...et aussi ceux sur ses vacances avec roberto alagna !!!
    très bien et merci pour tout ce travail
    à bientôt
    mireille

    ReplyDelete
  13. Thanks a lot! It was a pleasure doing it

    ReplyDelete