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Live on radio, Angela in conversation with Virginia Zeani

Virginia Zeani was invited to a special edition of "Seara de opera" (Opera evening) by Luminita Arvunescu, broadcasted live on Radio Romania Muzical last week, on May 10. As a surprise, Angela called and they chatted for a while. Lots of emotions involved which made the dialogue even more intense. At the beginning of the fragment there's an aria from I Puritani and later on Chi il bel sogno di Doretta from La Rondine, both sung by Mrs Zeani.
Thanks to the owner of the audio fragment for letting me use it! You can listen to the entire broadcast on the website of Radio Romania Muzical.
I figured some might be curious of what they talked about :)

Luminita Arvunescu: There is somebody else waiting to talk to you.

Angela Gheorghiu: Good evening, mami Virginia! God, this aria is so difficult. This is perfection. What a beautiful voice, what musicality!
Virginia Zeani: This is the aria I loved most from all the arias I sung.
Angela Gheorghiu: But it’s difficult.
Virginia Zeani: It is, but it’s a huge pleasure in singing these high notes
Angela Gheorghiu: You have to be really brave to do this.

Luminita Arvunescu: Together with us in the studio we have Virginia Zeania and Eugenia Moldoveanu
Angela Gheorghiu: This is a huge pleasure.

Luminita Arvunescu: It is said that it’s trouble when two sopranos are in the same room. But we have now three sopranos and everything is fine. I’m sorry you’re not here with us but I understood that you’ve just arrived in Romania and you came especially to be with Mrs Zeani at the ceremony tomorrow.

Angela Gheorghiu: Yes, it’s true. And I’m so happy that she’s here with us now. She represents a very important part of our culture. Eugenia knows what I’m saying, she followed the same path. It’s very important to be able to listen to such a wonderful live recording. I wish everybody would appreciate and love what I love so much.

Luminita Arvunescu: I have a question for you. How did Virginia Zeani conquered your heart both as artist and as human being? You’re a very ambitious artist, a person who asks a lot from life and from friends. What is the source of this unique friendship?

Angela Gheorghiu: This is a long story. I’ve first met her when listening to a CD. It was La Traviata recorded in Bucharest by Electrecord many years ago. Back then I didn’t have the opportunity to listen to so many CDs or attend live opera performances from abroad. I think I was 14 when I first listened to her. It’s a good chance to say now that I met Virginia Zeani though her recordings and Eugenia Moldoveanu at the opera house. They were my reference point in terms of vocal beauty and musicality. They have been my models for the entire life. I was very lucky to be able to listen to both of them.

It’s not hard to love Virginia Zeani. She welcomed me with open arms exactly as Eugenia Moldoveanu did when I first entered her dressing room. The next day Mrs Moldoveanu invited me to her home. I remember that she offered me a dress. I will never forget this opening. It’s beyond what we can explain tonight, it’s something that we have since we were born. We have lots of things in common and it’s not difficult to recognize and love a true talent. I’m so sorry I’m not there with you.

Luminita Arvunescu: If you were to ask Mrs Zeani a question, what would that be? What doesn’t Angela Gheorghiu know about Virginia Zeani but she would like to find out?
Angela Gheorghiu: Hard to say because we know each other very well. You took me by surprise

Luminita Arvunescu: While you are thinking of a question, we’ll listen to a fragment from La Rondine

Angela Gheorghiu: How is it possible that having such a strong nature and rich tone you still preserve the flexibility of your voice?
Virginia Zeani: I have never thought of the flexibility but of the interpretation and my voice was technically ready. If I could turn back time I would do differently. That’s why I don’t like to listen to the recordings of my performances. I always say “why have I done this? what’s with this breathing?”. The taste in music evolves with life. This aria must have been recorded when I was very young and I thought that you can conquer everything with quantity. Later I understood that it’s more about the colors of the voice.

Angela Gheorghiu: We all have a score and have an idea of what our voice should sound like with that music but your voice reached such a wide variety of colors. I remember that you learnt the part in Les Contes d’Hoffmann in one evening. Those who study human voices and us as sopranos know that is not easy to get from a color of voice to another. There’s a theory saying that you need three different voices in order to sing La Traviata. But it’s all about the color. You need the flexibility that allows you to sing that part successfully. We know how it is supposed to sound like, but the will is not the same with strength. And you were strong enough to do this. It’s amazing.

Virginia Zeani: It’s the instinct, the love for music, for nuances that developed in me. Both you and Eugenia worked hard. It’s a work done with joy. When on stage we were happy. That’s the problem. We can’t live on stage all the time. We have to face the reality, sometimes an unpleasant one. Having music in our blood we can always find the beauty in life.

Luminita Arvunescu: It was a wonderful conversation with Virginia Zeani and Angela Gheorghiu. Thank you so much for talking to us.

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful to have this glimpse. Thank you!