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Angela Gheorghiu talks to Jon Tolansky, interview in Opera Magazine

The interview was published in the July issue of the British magazine Opera. Just because it can't be read online unless you have a subscription (except for the first two pages that are posted here), I'll make a summary, for curious minds.
The three main topics are Tosca, ROH's production and Angela's observations on the role:

[...] Puccini, like Verdi, was a genius in the subtle way he could make a voice change its characteristics as the course of events in the drama affects the personality of the role. In Tosca, the textures and colours of the vocal and orchestral writing when Tosca sings in the first-act duet with Cavaradossi convey such a girlish quality in her. There is a freshness and sweetness in the lines, they are almost innocent-sounding, even though of course she knows how to entrance her man, and she knows what it is to feel jealous. There is a youthful delicacy in her in this duet, and Puccini gives the soprano a great challenge to convey this and then follow it with such a dramatic difference later when she becomes distressed and we see how strong she is as she fights so hard to protect Cavaradossi.[...]
Then they talk about Puccini's "Madama Butterfly", the meanings and interpretation.

[...] That moment after Sharpless has asked Cio Cio San what she would do if Pinkerton were not to come back, when Butterfly replies, "Two things I could do - go back to entertaining the people with my songs - or better - to die", sounds so chillingly real in Gheorghiu's performance because she so accurately fulfills Puccini's instructions: "Butterfly is struck numb as though from a mortal blow to the body - she sings in a voice sounding like a child's submission, almost stammering". [...] And although Gheorghiu has consciously prepared dramatic truth by her fastidious observation of the score, the actuality of the expression has been emotionally spontaneous.
"Maybe 80 per cent of the time I am on stage or in front of a microphone, I am not at that moment thinking about singing or about technique. It is like my soul, it is something different, it is not the voice. The voice is also there, it has to be there, and it has had to be prepared - but at that moment of singing the preformance, there is more. The response is never a conscious exaggeration - it is a natural expression. I am never pretending. I am never playing to play. It is just how I am at that moment. And it costs"
The last character they talk about is Adriana Lecouvreur, mentioning the recent premiere at the ROH.

[...] Gheorghiu defines what is surely a vital characteristic of Adriana's personality and appeal when she refers to the "almost dreamy" music Cilea sometimes gives her on the one hand and the powerful strength she expresses on the other. This elusive and illusory element, inextricably part of the fragile line between fantasy and reality in Adriana's life and art, was one of the most magical and subtle qualities in Gheorghiu's performance, conveying so tellingly the frailty and isolation Adriana feels beneath her glittering fame.
[...] You need to feel you are speaking before you are singing, otherwise the musical expression is not true, and also this is the only route to having the clarity of the voice. Of course in Adriana Lecouvreur the soprano has her dramatic spoken recitation at the end of act 3, which is such an unusual and wonderfully striking passage that I love to perform, but quite apart from that, in this verismo opera I hear the words in the libretto spoken in my mind before I sing them".
Two more things are mentioned in the interview:
* that she'd like to direct an opera "and sooner maybe than you think! This is a real part of me, deep inside, and I do understand some things"
* and that a newly recorded CD of arias is coming out this autumn on EMI Classics.


  1. Thank you in advance Irina, it seems very interesting !

  2. Buna,

    Stiu ca esti o mare admiratoare atat a lui LANG LANG cat si a CECILIEI BARTOLI.Te rog sa-mi spui ce sa aleg pentru un concert - Lang Lang sau Sacrificium. Nu pot merge decat la unul. E greu sa aleg, dar...

  3. Any idea what is on the CD Irina?

    Best wishes, and thanks as always for news....

  4. E greu de ales. Depinde spre ce inclini. Muzica simfonica sau cea vocala. Daca Ceci canta Sacrificium, mergi sa o vezi. Este impresionant ce poate face cu vocea. In plus, este un spectacol complet. Am citit ca o inceapa un turneu cu muzica de Vivaldi si probabil Sacrificium va fi lasat in urma. Orice ar canta Lang Lang, probabil va relua si in viitor.
    Asadat, votul meu merge catre La Bartoli. Sa-mi spui cum a fost.

  5. @James - no idea. She said in a recent interview that the new CD will be a surprise for everyone. We'll see :)

  6. multumesc irina