"What I felt on stage it’s not a story anymore, it’s a fact!". Interview in Adevarul
The were two interviews published on the day after the first Boheme, one in Adevarul and the second one on Mediafax. By coincidence both have similar questions and similar answers. But I chose the one in Adevarul as favorite for the atmosphere and for its stronger connection to the event. When reading it I had the feeling I'm actually there, at the Royal Opera House. When I go to ROH I always stop in front of a certain photo. Just to be sure it's still there.
Interview by Ana-Maria Onisei
Adevarul, June 20, 2012
20 years ago, in 1992, you stepped on the stage of the Royal Opera House to perform in La Boheme, a role that also marked you international debut. What are your feelings about this role today?
First time I sang this role on stage was when I graduated the Music Conservatory in Bucharest and the performance was staged at the Opera House in Cluj. Covent Garden was the international debut, if we may say so. I auditioned also with La Boheme
Do you cherish memories related to La Boheme?
It’s a very beautiful story. It reminds me of the dreamy youth years I spent in the boarding school of the Music High school. As students we were living this bohemian life depicted in the opera. So I’m familiar with the French story! I care a lot about the part of Mimi as it brought me luck in all the theaters in the world. I sang at Vienna State Opera and Metropolitan shortly after the performance at Covent Garden. Tonight I was deeply moved that I had the chance to live in the true sense of the word. What I felt on stage it’s not a story anymore, it’s a fact!
How do you manage to freshen up the same role?
The performances always differ one from another because we, the artists, are different from a day to another. We have to face various situations, different partners. The production and the costumes always change. If having one hundred performances a day, at least one would be special. The tonight’s performances started with an adventure. The curtain refused to rise for half an hour. You see, it happens also in Covent Garden. (she laughs) Everybody was nervous. We were on the verge of singing the concert version.
You and your husband, the French tenor Roberto Alagna, came back singing on stage together after the announcement of the separation. The joy of reconciliation was marked by the audience with applauses.
I have to say that nothing original happens with my private life, not now, not in the future. The most important thing for both of us was that we were committed in finding resources to perform youth roles. Never in the history of opera did happen for singers to perform in the same production and same costumes. Honestly, when I tried the costumes with my name on the label I realized they fit perfectly. There were more than one Romanian and one Sicilian in the cast tonight. Marcello is also a Romanian, George Petean and Musetta was a Sicilian (she laughs).
You celebrate 20 years of sining on the great stages of the world. The society and the audience changed being influenced by the technology. Would the live opera performance survive technology?
I’m not for the productions that change history or subject. I love everything it's modern but I dislike things that ruin the style of music, the story or the plot to that extent that we need surtitles to understand what’s going on onstage. Would live opera survive technology? I’m sure of that. 20 years from now if you put down in your agenda a performance at Covent Garden, you’ll come!
A performance in a performance
A full house murmured Tuesday night when hearing the announcement of the management. “We apologize, for technical reasons the curtain is not working. You’ll whiteness a unique show only here, at Covent Garden!”. The applauses and typical English jokes replaced the silence. More than the first two acts of La Boheme by Giacomo Puccini took place in front of the audience: they could see how sets are changed and put in place. There were big emotions for the cast too. Soprano Angela Gheorghiu (Mimi) and tenor Roberto Alagna (Rodolfo) met again in a performance that marked 20 years from the debut on the stage in Covent Garden. The audience applauded after each duet.
Magnet for Romanians
“Brava” cheered one of the spectators, in a low, enthusiastic voice while people at the balcony dropped flowers on stage at the end of the performance when Angela Gheorghiu and Roberto Alagna came at curtain call holding hands. In the circular foyer of the Royal Opera House, with its walls covered in photos from famous performances, right in front of a black and white photo with Angela Gheorghiu in La Traviata, a group of Romanians were waiting for the soprano to come out for autographs.
“20 years ago I could hardly meet a Romanian at a performance. Now they’re so many. I’m like a magnet for Romanians” she laughs, wearing a grey, waist stretched dress that makes her look like a ballerina. She hugs the fans one by one while thanking them for the red roses or the teddy bears she receives as gifts. There’s a private party and a cake waiting for her, marking her 20 years of international career.
Little to 1am, before living, she goes down to the backstage door to salute the fans that weren’t allowed in. Because as she likes to say, “After the show there’s always another show”.
Today the second performance of La Boheme is taking place at Royal Opera House in London.