Theatre & Opera Magazine

Part III - Music and Pure Emotion with Angela Gheorghiu

Posted on the 09 January 2012 by Irinastanescu
Hoping you enjoyed part I and part II, here's third and last part of the interview broadcast on Radio Romania Muzical on December 24.  . .
Is an opera singer allowed to have a bad day or to make mistakes? I think not. The operagoers are the cruelest audience. Not only with opera singers but also with radio producers.
When a singer does his or her best but for who knows what reason he or she makes a mistake there should be a supportive reaction, same as in sports. In a figure skating competition when somebody makes a mistake the public applauds and gives support. Why would you boo in an opera house when I, as a singer, I’m the first to know I made a mistake and suffer for this. We have to be aware that an artist gets on that stage after a lifetime of hard working.  He or she makes mistakes by accident. It’s like you plant a knife in an open wound with your reaction. I can’t possible get this attitude of public offence towards an artist. Artists go on stage to give nothing but their best. I want to make people dream, to make them forget about their problems for three-four hours. It’s a lot of work done by a huge family. You can’t imagine how many people on stage or behind the stage contribute to your dream. A flat note shouldn’t be punished. On the contrary, that person needs support. I fight to make people understand this. I think people do this out of habit or because of a misunderstanding. Let’s say you don’t like it, then don’t applaud or just leave. There are methods. 
You go to opera to enjoy the music.
Exactly. We should be aware it’s a show. There are lightings, costumes, music, libretto, characters, orchestra and chorus. There are hundreds of people that came on stage that evening willing to produce an amazing performance. Don’t we all want that? It’s exactly what I meant. 
It’s true. Maybe when we criticize a performance or a singer we should think that none of the tens of people engaged in the show want things to go wrong. None of them. Only that some of them are more exposed than others. And when the cast is led by a stellar name such as Roberto Alagna or Angela Gheorghiu, then this person accepts the dangerous destiny of moving on, on the verge of the abyss of failure. All the eyes are watching them, the attention doubles. And there are venues such as La Scala in Milan where the simple breath of the audience can cause restlessness. Maybe tonight we learn that lyrical artists have the right to make mistakes too. And if they don’t want to make mistakes as it happens in Angela Gheorghiu’s case, they should be allowed to cancel the performance.
We’re close to the end of our dialogue. I’ll ask some short questions. What is Angela Gheorghiu listening to when she’s not listening to opera?
I listen to lots of opera.
I have no doubt. What about symphonic music?
I listen to that too. I love Bach, Mozart, Rachmaninov, Tchaikovsky…
Piano concerts in particular?
Yes. Piano is my favorite instrument. I loved it. I spoke about Radu Lupu recently, in an interview for a French radio station.
I ask you these things because I find it difficult to imagine you listening to other kind of music. I only picture you as an opera singer.
How does Angela Gheorghiu finishes 2011? Is she content, happy?
For me the year doesn’t end now. Artists don’t think like that. You’re talking to somebody who has opera seasons as reference. It’s festive. I love Christmas, Christmas carols, I enjoy receiving and giving gifts, I like to decorate my Christmas tree. I was spoiled in my family. There are no holidays without “O, ce veste minunta” or other carols in all the languages of the world and the Christmas tree is sacred.  
Will you spend this Christmas here?
In New York.
As you said, each year you recreate the Christmas of your childhood, materially poor but rich in emotional memories. A bohemian period followed during the years spent in Bucharest, in high school and Conservatory, a period that Angela Gheorghiu seems to relate to all the time.
I love Christmas because it’s about birth. For me it’s like rebirth. I wish you Happy Holidays. I wish you harmony, I word very dear to me. For a few moments we should forget about all the negativity around us. That’s why I give you my music. With music we all step in another world, where everything is beautiful.
Tonight, same as all of us, Angela Gheorghiu is together with her dear ones in New York and she’s waiting for Santa. She didn’t want to tell me what gift she’d like to receive. Maybe because she’s only waiting for what life will bring her, as she told us at the beginning of the interview. She doesn’t plan her life. Tonight she’ll think of us. She has already sent you her wishes. And I, Luminita Arvunescu, will join her wishes. And I’ll thank her once more for her wonderful thought of joining us with her music, emotion and words on Christmas Eve 2011. I wish you Happy Holidays!
** the end ** .

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