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MARIANNE CORNETTI:”The biggest challenge as a mezzo-soprano singing Gioconda is the middle voice!”

Dragi operatici, am zis ca la asa o zi frumoasa (e soare si cald la Berlin) sa va ofer o lectura pe masura la cafeaua de dimineata: Marianne Cornetti a avut amabilitatea sa-mi acorde un interviu inaintea spectacolului de la Timisoara in care va canta, in premiera, rolul titular din La Gioconda. Pentru a nu rapi textului niciuna dintre nuante am decis sa-l public direct in limba engleza, asa cum a fost el realizat. Va doresc lectura placuta si va invit sa veniti la acest spectacol pe 25 martie la Timisoara. Aveti aici toate detaliile!

Pe curand, cu mai multe povesti de la Berlin si Londra.

1. Singing the title in La Gioconda in Timisoara is very good news to Romanian opera lovers. Is this a one time event or do you plan to include it in your future repertoire?

I am so delighted to be able to sing the role of Gioconda for the very first time for the theatre in Timisoara and for the all of the Romanians!
I am grateful for Corneliu Murgu who has given me this opportunity! It’s a role that I really love, and even though challenging, I am truly looking forward to the performance. At this moment I don’t have any projected contract to sing the role in the future. BUT I am very hopeful that my performance in Timisoara will give me the opportunity
in doing so very soon.

2. You said in an interview that when approaching a new role you need time to “fit” it into your voice. How long did you work on this? What are the biggest challenges of the role?

Typically I take 6 months or more to study a role and get it into my voice and body. Because I sang the role of Laura for the first time in Gioconda last year in Palermo, I also listened very closely to the music of Gioconda when I wasn’t rehearsing my scenes, and thus the music was very familiar to me when I started studying it October.
Having said that, I was in the middle of singing ABIGAILLE at The Met in October and November and then Aida in Hamburg and LaScala in January and February and this it was impossible to work on two completely different repertoires at the same time!

The biggest challenge as a mezzo-soprano singing Gioconda is the middle voice! Just coming from LaScala singing Amneris, makes it difficult because, the middle voice as Amneris is much weightier. Where as Gioconda is an amazing amount of middle voice but you can not put the same kind of weight throughout the role role because first of all it will kill you for the top notes (and believe me, there are ALOT of top notes in this role) and secondly, it’s not correct stylistically! You can not sing Gioconda like Amneris or Azucena! Even though the role can become VERY DRAMATIC at times!!! You have to ‘hold the horse back’ so to speak all the time, because if you don’t, it will take its toll on you! Gioconda is a VERY long role!!! And even though you have sung a lot of singing in Acts 1,2 and 3, Ponchielli saves some of THE hardest sing for Act 4!!! And even still harder the duet with Barnaba at the end is even more challenging!

3. Do you have any further plans to sing in Romania? Perhaps Bucharest?

At this point I don’t have any projects coming up in Romania! But it would be a pleasure to return to this country that is steeped in an a great tradition of opera!!!!! The Romanian audiences are so knowledgeable, warm and welcoming. Whether its in Bucharest or Timisoara or wherever, I would welcome the invitation!

4. On several occasions (including Romania) you sang together with your friend soprano Nelly Miricioiu. What is like to share the stage with a friend?

Well it’s ALWAYS A GREAT PLEASURE FOR ME TO HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO  SING WITH NELLY!! SHE IS SUCH A FANTASTIC ARTIST, AND BEING MY BEST FRIEND, IT MAKES IT ALL THAT MUCH MORE SPECIAL! When you are connected with a friend on stage the energy levels and the trust issues are so heightened!!! You know that person is giving back as much as you are giving to them!!! As is the case with Nelly and me. Because she has guided my career vocally for the past 10 years, there is not an opera that I do that doesn’t pass her ears!!! So when we sing together, there is an AMAZING JOY and PRIDE and actual NERVOUSNESS on my part because I want to perform at my highest level and show her, that her knowledge and hard work are being utilised all the time!!
Believe me, most of the time when we are singing together, we are RIVALS! So if you can imagine two very strong characters on stage like she and I, there’s an ENORMOUS amount of energy!!!! IT’S ALWAYS SO MUCH

5. Visiting our country so many times by now – what do you like most about Romania?

I LOVE the Romanian people… warm and welcoming! And I must say, I LOVE THE FOOD, especially sarmale, mamaliga with brinza si smantana, and PAPANASI. And even a little tuica!!!
It’s ALWAYS such a pleasure for me to spend time in Romania…..I can thank my bestest friend Nelly Miricioiu for introducing me to her country and ALL of the WONDERFUL people and cultural characteristics of this great country!


1 comment

  • Daniella

    Multumim pentru interviu, OperaOnline. Ne-ai obisnuit cu surprize din cele mai frumoase. Imi amintesc cu bucurie de Marianne Cornetti in rolul Printesei de Bouillon din “Adriana Lecouvreur” la Timisoara. Mi-ar fi placut s-o vad si in Gioconda, dar din pacate n-am sa pot ajunge la Timisoara. Poate ne relateaza cineva cum a fost.

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