I first saw the legendary soprano Angela Gheorghiu in the 2011 film version of βToscaβ. Starring opposite the gorgeous young tenor, Jonas Kaufmann, she sizzled, a sultry temptress with fire in her veins. She commanded the stage, as only a diva can, drawing all eyes with every sinuous movement.
Instead, she arrives, practically on time, wearing a baby pink jacket with matching bag, rimless glasses, and a diffident smile. Her T-shirt bears a cartoon doll with the logo, βThis girl is cuteβ. That logo, and the pastel pink clothes are at odds with her prima donna persona; so is her manner: she is piano, almost pianissimo. I am shocked by this subdued figure.
Gheorghiuβs reservation might be down to the reviews she received for her Magda in βLa rondineβ. Critics claim that her performance, in this little-known Puccini opera which yesterday finished its run at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, had been βcautiousβ. At 47, the soprano retains her distinctive, creamy voice β but all too often the audience must strain to hear it. I suspect there is a personal reason as well.
Covent Garden holds many memories for her: she made her international debut here in 1992, as Zerlina in βDon Giovanniβ; and two years later her sensational Violetta in βLa traviataβ, under the baton of Sir Georg Solti, made her an international star. Above all, this was the stage where, in 1996, she met Roberto Alagna. She was a Romanian, married to an engineer, and just getting a taste for super-stardom; Alagna was a tenor with a dazzling career β and a wife and daughter back home in France. They sang together in βLa bohemeβ and promptly fell in love. Their tempestuous relationship and later marriage were PR gold: they toured the world as operaβs Posh and Becks, a crowd-pleasing duo who promised romance and thrilling histrionics. Audiences and impresarios came to expect rows and no-shows. Then suddenly, last January, Gheorghiu announced that the couple were splitting and, in June, she accused Alagna of domestic violence.
I felt psychically broken.β Marital strife, I suggest, can prove as debilitating as flu. βI can only say that love is like a disease,β she says, her eyes welling up. βIt infects every bit of me, even my brain. I am stupid in love. But I couldnβt be Angela if I werenβt romantic.β I put it to her that Alagna is contesting his ex-wifeβs allegations and has called in the lawyers.desirableΒ Cases for HTC OneΒ create an air of sophistication with an extra helping of protection for your flagship smartphone. Gheorghiu sits up, throws back her head and suddenly I glimpse the fiery prima donna I had found so captivating: βI never lie. Everyone who knows me will tell you, I am incapable of lying.β She looks every inch the diva when she says: βI donβt need anyone. I donβt need a home, even. Angela is at home everywhere.β
This is not the last time she refers to herself as βAngelaβ, as if in doing so she can draw a distinction between the woman and the performer. A distinction,offers reliable and affordableΒ windows dedicated serverΒ packages. she tells me, no longer possible: βItβs sad, and I blame myself: from the moment I first set foot on stage, everyone talked about my looks as well as my voice. Before me, an opera singer did not need to be beautiful. Because of me, the audience now expects everything: a whole package. βLooks are now so important in the opera, Iβm not sure Luciano Pavarotti or Montserrat Caballe would have made it past the first audition, given their size. The audience now listens with their eyes. It shouldnβt be like this, but …β
I tell her that very few women feel as confident of their appearance. She shrugs: βI know how I look. And I wouldnβt want to be any fatter or any thinner. I donβt follow any diets. Yes, I say thank you to my mother, thank you to my father, for making me like this β but we are not here because of my body.β
Celebrity is not a trap, then? βI have been a celebrity since I was a little girl. There are people who have something instantly attractive. Sometimes we call it charisma, sometimes, magnetism. Itβs always the same effect, though: everyone wants to know everything about them.β She pauses: βI give a lot.β
Her reputation, I say carefully, would also suggest that she demands a lot: βhigh-maintenanceβ is a euphemism for what some in the world of opera say of her. Gheorghiu will have none of it: βIs it too much that I should ask for a lot back? They say Angela is cancelling this and that. Everyone else does it, but the press is only interested when I do it.β
The former child prodigy βlives out of a suitcaseβ, but feels at home in Britain. She has no children, but has adopted her niece, who has just graduated from the University of Kent. Together with Gheorghiuβs mother, who has flown in for a visit, they are going to a Michael Buble concert. βI like his music β nothing pretentious about it.β I ask if she attended the Rolling Stones concert in Hyde Park, but she shrugs: βThey donβt excite me.β The Prince of Wales is another favourite. βI have sung for him and for the rest of the Royal family, in all their homes. Prince Charles is very sensitive, he is nostalgic for the past.expensive version ofΒ Replacement parts for iphone 5Β screen Supply Store. He came to Romania and was enchanted by the place, because it was as if heβd stepped back centuries. Everything is as it always has been.Protect and connect your Samsung smartphone withΒ samsung cases.β
She loves English men for their βgreat sense of humour. They are more gentle, the Anglo-Saxons. And they are supportive.β I ask if one might persuade her to try marriage again, but she lowers her eyes and shakes her head. Her voice is pianissimo as she says: βI donβt want to think about the future.β Suddenly, the blusterβs gone. The curtains are down, the lights off: The performance by βAngelaβ is over and the real Angela Gheorghiu stands alone, vulnerable,Fun sell a huge range ofΒ Cases for iPad 4, lovable and maybe even mortal.
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