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Angela Gheorghiu

"Sempre libera" sings Violetta, hopelessly: Tosca seems to answer her, with his "Vissi d’arte, vissi  d’amore" (I lived by art, I lived by love). Traviata and Tosca, two heroines who measure up to the stature and voice of Angela Gheorghiu. "I have always known myself to be out of the ordinary", she admits flatly, "I live as I want." A sombre, powerful, voluptuous voice, it has been said that she brought together the qualities of Callas with those of Tebaldi... A champion of last-minute cancellations, her waspish tongue is without rival. The caprices of a diva? Perhaps - but above all she demands great things of herself, and of opera, which she too often finds ill-treated by unscrupulous producers, who do what they like.

Angela Gheorghiu has no model ("An artist must not"); she works on her roles alone, without pianist, without tutor, without coach. After her studies at the Bucharest Academy of Music under the hard regime of the Communist dictator Ceaușescu ("Because I grew up in a country where all personal opinion was forbidden, that made me stronger "), she launched her international career in 1992 in Covent Garden, Vienna and New York. Two years later, she had a real triumph at the Royal Opera House in La Traviata, under Georg Solti's direction. Recorded, filmed and released by DECCA in DC and DVD, this production launched Angela Gheorghiu's international career.

Her marriage to, and subsequent falling out of love with tenor Robert Alagna was the talk of all the gossip columns. Together, they racked up success after success and the pair are immortalised in Puccini's Tosca, the great film of Benoit Jacquot, with Ruggero Raimondi, under the direction of Antonio Pappano. If her volcanic personality raised eyebrows among the rarefied world of opera lovers, no-one could disagree on the subject of the singer's art and her qualities as an actress, which have brought her to the pinnacle of singing today. Her heroines, Tosca, Marguerite, Mimi, Cio-Cio-San, Carmen, Violetta, Adriana Lecouvreur, Charlotte, Manon won her the loyalty of lovers of beautiful song the world over.

Angela Gheorghiu also enjoys giving recitals, never hesitating to mix styles, moving with steady professionalism from Gluck to Paolo Tosti, by way of Romanian composers or the works of Jacques Brel. Absent from the studio from several years, she recently recorded an eagerly-awaited album. Titled Eternalmente, it is dedicated to Verism, with extracts of operas by Puccini, Mascagni and Leoncavallo, some in duet with tenor Joseph Calleja, under the direction of French conductor Emmanuel Villaume, who currently conducts the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, who also appear on this WARNER CLASSICS album. © FH / Qobuz


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