Today we want to share another fantastic Sondra Radvanovsky interview with you! This interview is from ClassicalArchives.com, and is conducted by Classical Archives Artistic Director, Nolan Gassar. We’ll excerpt it here, but highly encourage you to read it on ClassicalArchives.com to listen to their sample track, and find their included YouTube Videos of Sondra (and even a duet with Dmitri) singing!
Sondra Radvanovsky Exclusive Interview: June 1, 2010
On Thursday, April 29, 2010, Classical Archives Artistic Director Nolan Gasser spoke with celebrated American soprano Sondra Radvanovsky, then in the midst of her first run as Tosca in a production of Puccini’s masterpiece with Opera Colorado. This follows the recent release of her first solo CD, on the Delos label, featuring a great collection of Verdi arias. Ms. Radvanovsky has been universally praised as among the greatest Verdi sopranos singing today, particularly for her role as Leonora in Il Trovatore. In this delightful and wide-ranging conversation, Ms. Radvanovsky discusses preparing for her dream-role as Tosca, the making of her recent Verdi CD, her playful singing partnership with baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky, and much more – including some brilliant advice for young singers. Don’t miss this great interview!
Nolan Gasser: This must be an exciting time in your career; you have a terrific new album out of Verdi arias and you’re also inhabiting for the first time a role that you’ve been anticipating for some 30 years – that of Puccini’s Tosca. Naturally, we’ll want to talk about both of these, but let’s start with the latter – your appearance this week in Opera Colorado’s production of Tosca; so, how is this long-anticipated experience for you going so far?
Sondra Radvanovsky: It’s been great, I have to say – it’s all that I expected, and more! As you said, I’ve waited thirty years to sing this role; and though, of course, I couldn’t have sung it at eleven years old, I really did wanted to sing Tosca from the moment I saw Eva Marton and Plácido Domingo perform it on TV. It’s just so overwhelming – I think that was the word for me, it’s overwhelming to inhabit this character that I have felt such a great passion for. Because singing Puccini is not like singing Verdi: there’s much more passion, and the music is so much fuller in many different ways. So, to have that freedom, and to sing this music, has been just exhilarating!…
… Also, in Verdi, I really think there’s an innate throb in his music; there’s no other way that I can describe it.
NG: Yes, that’s a great word.
SR: It’s like a heartbeat, a palpitation that you feel in all of his music – whether it’s fast or slow, it’s always there. And you have to have that; you have to be able to play with it. It always comes back to what Verdi wanted, that give and take and the legato lines, and it’s not easy; maybe some people make it sound easy, but it isn’t if you really do justice to what Verdi wrote – like Radames’ first aria in Aida [“Celeste Aida”]: it calls for a high Bb, sung piano; who does that nowadays?
So, Verdi writes everything in the score, just like Puccini – but doing what he wanted, that’s another thing!
NG: Well, I’m glad I asked the question, I think you’ve given a wonderful primer for all of the young opera singers out there – with great advice for them to take the time to hone their craft in a way that they may not think is necessary to have a good career.
SR: Yes, and finding your own voice is so critical. I gave a master class here yesterday for the Young Artists, and I tell them to go back and listen to all the good opera recordings: listen to the modern-day singers, listen to the old ones; find the people that you really admire and that you relate to, and ask yourself why you admire them, and why you relate to them. I told them to really take the recording apart, but then make the music your own – don’t duplicate them.
Because I think that’s a big problem: many young singers today are listening to recordings and trying to copy them; but that doesn’t make an individual, unique voice. I’ve never tried to copy anyone; instead I tried to find my own, unique voice, and hopefully I’ve succeeded – that I don’t sound like anyone else; that I sound like me….Read the full, wonderful interview at ClassicalArchives.com!