To continue our week-long celebration of our release of Sondra Radvanovsky’s debut album “Verdi Arias”, we thought we would share an interview she did last year with the fearless blogger Opera Chic. We will post an excerpt from the interview and then want to encourage you to read the post in its entirety at OperaChic.typepad.com. We’re especially excited about this interview because it’s all about Verdi!
From the Opera Chic Blog:
Sondra Radvanovsky: “Never Louder Than Lovely” — The Opera Chic Interview
September 10, 2009
You’re one of the top Verdi sopranos singing today — let’s talk about Verdi’s women: Which of his roles fit you best? Which roles do you have trouble slipping into?
“Vocally, Trovatore’s Leonora is a good fit, and since I’ve sung it hundreds of times it’s very secure for me. I respect the versatility of the vocal writing, and love that she has a chance to sing every dynamic. Dramatically, I feel that I’ve expanded the role. Leonora is sometimes depicted as a wilting, wall-flower type, but here you have a character that’s going to give up her life for someone else, and that’s a fairly big thing – she’s got to have guts, and she needs to be impetuous, spirited, and passionate. So for David McVicar’s Il Trovatore at The Metropolitan Opera, we made Leonora young and vibrant, and since that matches my personality rather well, it’s a role I savor. Luisa Miller is another Verdi role that I’ve really enjoyed. Vocally I might be a bit past it, but I think she’s a fabulous character. For various reasons, the role I have difficulties slipping into is Elvira in Ernani. She’s just not a complete character; it’s a bit archaic, somewhat unrealistic, and vocally, it’s not a well-composed opera. And I find the premise unrealistic because in the modern era, Elvira would run off with the king! Why wouldn’t she? He’s rich, nominally handsome, and powerful – it’s a no-brainer!”
Are there certain Verdi librettists that you favor more than others?
“Arrigo Boito works well because he’s so conversational, and his libretti read more like how one speaks in real life. With works like Falstaff and Otello, his libretti make sense in a theatrical sense because it keeps the action moving.”
One of Verdi’s main thrusts of Trovatore is that of destiny. How much do you believe in destiny?
“When you look at opera, you discover that destiny was interwoven into many of the plots, so to say one believes in destiny isn’t unusual. I’m quite metaphysical, and when I reflect on the career I’ve had, I like to believe that there’s a system of higher guidance. I’ve had numerous roadblocks throughout my path and yet I am still here singing, and I have a life that I could have only dreamed of. Meeting my husband was truly fateful. He grounded me and changed my life for the better. My career has built slowly throughout the years, and he’s been there for me every step of the way.”
You have a Verdi Duets album with Dmitri Hvorostovsky and a solo album of Verdi arias, both which are going to drop this season. Give us the details! What’s your favorite track?
“The Duets CD is a live concert from last June at the Conservatorio in Moscow where Dmitri and I sang a program of all-Verdi arias and duets. It was quite a memorable concert because not only was it the first time that I had met Dmitri, but it was also the first time I had ever sung with him. The chemistry on stage was incredible – it was like electricity had filled the hall. And Dmitri’s voice was so sublime that I just wanted to stand there and listen to him sing! One of my favorite selections from the concert was the Simon Boccanegra duet: It was the first time I sang that duet, and the way that Dmitri caressed each line was beyond beautiful.”
Please read the interview in its entirety on The Opera Chic Blog!