In conversation with Marina Rebeka
An interview with the Latvian soprano
I find it okay. I’ve never had problems with acoustics in any opera house. In Opéra Bastille the focus of the sound must be very precise, so that the voice projects well.
2 – You’ve sung a lot of times Violetta Valéry. Has your interpretation evolved and do you see her differently?
My interpretation of this role is different every time I sing it. It changes every evening depending on how I feel and on the relationship between me and my singing partners. I live through this story. My interpretation has evolved in time, just as my voice did in the past 10 years.
3- How do you work a role? Do you use the literary sources or any recording of the opera you study?
I study all possible sources to which I have access. I also listen to various recordings and then forget them all as I get to work with the score. I read the libretto, then listen to music with the score in hand and follow the musical notation. Then I play the music by myself and reread the text, studying it all. Only when everything is in my head, I add the voice. Every role needs different preparation time. Once the role’s essence is in me, the music gets quickly into my head. What’s the most important to me is to feel the personality of the character I portray.
4- Let’s talk more about you. Which roles do you want to sing in the future?
I definitely want to do a lot of Normas, as this is the role I love and can discover and rediscover forever. It gives lot of space for developing acting skills, too. In addition, more of Maria Stuarda, Anna Bolena, later also Roberto Devereux. I know some people think that bel canto is boring. It is only boring when singers cannot infuse their characters with life and passion. The orchestration is very plain and the whole opera often depends on the singer’s musicality and acting skills. Other roles I would love to do are Massenet’s Thaïs & Manon, Dvořák’s Rusalka, Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta & Tatiana, as well as Amelia Grimaldi from Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra. If I have a chance, I’d also like to sing Gounod’s Juliette and Puccini’s Mimi from La Bohème, which I adore.
5- Do you have a special place where you like to sing?
Vienna and Riga. Both cities are very special to me, with very special audiences and opera houses.
6- If you weren’t opera singer, what would you have done?
I would probably be a travel agent, because I know how to organize travels, search for houses, buy flights, rent cars, etc.