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“I will sing this!” – interview with Marina Rebeka

The Latvian soprano Marina Rebeka is one of the leading international sopranos in contemporary opera world. Her extraordinary vocal timbre and great acting skills have enabled her to perform on the world’s most important opera stages.

You are the soprano of young generation that is highly acclaimed by critics and applauded by opera audience. You sing different roles on the greatest opera stages in the world. This exceptional career started one day in Latvia, the country of your origins. Could you tell us how began your artistic adventure?

Actually, my career did not begin in Latvia. It began in the small German town – Erfurt. In Latvia I was told not to be a singer. That is why I decided that instead of joining conservatory in Latvia, after finishing music college I would go to Italy to continue my studies there. After many auditions and many competitions, during which I was never noticed, I finally had the luck! Mr Montavon engaged me for the new production of “Traviata”, that started just one month after my audition in Erfurt. So, on 2nd of June in 2007 I debuted on stage in one of the soprano’s most difficult parts.

Latvia opera noticed me and started to follow only after I had won Francisco Viñas competition and offered me to sing an aria during concert. However I had to refuse because of my debut in “Traviata” in Erfurt. Then, sometime later, they offered me again to sing another aria in concert and again I had to refuse because of “Traviata” in Vienna Volksoper. My debut in Latvia happened finally in 2009 in Donizetti’s opera “L’elisir d’amore”, in which I sang Adina. My connection with my country was strong at the beginning of my career when I studied in music school and later in music college. For sure, the musical basis, including learning harmony, history of music, musical forma, solfeggio and polifony was fantastically given to me in Jazeps Medins Riga music college. Music is a language and you have to know how to write and speak in it. It is great to know the shapes it has and how it develops, and this musical basis I had got in Riga before leaving to Italy.

Italy gave me an understanding of what type of voice I should sing and at what repertoire. I definitely followed all the famous loggionisiti stories as I was among them in Parma Opera House’s balconies when I was a student and I didn’t have money to buy tickets for opera performances. It made me understand the values this public requires from a singer. It is also extremely important for me as a singer to speak fluently in Italian and understand each word and even to read in between the lines in Italian music.

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