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May 17, 2011

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Gheorghiu enjoys surprising audiences

ROMANIAN soprano Angela Gheorghiu is well-prepared for her first concert in Shanghai tonight. Her recital will be at Shanghai Grand Theater and is an important stop on her Asian tour.

She says she was amazed by the modern and welcoming city on her way from the airport to the theater and that she couldn't wait to see the stage and the orchestra for the concert.

Gheorghiu will cooperate with her old partner, conductor Ion Marin, and young Romanian tenor Stefan Pop, who she has also worked with in the past. Shanghai Symphony Orchestra will help perfect the concert as well.

They will perform 14 programs including the well-known Puccini's "La Boheme" - "O Soave Fanciulla," Mascagni's "Cavalleria Rusticana" - "Intermezzo" and Donizetti's "L'elisir D'amore" - "Caro Elisir." But Gheorghiu also added some less familiar songs to the list like Dvorak's "Song to the Moon" and Ponce's "Estellita."

"I don't want it to be boring. I hope that my audience can hear new things from me," says Gheorghiu, "I like giving them surprises."

Born in the small Romanian town Adjud, Gheorghiu showed her talent and interest in singing from childhood. She attended the Music School in Bucharest and graduated from the National University of Music Bucharest, where she studied under Mia Barbu.

Her performance in "La Boheme" at the Royal Opera House in London in 1992 was her international debut. And it was also in the same place that she first sang her much acclaimed "La Traviata" in 1994, when the BBC cleared its schedule to broadcast the opera. Since then, she has been in constant demand in opera houses and concert halls around the world.

Li Xiuying, a Chinese vocalist and teacher at Shanghai Conservatory of Music, says Gheorghiu's charming appearance, beautiful voice and perfect skill enables her to be very convincing in every part she plays, including those in "La Traviata," "La Boheme," "Carmen" and "Turandot."

Gheorghiu says she studies many things needed for a musician including music, opera, acting and languages. Being a student and an opera singer on the stage at the same time helps her keep improving.

"Each performance is a new challenge for me," says Gheorghiu, "I am different every day, and I cooperate with different orchestras on different stages. I have to be fully prepared."

Gheorghiu is inclined to make all decisions on her own, as she believes that freedom is very important for an artist.

"I left home for music school when I was 14. Since then, I am a free bird making all my own decisions. I am fully responsible for my choice even if it turns out to be wrong," says Gheorghiu. "As an artist, I will listen to suggestions, but I make the final decision on my own."

Gheorghiu says that she doesn't have a favorite role among all that she has performed, as she likes them all. Every role she plays is like a different book or a different painting that brings a different feeling to her, but they are all beautiful and touching.

"If you do not believe in the role, you cannot make it," she says. "If I don't like them in the first place, I will never sing."

She recently quit the new "Faust" of Metropolitan Opera House of New York, as she says she was not satisfied with the execution.

"It didn't suit me," says Gheorgehiu, "I am the one to sing on the stage and I have to be responsible for my work."

As an old partner of Gheorghiu, it is Marin's first time in Shanghai. He says there is much communication between Western operas and Chinese operas taking place in Europe today. Marin says he hopes their performance will help Shanghai audiences better understand European opera.

Date: Today, 7:15pm

Venue: Shanghai Grand Theater, 300 People's Ave

Tickets: 120-980 yuan

Tel: 962-388


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