NOVAT and the entire Novosibirsk celebrate the 10th anniversary of Veronika Dzhioeva’s creative activities. The owner of «divine soprano» has shared her impressions of the upcoming premiere of Aida, and creative objectives for the next year.
NOVAT: Veronika, within the framework of the festive programme you have already performed in Otello, Carmen, La Traviata and Turandot. The part of Liu in Turandot was your debut. How did it go?
VERONIKA DZHIOEVA: Even if I’m out of Novosibirsk, I carefully follow the Theatre’s life. When I saw pictures of Turandot, I thought, «My God, what a beautiful production!» It’s my favorite opera. I was really happy when Vyacheslav Starodubtsev, a talented stage director of good taste and perfect feeling of style, contacted me. We are working with pleasure, and Aida is ahead.
N.: Musical director of which is Dmitri Jurowski, by the way.
V.D.: Yes! He makes music with his own hands and feels vocalists perfectly. He is very calm, the whole Theatre already loves him. Dmitri is an outstanding person, that is why he is a wonderful musician. I believe that a bad person cannot be a good musician. I have a feeling that Aida is going to be a good production. And what beautiful costumes it is going to have... You know, when costumes are beautiful, the voice even sounds better (laughs).
N.: You are a very in-demand singer, has the next year been already scheduled for you?
V.D.: The next year is going to be very tough, and nearly all the time I’ll be out of Russia. I am lucky to be loved by Peter de Caluwe, the director of La Monnaie, the Royal Opera of Brussels. He invited me to sing the part of Tamara in The Daemon, though, to be frank, it is not quite «my kind» of part. Peter mentioned once, «Veronika, when I listen to your singing, I feel sorry for your voice — Santuzza, Gioconda...» But I said I would sing almost anything, as I am extremely insatiable for work. It is certainly a big dream to sing Gioconda in such a theatre as La Monnaie. Then I will perform Rakhmaninov’s Opus 21 in Philharmonie de Paris. And in a couple of hours I will have to fly to London. I have a big tour in Great Britain with London Symphony Orchestra: London- Warwick-Bedford. That is also a good luck. After that I start rehearsals in Helsinki where Katerina Izmailova will be staged specially for me. Then I will return to Russia for a short while to perform in Don Carlos at the Bolshoi Theatre. Straight after I will go to Geneve to sing the part of Fiordiligi in Cosi fan tutte. Mozart is always a great joy!
N.: Your profession, to some extent, denies geographical borders, but do you miss Russia?
V.G.: It’s hardly ever possible not to miss Russia. Though, sincerely speaking, now I love Prague more but for one reason — Russian speech is everywhere and I feel like I’m in Moscow. I always miss Novosibirsk: all of my friends are here, they love me and miss me.
N.: Are there any peculiarities in European opera singing that substantially differ from the Russian tradition?
V.D.: In Europe they have totally different notions of the voice, their manner of singing is different and they consider that Russian singers «yell» too much. As a matter of fact, they don’t, it is because we, Russian singers, have bigger voices. Sometimes I have difficulties with my voice because it is too big for Europe. I am often told: if we employ such singer, what will the rest of the cast be? When I came for auditions, I intentionally sang as gently as possible, so that they would not tell me that my voice is too big. But they still said that. It’s a strange time — everything is getting smaller...
N.: I can’t but ask you: what place does the Novosibirsk Opera take in your life?
V.D.: This is my first theatre, everything started here. In my fourth year I made a debut in La Boheme at the Conservatoire opera studio — I had such a funny voice back then... After a little while Theodor Kurentzis heard me at Maria Callas opera contest in Athens. And, when I was employed by the Mariinsky Theatre and didn’t even sing a single part there, he called me and said, «You shouldn’t be just one of sopranos there, you must have your own parts». I wish our Theatre to finally go Global. In this sense it is great that the company is now led by such a big musician from a famous dynasty as Dmitri Jurowski. The Theatre needs a conductor with a name. We must uphold standards and level: only big singers, conductors and stage directors.