It ain’t over til the Romanian Lady sings. The days of being the “ultimate Diva” are over for sure. Yet, on her website one can still read her self-description: “the most glamorous and gifted opera singer of our time”. Her still faithful fan base celebrated Angela Gheorghiu’s in Berlin’s Staatsoper Unter den Linden enthusiastically.
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Berlin, 17 January, 2020
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Angela Gheorghiu, soprano
Alexandra Dariescu, piano
Gheorghiu was accompanied on the piano by Romanian pianist Alexandra Dariescu. The programme of the evening (see complete programme below) was announced on the Staatsoper’s website as a worldwide journey through love with all its ups and downs, joys and pains, with the Lied as connecting factor.
The first half of the evening, Gheorghiu started out with some French repertoire by Rameau, Martini and Debussy. This was probably not her best choice to start with. Her voice still needed some warming-up. It sounded a bit harsh and hoarse. The often acclaimed versatility was missing. After three songs, Dariescu had her first piano solo (Chopin). She is 20 years younger than the singer, but they seem to have quite a close connection and often showed each other gestures of affection during performing.
Dariescu, a highly praised and awarded talent who has already recorded internationally renowned CDs, showed her fascinating skills. Her attack at the piano is as gentle as a light breeze in spring, but can turn into a furious thunderstorm within a second.
After that, Gheorghiu returned – now approaching the Italian repertoire with a few Bellini and Donizetti pieces. She definitely enjoyed herself on stage, bathing in her fans’ applause after each song. There were always two or three sung pieces, followed by a piano piece. Quite a nice mixture, which made the evening more entertaining. Dariescu demonstrated her curiosity for different styles by alternating between e. g. Tchaikovsky and Clara Schumann, both very pleasant and interesting interpretations.
After the intermission, well-known Italian songs by Tosti and Respighi alternated with lesser known pieces by Romanian composers. However, these were especially enjoyed by an obviously huge number of Romanians in the audience. They happily laughed about the (apparently funny) text and matching coquettish gestures by their Diva and gave her especially loud cheers.
Gheorghiu’s voice had warmed up by then, and the second half of the evening turned out to be much better than the first one.
Schubert’s “Ständchen” and an aria from von Flotow’s opera Martha were obviously dedicated to the German part of the audience. All over the evening she flirted with her fans in the audience, gave them a half girlish, half diva-like smile, and enjoyed to be “as much Angela as Angela can be”. Enthusiastic fans demanded an encore, which she graciously granted with a quite good “O mio babbino caro”, the song “Because” – and last but not least the old German folk song “Guten Abend, gut’ Nacht” (intonated by Brahms), sung unaccompanied.
The audience and her fans left extremely happy, after the Diva had waved for the last time and strided away …
Jean-Philippe Rameau: LE GRILLON
Jean-Paul-Égide Martini: PLAISIR D’AMOUR
Claude Debussy: NUIT D’ÉTOILES
Frédéric Chopin: TRISTESSE nach der Etüde op. 10 Nr. 3
Lili Boulanger: TROIS MORCEAUX POUR PIANO
Giovanni Paisiello: NEL COR PIÙ NON MI SENTO (»La molinara«)
Vincenzo Bellini: MALINCONIA
Gaetano Donizetti: ME VOGLIO FA ’NA CASA
Peter Tschaikowsky: PAS DE DEUX aus der »Nussknacker-Suite«
Reynaldo Hahn: L’HEURE EXQUISE, Nr. 5 »Chansons grises«
Sergej Rachmaninow: СОН (EIN TRAUM), op. 8 Nr. 5
Francesco Paolo Tosti: LA SERENATA, IDEALE SOGNO
Ottorino Respighi: NEBBIE
Tudor Ciortea: JOC ŢIGĂNESC für Klavier solo
Tiberiu Brediceanu: CINE M-AUDE CÂNTÂND
Clara Schumann: NOCTURNE F-DUR OP. 6 NR. 2 für Klavier solo
Franz Schubert: STÄNDCHEN, aus »Schwanengesang« D 957 Friedrich von Flotow: QUI SOLA, VERGIN ROSA (LETZTE ROSE)
Encores: O MIO BABBINO CARO , BECAUSE (Edward Tschemacher), GUTEN ABEND, GUT‘ NACHT (deutsches Volkslied, von Johannes Brahms vertont).