Our cover interview is dedicated this issue to the Italian mezzo-soprano ANNALISA STROPPA, whose voice is defined by fluidity and sensitivity. We are delighted since she has been interviewed for our magazine for the second time. She had an engaging conversation with MARIA ISABELA NICA about various powerful aspects of her life & career. You will discover her challenges during the pandemic & other exciting details. She talks about the Festival Verdi experience & the particular relationship between her voice & Verdi’s music.
She will debut this November as Lèonor de Guzman in La Favorite, the inaugural opera of the Donizetti Opera Festival, in a new production directed by Valentina Carrasco. Riccardo Frizza will conduct the piece with a cast that also includes Javier Camarena, Florian Sempey, Evgeny Stavinsky, Caterina Di Tonno & Edoardo Milletti. The festival will showcase a critical edition edited by Rebecca Harris-Warrick that restores the original French version envisioned by Donizetti for its premiere in 1840 at the Théâtre de l’Académie Royale de Musique in Paris.
Besides Annalisa’s engaging schedule, in the interview she reveals interesting facts about the following steps, the new roles & what it’s like to push your limits. Her simplicity & kindness overshadow all topics that will undoubtedly charm you!
It is a pleasure for me to meet you through this interview, dear Annalisa. This is not your first interview with our magazine, OPERA Charm. We are happy to publish a new interview with you, and I would like to open it with a memory from the last one. We were in the pandemic days when theatres were running concerts with restrictions. You had the opportunity to be the first Italian singer to return to singing live on stage, and it happened on May 22nd. How have things evolved since then? How has the music field, and especially the opera field, recovered?
Dear Isabela, it is a pleasure also for me to catch up with you and all the friends of OPERA Charm Magazine! I remember well our last chat, during the first COVID-19 pandemic lockdown that swept over us as unexpectedly as cruelly. Every sphere was inexorably affected, and the everyday life of all people was radically transformed; perhaps more than others, the world of art and culture was greatly affected. I personally experienced that period suspended in a limbo, full of uncertainty and dominated by “waiting”; I took the opportunity to reflect and value individual things. I was able to understand how alongside the necessary physical care, it is indispensable to take care of one’s soul, and to do so we need each other, we need to thrill and excite! So, fortunately, after a long period of forced stop, theaters have finally been able to reopen their doors to audiences, scheduling live performances again, where performers and audiences can share joys and sorrows, passions and dramas. And I am more and more grateful for every opportunity I have to return to perform on stage and excite my audience. Music is sharing, it is life! Now I am at the Teatro Donizetti in Bergamo for my debut in the role of Leonor de Guzman in La Favorite. Bergamo, one of the hardest hit areas in Italy and most scarred by the pandemic. For me, this debut, in the land of Donizetti, has an even greater significance….
The Donizetti Theater, by the way, was one of the few in the world that bravely chose not to turn off the spotlight but to go ahead, albeit behind closed doors and without an audience, through streaming. After the emotion I experienced with Donizetti’s Messa da Requiem in front of the Monumental Cemetery in remembrance of the victims and Belisario (in the role of Irene) behind closed doors, I will finally be able to tread the stage of the Donizetti Theater performing a role I have longed for that marks my debut before the Bergamasque audience; I will finally be lucky enough to return to sing with a full audience, to feel their warmth and to create together the unique magical and special atmosphere of the live performance. So, one lesson I take with me after this extremely difficult period: everything that was previously taken for granted now takes on immense and special value. And it is precisely in this way that I am experiencing this new debut, as an exceptional event, to be enjoyed in every moment!
What are the most important things you have learned from this pandemic period?
The pandemic period heavily affected the lives of several people. As far as I am concerned, I can say that it was useful for me to grow and mature as a person, it made me think deeply about the uncertainty of the future: in fact, it is often useless to make long-term plans, the possibility that they will be upset by events beyond one’s control is just around the corner. One can project, but not schedule; unforeseen events can turn the tables in an instant. My perspective, my way of thinking and looking at life have changed: I have learned to fully savour every moment and enjoy each one more, to value the little things, all those things that are taken for granted, but actually are fundamental. I learned to give more importance to sharing, to doing things “together” as well as music and theatre teach us! I have become more “positive” toward small adversities, avoiding getting down on myself and putting more and more effort into being able to solve them. Sometimes it happens that, precisely in the seemingly most difficult times, new opportunities for growth may come, new ideas may be born, and new stimuli for a better future may be created.
Read the entire interview here, in the 8th/2022 issue of OPERA Charm Magazine.0