Annalisa Stroppa: I advice everyone not be afraid and to look to the future with confidence and positivity!

Annalisa Stroppa began studying classic piano at an early age and  later completed her studies in Liberal Arts. She received a master degree in Education Sciences and she graduated in singing with honors at the Conservatory of Brescia. She was a finalist at the “XLVII F.Vinas Competition” in Barcelona and a winner of several competitions including “TIM”, “Magda Olivero”, “Iris Adami Corradetti”, “Comunità Europea A.Belli in Spoleto“, and “Riccardo Zandonai”, where she won also three special prizes. Among her numerous engagements, she participated in “Operalia 2009 Concert Gala” in Pécs (Hungary) singing a duet  with Placido Domingo. She opened 2019 playing Adalgisa in Norma at the Bayerische Staatsoper of Munich and Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia at the Staatsoper Unter den Linden of Berlin. Then she made her debut in the role of Niklausse in Les Contes d’Hoffmann at the Teatro San Carlo in Naples and of Zerlina in Don Giovanni at the Théâtre Antique in Orange and reinterpreted Suzuki in Madama Butterfly at the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich, Dorabella in Così fan tutte at the Teatro Pérez Galdós in Las Palmas, Fenena in Nabucco at the Festival Verdiano in Parma and Angelina in La Cenerentola at the Staatsoper Hamburg. She sang Verdi’s Requiem at the Ljubljana Festival conducted by Placido Domingo and, then, at the Grand Hall, St. Petersburg Academica Philharmonia and at the Philarmonie Berlin under the direction of Teodor Currentzis, on the latter occasion with the Berliner Philarmoniker. She played Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia at the Teatro Carlo Felice in Genoa and at the Budapesti Nyári Fesztivál in Budapest, Adalgisa in Norma at the Teatro San Carlo in Naples and Carmen in the homonymous opera at the Teatre Principal in Palma de Mallorca and at the Maifestspiele in Wiesbaden.

I am extremely happy to have the chance, throughout the 4th issue of OPERA Charm Magazine, to chat again with some great artists, already friends of our magazine since the InstaLiveInterviews we have done during the lockdown. You are definitely one of them, my dear Annalisa, one of the artists that always answers kindly and promptly to my request! Thank you again! It’s an honour! You were one of the first artists that had the chance to step again on the stage after the emergency Lockdown months, right? We know that you performed Carmen’s title role at May Festival in Wiesbaden. What was different about it compared to what you used to feel and do first before going on the stage, before the lockdown? Yes, right! I had the privilege of being the first Italian singer to return to singing live on stage and it happened on May 22nd with a reduction of Bizet’s Carmen, arias and duets with piano accompaniment and, of course, without a choir; it was an unforgettable experience, lived profoundly, that undoubtedly marked a new beginning. It was my restart in all senses, not only musically, but also personally! I was coming after a difficult period during which I had fallen into a sort of limbo, after months of deafening silence, a silence that taught me to look inside myself, in the depths of my soul. And suddenly, this opportunity brought a ray of sunshine, I woke up from that limbo and I felt alive again, with new energy and full of hope after months of darkness. I boarded one of the very few flights available at the time with all the permits prepared by the theater and left from a deserted airport immersed in an unreal atmosphere… You can imagine my thoughts during the flight, practically empty and then the immense joy at the returning to the theater and seeing the lights that illuminated the stage and the doors that finally could be opened to the public again; I was pervaded by a new strength and vigor, which, once I put on Carmen’s clothes and placed my foot on the stage, set fire to a brazier that had previously been dormant and literally exploded in a whirlwind of emotions that made me turn the page, making me forget for a moment the last months, characterized by sadness and pain, in which even emitting sounds had become very difficult for me. Due to this Carmen I transformed the accumulated suffering into positive energy that I poured out on the stage, giving everything I had in my body, conveying the tension accumulated in months of forced inactivity into every single note or movement. I went up on stage and I no longer thought of anything, I enjoyed intensely and thoroughly every single moment, fully savoring every little emotion and sensation; as if that had been my first and at the same time my last performance. I lived everything intensely, I sang and acted as I hadn’t been for some time, in absolute freedom: I “forgot” about the technique and the movements, I let the notes and gestures flow directly from my soul and my heart! I had fun, I sang, I danced, I acted and I filled the stage with all the emotions I had inside and I became, once again, the girl who sang only for the joy of singing. The evening flew by in an instant, the theater was hit by a spell that involved us the artists and the public who, despite being composed of a few people, created a pathos and a warmth comparable to that which is formed at the inside of a theater full of people. In fact, the initial estrangement, at the sight of a half-empty theater, with the audience adequately spaced and equipped with the now inevitable masks, gave way, at the first note of the piano, to an instant empathy and involvement that created a magical atmosphere.

And this magic flooded the whole stage. The stage was empty, no scenography, impossible interactions with colleagues (extremely important in an intense and passionate work like Carmen, but impossible considering the need to keep the distance in order to avoid the risk of any contagion), the absence of the choir and the extras, the orchestra changes, replaced on the occasion of the show by a skilled pianist. No element to which I could anchor myself and with which I could dialogue.

I understood from the first rehearsal that it would be very difficult to recreate the gypsy atmosphere of Carmen in such an anomalous context, starting from the so-called “behind the scenes”, also desolately empty: there were no assistants, make-up artists or tailors to help me, a sense of loneliness reigned in my dressing room, the same loneliness that characterized our lives in the difficult months that have just passed, almost completely deprived of contact and human warmth. Furthermore, the times for preparation and for the various changes of clothes suddenly proved to be very tight. I therefore understood that, in this great alienating context, I would have to strive to be able to convey what I had inside in another way, with small gestures, with intentions, with looks, with the power of words… And so I did, I started an introspective and research journey, clinging to the emotions and tensions with other colleagues and emphasizing those in order to give life to my beloved Carmen, albeit in a completely new guise. Very small elements have thus acquired such an exceptional strength.

The audience was really involved, they appreciated and showed all their affection, they applauded with the mask on their face, and behind that mask there was a big smile! Music did it again: even if in a different way, I was free again! Music is life, it is union, hope, serenity… this is the uniqueness and power of its universal language, which goes beyond space and time and always saves us, soothes wounds and heals our souls!

Read the whole interview here, in the 4th issue of OPERA Charm Magazine.

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