Charming beginnings #web: Arianna Manganello

Arianna Manganello is the winner of “Under 25” Award of the 8th edition of CLIP Concorso Lirico Internazionale Portfino and we couldn’t be happier to bring her to your attention. She talked with Ana-Diana Stănescu about her experience at Deutsche Oper Berlin, her warm-up routine, how she keeps her body and voice in shape and so many other interesting facts about her lifestyle as a young opera singer. You already know our advice: take your cup of coffee and enjoy this conversation with us!

The young Italian mezzosoprano Arianna Manganello started her vocal studies with Lucrezia Raffaelli after which she continued at Instituto Vecchi-Tonelli in Modena with Raina Kabaivanska and Maria Costanza Nocentini where she graduated with the highest grade. She was active participant in masterclasses with Chriss Merritt, Nicola Paszkowsky, Monica Bacelli, Giacomo Prestia, Sara Mingardo, Renata Lamanda, Adina Nitescu.

In the year 2018 she took part in Rigoletto at Teatro Regio di Parma (for the occasion 50th anniversary of Leo Nucci’s career) in the role of Contessa di Ceprano/Un paggio and Medium of Gian Carlo Menotti (Modena, Teatro Pavarotti) where she sang the “voice behind the scenes”. In the year 2019 she was a participant at the Academy of Belcanto Rodolfo Celletti (Martina Franca) and as the part of “work experience” after the Academy, she performed different roles at the Festival della Valle d’Itria. In the same year she sang the role of Suzuky, Madama Butterfly in Japan Opera Festival, Nagoya. She was one of the finalist of the 10th edition of the Opera Pienza Singing Competition and of the International Singing Competition Ottavio Ziino (Rome). At Teatro Rossini (Pesaro) she was part of a memorial concert in the honor of Luciano Pavarotti. 

In 2021 she was Maria de Buenos Aires at Teatro Goldoni di Livorno and in Piccolo Opera Festival Friuli Venezia Giulia, in the same year in the National theater Belgrad she sang Suzuky, Madama Butterfly.

Since 2020 she is engaged as a member at Deutsche Oper Berlin where she is singing roles of Meg Page in Verdi’s Falstaff, Mercedes in Bizet’s Carmen, (G. Bizet), Wellgunde in Wagner’s Das Rheingold, 2 Dame in Die Zauberflöte by Mozart, Flora in La Traviata, Magd in Strauss’ Elektra, Fenena in Nabucco, Bersi in Giordano’s Andrea Chénier among many others.

Hello, dear Arianna! I am so happy to have this conversation with you. I think we are almost the same age, so that makes me appreciate you even more for everything you have achieved so far, because this path that you chose is so beautiful, but full of sacrifice and total commitment at the same time, am I right? How do you feel when you are on stage and which is your routine before a performance?

Dear Ana, I’m very happy to have this conversation with you as well! Being on stage is something that is not easy to explain in only a few words. The energy that surrounds me in that moment is so powerful and magical and it is something I can’t find in other things in life. Relating to people, giving them emotions and exchanging other sensations with them… I discover more of myself every time in a new way, find more deeply every personality that I can have. I feel very grateful to have the opportunity to feel all of this. Before a performance I like to be calm, that means that maybe it is better if I spend the day alone following my own rhythm, doing some easy sport or a nice walk, and breathing exercises. I check the score before to prepare myself and then go to the theatre. Once I arrive in the theatre, I warm up my voice and then I’m ready for makeup and getting into costume. 

You are the winner of the “Under 25” Award of the 8th edition of CLIP Concorso Lirico Internazionale Portofino. How did this experience help you?

The experience that I just had at the 8th edition of CLIP was really beautiful and for sure, super unexpected! For now, I can say that it has helped me to believe more in myself, the study that I’m doing and the path that I am already taking. I could show my emotion, my energy, and my passion!

Since 2020 you are a member of Deutsche Oper Berlin. It is so important for singers to be a part of a theatre from a young age, to be able to share the stage with other colleagues, to learn how to face this tremendous world of opera. Tell me, how is this collaboration for you? What lessons and experiences are you grateful for? 

I’m really happy and grateful to be part of this beautiful theatre that is the Deutsche Oper Berlin. During my two seasons here, (even during the beginning of the Covid pandemic) I was able to debut around 15 roles, which gave me the possibility to live on stage, work with so many artists and always learn something new from them and from myself. I was able to grow not only as a singer but also as a human being.

Which is your warm up routine? Do you have some regular vocalizes that you do all the time, or do you adapt them depending on the repertoire? 

My warm-up routine is more or less the same every day; I start with breathing exercises, then I do different types of vocalises and then I change things up depending on the repertoire that I’m going to sing. Of course, it also depends on how I feel that day, how is my energy, how is my voice, etc.

You already have a lot of beautiful roles in your repertoire. Which one do you identify with the most and why? How else could our readers know you better than through opera, right?

Up till now I can’t really say which roles I identify the most with. I think that every role has something beautiful to discover and some nuances where I can find more of myself. There is a unique moment where I try to find the character inside of myself. Of course, in some roles it is easier because they are closer to me. Right now, the most important thing is to find roles that have a strong character and are full of vitality.

How do you choose your next role? Do you have someone that helps you decide what is the best for you at a certain point of time, or do you rather trust your gut? And also, would you like to share with us what tricks do you use to learn a role faster?

When I decide a to start studying a new role, before I begin learning the music I always talk with my teacher and vocal repetiteur to hear their opinion on if the role is a good fit… Sometimes they also propose new roles to learn, but more often it is the theatre or my manager who suggests a role. At that point it is more difficult though, because most of the time, to say “yes” is easier than to say “No, this role is to soon” or “this role is not good for my kind of voice”. I don’t have any tricks to learn a role faster. I always learn the music first and then put the words together which I have already translated. I always check the pronunciation if it’s not in Italian.

Who’s your opera idol? Who would you like to invite for a coffee, hypothetically speaking, and ask for a piece of advice or maybe an opinion about your singing? What would you ask him/her?

I don’t have one opera idol; I have for sure more than one singer that I love. In the past, but also nowadays there are many great singers, everyone with different aspects that I love and try to learn from.  If I could have the possibility to have some time with someone, I would choose maybe Christa Ludwig or Fiorenza Cossotto; to ask some musical and vocal advice, hear what they think about my voice, etc. 

Can you give us a little spoiler? What’s next?

This new season I’ll have many things to do which I’m really excited about; roles that I already sang and a few debuts, one of which will be a big challenge for me.

And of course, our favourite question: what is the most charming feature of opera?

The most charming feature of opera for me, as I already said, is trying to take as much as you can from a role as well as the entire opera and discovering every time more about yourself. Also, for sure, visiting new countries and meeting new people… I think there’s nothing more exciting and fascinating!

Thank you, dear Arianna! In bocca al lupo!


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