Charming beginnings: Cristina Fieraru

Cristina Fieraru, soprano, is a fourth year BA Vocal Performance student in the class of, soprano Iulia Isaev, at the National University of Music Bucharest. The most remarkable achievements of the 21-year-old soprano are: the debut in 2018 at the Bucharest National Opera House as Pamina in the opera “Die Zauberflöte” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, as a member of the Experimental Opera Studio “Ludovic Spiess”, her participation at the Promenade and Esplanade Opera Concerts at the Bucharest National Opera House in 2020, Christmas Concerts on the stage of the Bucharest National Opera House 2017 and 2018, her debut as a soloist in the Coronation Mass and Exultate Jubilate by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart at the “Ion Dumitrescu” Philharmonic Râmnicu-Vâlcea and the Philharmonic Pitești and the debut as Ileana in “La Șezătoare” by Tiberiu Brediceanu at the Independent Operas Festival- Iași. She has also performed the Countess in her university production of Le Nozze di Figaro by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Dido in Dido and Aeneas by Henry Purcell, and the roles of La Musica and La Speranza in LOrfeo by Claudio Monteverdi. The ambition and talent she possesses are reflected in her numerous trophies, first prizes and special awards at national and international competitions as a young opera singer, being a finalist in 2016 at the “Georges Enesco” International Singing Competition (3rd edition) in Paris in the Young Professionals Singers category. During her studies she has had the opportunity to improve her opera technique with the sopranos Iulia Isaev, Georgeta Stoleriu, Leontina Văduva, Anca Pârlog and the tenor, Marius-Vlad Budoiu.

It’s such a pleasure to interview you, both as a friend and as the founder of a Magazine whose main purpose is to support young singers & their beautiful achievements! First of all, my dear, what’s new? What are you studying at the moment, what are your most recent achievements and what’s coming up soon?

Thank you very much for this opportunity, Bianca. The pleasure is mine! It is a great joy to do my first interview with one of my dearest friends. I am very excited about everything that is going on! Asides from preparing for all the competitions I am applying to, I am practicing both Mimì and Musetta from La Bohème for our university’s festival, OperaMania, that is coming up in June, and Rosalinde from Die Flendermaus for a project that is coming up later at the end of the year. Also, I am preparing for a concert in April at “Ion Dumitrescu” Philharmonic in Râmnicu-Vâlcea where I will sing some parts from Messiah by Georg Frederich Händel, alongside the philharmonic choir and orchestra under the baton of the young conductor Andrei Stănculescu.

Speaking of the new roles you are currently studying, what’s the preparation process of such big roles like at such a young age? Who’s guiding you throughout this process and what are the steps?

First of all, I try to read as much as possible about the story behind the opera and to translate my lyrics so that I can better understand everything that is happening. Further on I listen a lot, I read the music and I place the words, and when I say that I place the words, in the first phase I actually only recite them so that I can enter the character’s skin only through the words for the first time. My singing teacher is always by my side in every step I take.

Romania is known to have given amazing voices to the greatest stages of the world for a long time and we are proud of that. What’s the secret of this tradition in your opinion? What is the most particular feature of the Romanian artistic educational system that manages to prepare all these singers so well for stage?

I think it’s very much about the authenticity in opera and in life. We are taught over the years to be as honest and as true as possible with ourselves and with what we do. You can’t fake anything, there are just two options: you either give yourself 100% to the music or not at all. And about the voice I would say: “all natural”. In general our vocal technique is based on naturalness, a good balance between patience and practice – which is and will always be one of the most important things – and instinct. 

You are very young, and like all beginners you must have a few icons – the artists or the recordings that you keep listening to while studying. So I’m curious: singers of the past or singers of today? Name a few of your favourites.  

I would say singers of the past AND present.  A few of my favorites sopranos are Maria Callas, Mariella Devia, Ermonela Jaho, Angela Gheorghiu, Diana Damrau, Sabine Devieilhe and the list goes on and on.

We usually talk about the so-called secret ingredients of a successful singing career, what one should absolutely do in order to succeed. But considering your experience until this moment, what should a young opera singer NOT do in order to make healthy steps in the right direction towards his or her dream?

A young opera singer must never lack patience and strength of character. Without these two you can go home and start doing something else, because the voice develops at its own pace, you can’t hurry it. And, in general, this profession – without wanting to sound harsh – is not for the weak.

Who is Cristina Fieraru offstage? 

Cristina Fieraru offstage… is definitely a more clumsy character, also childish, but sometimes too serious, introvert and extrovert at the same time. I can’t stay upset for too long, I forget quarrels very quickly and I laugh a lot: I find joy in a lot of things. I love to practice as much as I love to sleep, and that means a lot. I love drawing, reading and spending time with my cat and my friends.

If you were to have a glass of wine with one opera character – in or out of your fach – who would that be and why? 

As you already know, I have a thing for baritones, and for this opera date I would choose Don Giovanni, and it will be a little bit “out of the story” because we would drink that glass of wine at Café Momus. It would definitely be a glass of dry red wine, over which I would love to hear all about his adventures and all about him. I mean… he is Don Giovanni

What’s the most charming feature of opera?

Opera is charming in all it’s ways, but especially because of the perfect balance between all the arts, and also for the way in which it makes you transpose yourself into another universe, and escape from everything around you. Thank you, my dear Bianca!

Thank you, Cristina! It‘s been a pleasure. In bocca al lupo!

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