Marina Rebeka: Studying deeply music is essential in becoming a good singer. The music is the language & has its grammar which is the solfeggio, its syntax which is the harmony & has its expression which is the literature. I think it’s essential to be prepared, to understand also the musical form of a certain piece.

Since her international breakthrough at the Salzburg Festival in 2009 under the baton of Riccardo Muti, Rebeka has been a regular guest at the world’s most prestigious concert halls and opera houses, including the Teatro alla Scala (Milan), the Opéra National de Paris, the Metropolitan Opera (New York), the Royal Opera House Covent Garden (London), the Bavarian State Opera (Munich), the Vienna State Opera, and the Zurich Opera House. As an active and widely acclaimed concert performer, Rebeka has given recitals at many of the world’s most prestigious venues, such as the Teatro alla Scala in Milan, the Großes Festspielhaus in Salzburg, the Opernhaus Zürich, and others. Rebeka’s discography includes releases with Deutsche Grammophon, Warner Classics (EMI), BR Klassik, and Naxos. She has recorded Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle, Mozart’s arias, Amor Fatale (an album of Rossini’s arias), Verdi’s full opera Luisa Miller, and Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito. On her own record label, Prima Classic, she has released the album Spirito (scenes and arias of the dramatic bel canto), Verdi’s opera La Traviata, and her solo albums Elle (French opera arias) and Credo (a selection of sacred and spiritual music). Rebeka also sang the role of Imogene in the recording of Bellini’s Il Pirata, an album released by Prima Classic that received the 2022 International Classical Music Award (ICMA) for opera recording of the year.

First of all, thank you for accepting my invitation! It is an honor to finally have you on the cover of the magazine! I’m really happy about it! How are you doing?

I’m in Barcelona, where it’s very hot. Being Latvian, it’s not easy for me to handle these temperatures, you know. I am looking forward to starting the rehearsals for Verdi’s Messa da Requiem at Festival Verdi in Parma.

How do you feel about coming back to Parma?

I’ve lived and studied there for three years! My very first experience on stage, performing Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia for children (Imparolopera) was at Teatro Regio. Parma is a very small and beautifull city, with great food (laughs) – prosciutto crudo, culatello, parmigiano and desserts. It’s easy to gain weight in Parma! I know the city very well. While I was a conservatoire student, I worked at the Palazzo della Pillota, as a painting guard in the Parmigianino exhibition. I used to attend the dress rehearsals at Teatro Regio, the singing contest Voci Verdiani in Busseto, some of the concerts of Parma Lirica and Auditorium Toscanini. I was paying attention to the taste of the audience in Parma, to understand what they mean by the Verdian style. Therefore, I know it’s quite a challenge to perform Verdi in Parma, at Festival Verdi.

Then how did you prepare yourself to overcome this challenge?

Well, I did nothing in particular. I studied the music. It was a dream to perform Verdi’s Requiem, so it has been in my mind, in my soul for a while now. Now I’m studying the last details, but, clearly, when I’ll sing it with the orchestra many things will be different. But it’s a huge emotion. The only thing in Parma is that you have to be prepared for the very vocal reactions of the audience, in case they don’t like your performance (laughs). I saw all these situations while I was a student there. It’s very entertaining.

Read the entire interview here, in the 7th/2022 issue of OPERA Charm Magazine.

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