Tamara Radjenović:

Tamara Radjenović, a Montenegrin soprano resident in the United Kingdom was born in Belgrade. She started her musical education playing the piano at the age of 6 at the music school in Podgorica, Montenegro, and later obtained her high school diploma at the conservatory in Ljubljana, Slovenia. She graduated in Voice Performance from the Royal College of Music in London, where she was awarded a Scholarship to do her Master’s degree. At the age of 17, she performed with the members of the Wiener Philharmoniker at Salzburg Festival at the opera project for the youngsters, in cooperation with the American Austrian Foundation and the Wiener Philharmoniker. At the age of 19 and 20, she was chosen by Montserrat Caballé to sing at her Gala Concerts in Zaragoza, Spain, and was also visiting her regularly in Barcelona for private lessons. So far, Tamara Radjenović has performed in different national and international solo concerts, festivals, master classes, competitions in Spain, Italy, USA, Austria, Germany, England, Romania, Slovenia, Mauritius, Netherlands, Serbia, Croatia, and Montenegro. She won 7 first prizes at the international Opera singing competitions. At the age of 23, she debuted at Carnegie Hall sharing the stage with Operalia winner tenor Mario Chang and soprano Majo Morales, and one year later she made another solo recital at Carnegie Hall, accompanied by Djordje Nešić. She also performed recitals in St James’s Piccadilly in London (England), Montenegrin National Theatre in Podgorica (Montenegro), Opus Theatre in Hastings (England), Teatre de Sarria in Barcelona (Spain), Teatro Comunale di Barletta (Italy), Kolarac Concert Hall in Belgrade (Serbia), City Hall of Novi Sad (Serbia), Novi Sad Synagogue (Serbia), Amaryllis Fleming Concert Hall in London (England), Victoria and Albert Museum in London (England), Pushkin house in London (England), Schloss Laudon in Vienna (Austria) and many more. In 2021 Tamara Radjenović had the opportunity to have a concert with a Metropolitan star, baritone David Bižić at Kolarac Concert Hall in Belgrade and with the pianist Djordje Nešić. The same year, Tamara performed with Makris Symphony Orchestra conducted by Maestro Predrag Gosta at Kolarac Concert Hall in Belgrade and Synagogue Novi Sad. The oldest daily newspaper in Serbia “Politika” wrote how the “hall had a thunderous applause after Tamara sang famous arias of classical music”. Regarding the opera roles, she has done, the most recent was Mimi in La Boheme at the Mediterranean Opera Studio Festival in Sicily, Italy under the baton of Leonardo Catalanotto. Other roles she performed were at the Britten theatre such as Anne in Merry Wives of Windsor, Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro, Helena in Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Romilda in Serse.

Dear Tamara, it’s a pleasure to meet you through this interview. I would like to start talking about the excellent feedback you got for the music video on “La rosa y el sauce”, a song by Carlos Guastavino. Recently, you released a new one for Verdi’s aria, “Merce dilette amiche.” First, I would like to know how did you choose the works for these videos? “La rosa y el sauce’’ is the song that deeply touched my heart a couple of years ago when I was a student at the Royal College of Music in London. Spanish/Latino repertoire has always been to me the most passionate one, I don’t know why. Maybe it is about theenergy and the melodies that Spanish music has got which constantly reminds me of dance, fire, and red dresses with black dots. Spain is one of my favorite countries. Likewise, I have got a huge desire to visit Central and South America where this song was created- Argentina. I am really pleased that the audience felt the emotions of ’’La rosa y el sauce’’ and that it has nearly 340 000 views on YouTube. This year, I had many ideas on my mind that I wanted to put into the video. However, I decided that the next video should be dedicated to an operatic aria. ’’Merce, dilette amiche’’ is certainly well known Verdi’s aria but is not more known than for instance ’’Sempre libera’’. The power this music has is so uplifting, invites for dance (I guess I am all about the dance haha), it celebrates one of the happiest moments for most women- wedding. This aira is in a very special moment in the opera which has quite a tragic ending. The whole opera is actually very strong and then this aria is like the Sun in the middle of the storm. I find it very inspiring to practice music that has coloratura moments as well as a pace that is moving. As the whole story happens in Sicilia, it was another more reason to do the video for this aria as I really love Sicily. My team worked hard to really depict all the details that can associate with the Sicilian spirit- we even had a special food catering of Sicilian delicacies to be like a proper Sicilian dinner. My target as a young artist is a young audience that might have not had any knowledge about classical music (besides, with full respect, more mature audience that is usually more into opera and classical music). I am sure that the mission of many of my colleagues is the same, we just find different ways to approach a new audience. I will keep doing different videos and that will be my way for sure. Therefore, I also try to think carefully which songs/arias I am filming that audience hopefully would like.

I know your videos are streamed on C music television, the British Canadian tv channel for classical music. Soon, you will release another one with the well-known “Parla piu piano.” Many people were involved in the filming process, and lots of actors and statists to recreate a natural feel of “The Godfather”. Could you tell us more details?

2022 is definitely in the sign of Sicily for me. It was really a pure coincidence that both pieces are inspired by Sicily. When I recorded a couple of pieces with the fantastic choir and orchestra Makris, I realized that I wanted to go a step further and to use the Summer 2022 to film 2 videos. Both ’’Merce, dilette amiche’’ and ’’Parla piu piano’’ videos were filmed in my beloved Montenegro. It required lots of strategic work, and planning as we were waiting mid August to begin when the whole team was ready and when the grapes have already grown in the wine yards in order to have them in the video. The video director, the executive producer, and certainly Vissi d’Arte production I worked with are one of the best in their fields respectively in Montenegro and in the region. I was privileged to have actors from the Montenegrin National Theatre who portrayed the main characters in this mini film we created. I am also thankful to thethankful to the costume designer who made totally authentic costumes of the 20th century and the dress designer Boris who graduated from London Fashion College. We had challenge to firstly get approvals for all the places where we were filming such as this stunning church in Boka Bay which really takes your breath away. When you leave the church, it has the most stunning view of the sea. It was challenging to get approvals from different land owners, house owners… The cars we used were also very old, from the 30s. One of them was absolutely impossible to be driven by the one of the statists as it has a completely different driving technique than the cars nowadays. Therefore, the producer had to find an alternative way to make the car move. It was really interesting. And it was all happening on 40 celsius degrees. Regarding the very story of the music video, I’ll leave it to the audience to have their perspective of the story and what it is about, who am I portraying for example. I love film music so much, it is my big passion to listen to film music pieces. This year also celebrates 50 years of the premiere of ‘’The Godfather’’ and since I really love this film, I thought it would be a nice tribute. I have to say that I am grateful for such a great collaboration with C music television, they are doing such a great work and I love this channel. It was my big wish to be streamed on their platform.

Read the entire interview here, in the 9th/2022 issue of OPERA Charm Magazine.


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