A few words from Angela Gheorghiu

To hear them tell it, some operatic sopranos seem destined for stardom from their first breath. So it comes as no surprise when Romanian soprano Angela Gheorghiu declares over the phone, “I never chose to be a singer. Nobody chose me to be a singer. My voice chose me to be a singer.”

From the age of 6, when she sang her first song, Brahms’ Lullaby, the diva’s voice had a unique operatic quality. From that moment on, she says, “It was absolutely clear to everybody that I was supposed to sing.”

Gheorghiu, who sings a recital in Berkeley on Saturday co-presented by the San Francisco Opera, began her first important singing lessons at age 14.

Two years later, long before she had heard recordings of the repertoire she was studying, she began performing with orchestras. By age 17, she had appeared on TV. Three years later, she sang for Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev.

“I remember that in Bucharest, there was no important performance without Angela,” she proclaims. “I was on the stage all the time. I was always thinking about repertoire and my next dress, because my mother made all my dresses during that period.”

During her last year of vocal training, Gheorghiu had but one goal: to audition in the theater of her dreams. “I never wanted to audition in another theater,” she says. “So I made my audition at London’s Royal Opera House Covent Garden, and voila!”

The role she sang for her 1992 Covent Garden début, Mimi in Puccini’s “La Boheme,” was soon reprised at the Metropolitan Opera. She finally brings Mimi to San Francisco Opera in November.

Much sooner, she opens the Cal Performances season Saturday with a special concert. Gheorghiu joins the SFO orchestra conducted by Marco Armiliato to perform a program rich in classical Italian songs and arias. The first half intersperses song with arias from Puccini’s “La Rondine” and “Madama Butterfly,” plus “Pace, pace, mio Dio” from Verdi’s “La Forza del Destino.” The second half includes works by Cuba’s Lecuona, France’s Delibes, Romania’s Grigoriu and several Italian composers.

“All the repertoire is my fault,” she says with laughter, “because I chose it. It’s what I want to share because I like it, and I hope you like it.

“I go onstage because I want to be admired. I want you to like me in each detail: in my sound, in my movements in my repertoire — everything. From the gift I received, I studied and worked so much. But I need the audience. I want to share emotions. Otherwise you can just play a CD at home.”

If You Go

Where: Zellerbach Hall, Telegraph Avenue and Bancroft Way, UC Berkeley campus

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday 

Tickets: $35 to $100

Contact: (510) 642-9988; www.calperformances.org

Bay Area NewsentertainmentLocal

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
City College union deal staves off layoffs, class cuts

One year agreement allows community college time to improve its finances

A Homeless Outreach Team member speaks with homeless people along Jones Street in the Tenderloin on Wednesday, May 6, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Breed proposes another street outreach team to divert calls away from police

San Francisco would launch a new street outreach team to respond to… Continue reading

San Francisco Giants short stop Mauricio Dubon (1) breaks his bat on a ground out in the 4th inning against the Miami Marlins at Oracle Park on April 22, 2021 in San Francisco, California. (Photography by Chris Victorio | Special to the S.F. Examiner).
Wood, bench power Giants past Rangers

After a bullpen implosion cost Alex Wood a win in his prior… Continue reading

San Fernando, CA, Thursday, April 29, 2021 - California Governor Gavin Newsom waves goodbye to friends after attending a press conference where he signed legislation that will provide a $6.2 billion tax cut to the hardest hit small businesses in the state at Hanzo Sushi restaurant downtown. (Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
Portrait of Art Gensler (Courtesy Gensler)
World-renowned architect Art Gensler dies

By Keith Burbank Bay City News World-renowned Bay Area architect Art Gensler,… Continue reading

Most Read