Despite certain vocal mannerisms, which has not made her a favourite among the purists, and despite a reputation for being a conceited, demanding and difficult diva, Romanian soprano Angela Gheorghiu (Adjud, Romania, 1965) remains one of my favourite female voices. The plaintive character of her voice, so suited to Puccini, is mesmerising and a trait, I wonder, of Romanian sopranos in particular (listen to fellow Romanian voice Illeana Cotrubas).
Gheorghiu is often cited because of her looks. In an interview with the Daily Telegraph in June 2013, she said that “Before me, an opera singer did not need to be beautiful. Because of me, the audience now expects everything: a whole package” suggesting that today you cannot survive in this art form only on a beautiful voice.
Here she is in a promo video for her 2011 EMI release “Homage to Maria Callas”, singing the aria Ebben? Ne andrò lontana from the composer Catalani’s opera “La Wally” (1892).