Superstar Angela Gheorghiu, the most glamouros and gifted opera singer of our time, was born in the small Romanian town Adjud. From early childhood it was obvious that she will become a singer, her destiny was the music. She attended the Music School in Bucharest and graduated from the Bucharest Music Academy, where she studied with the remarkable music teacher Mia Barbu. Ms. Gheorghiu’s magnificent voice and dazzling stage presence have established her as a unique international opera superstar.
Angela Gheorghiu made her international debut in 1992 at Covent Garden with La Bohème. In the same year she made her debut in the Metropolitan Opera New York and in the Staatsoper Vienna. It was in the Royal Opera House Covent Garden that she first sang her much acclaimed La Traviata in 1994, when the BBC cleared out its schedules to broadcast the opera. At one rehearsal the conductor Sir Georg Solti said: “I was in tears. I had to go out. The girl is wonderful. She can do everything.” The performance was also filmed and recorded by Decca. Newspapers and magazines noticed that “A star is born”. Since then Ms Gheorghiu has been in constant demand in opera houses and concert halls around the world: New York, London, Paris, Salzburg, Berlin, Tokyo, Rome, Seoul, Venice, Athens, Monte-Carlo, Chicago, Philadelphia, Sao Paolo, Los Angeles, Lisbon, Valencia, Palermo, Balbeck, Amsterdam, Kuala Lumpur, Zürich, Vienna, Salzburg, Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Prague, Montreal, Moscow, Taipei, San Juan, Ljubljana.
Her first exclusive recording contract was signed 1995 with Decca for whom she made several recordings and videos and dvds: La Traviata with the Orchestra of the ROH Covent Garden, L’elisir d’amore with the Orchestra of Opera de Lyon, La Boheme with the Orchestra Filarmonica del Teatro Scala di Milano and the recitals: Arias with the Orchestra del Teatro Regio di Torino, Verdi Heroines with the Orchestra Filarmonica “Giuseppe Verdi” di Milano, My World and Mysterium with the London Philharmonic Orchestra.
Her next exclusive recording agreement was signed in 1998 with EMI Classics. She first recorded an album of duets and arias with Roberto Alagna and the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, then she recorded Puccinis’s rarely recorded opera La Rondine with the London Symphony Orchestra. Gounod’s Romeo et Juliette was recorded with the Orchestra Capitol du Toulouse and for the second album of duets with Roberto Alagna, Verdi per due, she collaborated with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Claudio Abbado.
Other EMI recordings are: Gianni Schicchi from Il Trittico, Massenet’s Werther with the London Symphony Orchestra, Massenet’s Manon with the Symphonic Orchestra de la Monnaie Bruxelles, Verdi’s Il Trovatore with the London Symphony Orchestra and Bizet’s Carmen with the Orchestra Capitol du Toulouse. Her recital Casta Diva was followed by a live recording of her concert with the Staatskapelle Dresden Classics on a Summer’s Evening, by the Verdi Requiem with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and by her 2001 ROH Covent Garden recital, all released both on cd and dvd. She recorded a recital of Puccini arias, which proved once more Ms. Gheorghiu’s profound musicality. Also her concert for Queen Beatrix’ Jubilee in Amsterdam (April 2005) was released on cd and dvd. Her last cd release is her recital in Teatro alla Scala.
All her cds have received widespread critical acclaim and have been awarded many prizes such as Gramophone Awards, Diapason d’Or Awards, Choc du Monde de la Musique in France, Cecilia Prize in Belgium, Deutsche Schallplattenkritik-Preis in Germany, the Echo Award, the Italian Musica e dischi Foreign Lyric Production Award, the USA Critics’ Award etc. At the Classical Brit Award in 2001 she won the title of Female Artist of the Year.
In 1999 she took part with great success in a concert “Michael Jackson and Friends” in Munich. Mrs. Gheorghiu sang concerts at the reopening of Teatro Malibran in Venice (23 May 2001) and of the Royal Opera House Covent Garden (December 1999).
In December 2000 Ms Gheorghiu interpreted the title role in the film of Tosca, directed by Benoit Jacqot. The film was released in cinemas around the world and received popular and critical acclaim: “She is one of the most sensuous Toscas imaginable… Angela Gheorghiu’s passion and beauty are ideal for Tosca, as if the best qualities of Callas’ and Tebaldi’s portrayals had come together.” (Opera News, USA). The movie Tosca was also presented by Angela Gheorghiu at the Film Festival in Venice.
Ms. Gheorghiu also interpreted Juliette in the movie Romeo et Juliette for Online Classics on dvd and sang at the historic performance at the Proms at the Palace on the 1st of June 2002 to mark the Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, a concert that is also available on dvd. She sang on different occasions for HRH The Prince of Wales.
In 2003 she sang at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert, a magic performance available on dvd.
Angela Gheorghiu also performed at the opening of the new opera house in Valencia in presence of the Queen Sophia of Spain (October 2005).
Among major appearances in the last five years were the much acclaimed performances of La Rondine and Pagliacci in the ROH Covent Garden, performances of Romeo et Juliette at the Choregies d’Orange and at the Festival of Salzburg, performances of Faust at the MET in New York, in a new production at the ROH Covent Garden and in the Opera of Monte Carlo, performances of Simon Boccanegra at the ROH Covent Garden, major recitals in Salzburg (Salzburg Festival) and in Vienna (Musikverein) and concerts in Amsterdam (Queen Beatrix Jubilee Gala), in New York (the New Year’s Eve concert with the New York Philharmonic), Philadelphia and Los Angeles. All these appearances earned spectacular reviews.
In January 2006 she triumphed with La Traviata at the MET in New York. Three months later, in April, she made her debut in Teatro alla Scala in Milano with a recital, in May she opened the Film Festival in Cannes. In June 2006 she made her stage debut in Tosca at the ROH Covent Garden in London in a new production that was dedicated to her. Then she returned to the Vienna Staatsoper for performances of La Boheme (November 2007) and to the MET for a series of Simon Boccanegra and a gala performance of La Traviata (March 2007).
It was again La Traviata that she performed in Rome and in Teatro alla Scala in Milano in 2007. She also had some much-acclaimed concerts in Paris (Salle Pleyel and Palais Garnier) and in Los Angeles. In September last year she performed in Marseille the title role in the world premiere of the opera Marius et Fanny of the composer Vladimir Cosma. In November she sang a series of much-praised performances of La Rondine in San Francisco. When Ms. Gheorghiu sang lately La Boheme at the MET in New York, the performance was transmitted in cinemas to an audience of over one million and five hundred thousand people. Also her performances of La Traviata in Milan and in Rome and La Rondine in San Francisco and New York were transmitted in cinemas.
All these performances and recitals have confirmed Ms. Gheorghiu’s status as one of the most beloved stars of opera. For more than ten years she has been married to the French-Italian tenor Roberto Alagna. The wedding ceremony took place on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera New York, during a performance of La Boheme, in 1996 and was celebrated by the Mayor of New York, Mr. Rudolph Giuliani. Angela Gheorghiu and Roberto Alagna have immediately been considered the Golden Couple of Opera. They have sung plenty of performances together and recorded various CDs together. On the 20th of June 2008 they sung together a much praised open-air concert in the Prospect Park in New York.
Angela Gheorghiu has collaborated with the most prestigious opera directors and conductors of our time and has sung with the most important opera singers.
Future engagements include various concerts, as well as performances of Carmen (new production) at the Met in New York and performances of Adriana Lecouvreur in the ROH Covent Garden.
In future, she will also appear in Lucia di Lammermoor, Manon Lescaut, Tosca, Lucrezia Borgia, Alceste, Don Carlos and Don Giovanni.
Ms. Gheorghiu was honoured with “La Medaille Vermeille de la Ville de Paris”, and she was appointed an “Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres” and a “Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres” by the French Ministry of Culture and by her native country Romania.
(Photo by Terry O'Neill)