Q & A: soprano Hibla Gerzmava

James Jolly Mon 19th May 2014

The soprano talks about singing at the Winter Olympics and looks forward to her Met debut

Hibla Gierzmava

Hibla Gerzmava 

Q: What have you been performing recently?

A: My last performance was Les Contes d'Hoffmann by Jacques Offenbach. This opera is particularly special for me because I perform the roles of all three heroines: Olympia, Stella, Antonia. It is particularly difficult to combine three different roles in one opera: three images, three states – vocal, technical, and dramatic. 

Q: What's the next operatic role on your schedule?

A: I'm singing Donna Anna in Mozart's Don Giovanni at the Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow Music Theatre from June 10 until July 17. At this moment I am doing intensive work on this production. I recently performed Donna Anna at the Vienna Staatsoper, but to sing it in my home theatre is very exciting; it is very significant and important.

Q: Tell us about the programme for your new recital recording?

A: It's a solo concert in conjunction with maestro Vladimir Spivakov and National Philharmonic Orchestra of Russia. The programme contains works by Verdi, Bellini and Donizetti and 'Morgen' by Richard Strauss, where the violin part was performed by Maestro Spivakov.

Q: What genre of operatic music do you most sympathise with? Bel canto? Verismo? Mozart? French opera? Russian?

A: All the genres that you listed are in their own way nice and interesting, but bel canto and Mozart are closer to my inner feelings and my type of voice. In my opinion, modern operatic singing should be exactly in the spirit of bel canto, namely: beautiful, elegant and easy.

Q: Who are your operatic heroes from the past and the present?

A: From singers of the past, this is undoubtedly Maria Callas. Actually, it is impossible to name her a singer of the past, she is still alive today for me, and for me she is great. As for performers of our time, I prefer Renée Fleming, Jessye Norman, Montserrat Caballé.

Q: What roles do you hope to sing in the future?

A: I really want to perform Desdemona from Verdi's Otello and the title-role from opera Bellini's Norma. In 2015 one of my wishes will com true at the Metropolitan Opera, which will host the staging Otello, where I sing the role of Desdemona.

Q: How do you find the experience of singing in different opera houses around the world? Are they very different from each other?

A: I like to sing in all theatres, they are all different and each of them is particularly dear to me. Each theatre has its own identity and established traditions. The most important theatres for me are the Metropolitan Opera and the Royal Opera House in London.

Q: What plans do you have for further recordings?

A: In the near future is a recording of Russian song-cycles with my long-time accompanist Ekaterina Ganelina, we have been friends and working together for more than 20 years. This recording will include songs by Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev, and Myaskovsky. All my projects are issued by Melodiya, with which we have recently started to co-operate closely and plan to record many more projects.

Q: Tell us about the experience of singing at the Winter Olympics?

A: It was fantastic! I was so proud and couldn’t keep back the tears of happiness. I have never sung on the top of the stadium before – it was really awesome.

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