Ohhhh, this is a good one! A small blurb from today's Corriere della Sera (I know, I know, enough with the Corriere-love...but it's the best paper we have in Italy), about how Zeffirelli wanted Violeta Urmana to drop weight for her upcoming role of Aida for La Prima at Teatro alla Scala, but she wasn't able to do it! (btw, you can't find this article on the Corriere website today, as it was print-only.) Here it is, briefly:
Superline: The Soprano Violeta Urmana confesses during the rehearsals of La Scala
Headline: [Urmana says,] "Zeffirelli wanted a skinnier Aida, but it was torture; I couldn't do it"
Violeta Urmana confessed today to Corriere della Sera that Franco Zeffirelli had begged her to drop some weight during the past few months of dress rehearsal for the upcoming December 7, 2006 premiere of Aida. Zeffirelli’s reasoning was that he was extremely eager to make believable his revitalized vision of Aida, which is an updated, modernized, fiery temptress...one that would encompass all the ideals of beauty, sex, and the power of youth.
Urmana says that she isn't able to torture herself in a gym. She also says that she loves Italian cooking and cuisine, and is spoiled by her Italian husband (tenor Alfredo Negri) (hay guys, I can't even find a link on google for her husband...he's apparently pretty lame). And she says her mother-in-law spoils her. She particularly has a weakness for the fatty Osso Buco. bleh. I will forever envision Urmana from this moment forward sucking on the marrow of a hollowed-out veal bone. Osso Buco is a special dish here, but can be pretty slimy and greasy (“So I’ve been told”, says I, the red-meat-phobic), and it's popular to serve the meat stuffed back inside the hollowed-out bone. eat teh ham tina.
Urmana goes on to say that she had many conversations with Zeffirelli about the success of his BFF Maria Callas after Callas dropped her weight, and how important it was to her career, and how important it is to have a beautiful stage presence in today’s "Top Model" mentality. She gushes about how she loves Callas, and how she has read at least fifty books about the Diva's life. (Fifty, Urmana? Exaggerating a bit, don’t you think?)
She also says that she is incredibly excited for La Prima of Aida, especially since it hasn't been staged at Teatro alla Scala in twenty-one years. Thanks again, Maestro Muti, for your obscure leniencies towards Salieri and Cherubini.
Urmana says she will return to Teatro alla Scala in 2008 with Macbeth. She says that she enjoys being back at La Scala, but is stricken by the absence of Muti. She worked a lot with him in the past, and has fond memories of his tenure, as it was during the rehearsals of Muti’s Iphigénie that she met her husband. But she is eager to work again with Muti, which she will accomplish in 2010 at the MET in Attila.