Georgian soprano Nino Machaidze spoke to OC via Grazia.it about her current run of Gounod's Roméo et Juliette at Arena di Verona, which ends tomorrow night.
English translation behind the cut...
Like many of opera’s greatest legends, this soprano had a make-it-or-break-it moment that shot her to fame. In the summer of 2008, at 25-years-old, all eyes were on her: Tbilisi-born soprano Nino Machaidze was called in as a last-minute replacement for Russian soprano Anna Netrebko to sing against Mexican tenor Rolando Villazon during a high-profile run of Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette at Austria’s Salzburg Festival. Three years later, she’s opera’s reigning lyric coloratura and she sells out opera theaters, catches the attention of classical music record labels, and thrills international music critics.
This past summer found her singing the leads at the Bayerische Staatsoper (Donizetti’s L´elisir d´amore) and at New York City’s The Metropolitan Opera (Verdi’s Rigoletto). Spring was filled with lead roles in Verona (Bizet’s Les pêcheurs de perles) and at the Los Angeles Opera (Rossini’s Il Turco in Italia).
As if her charismatic stage presence and air-tight vocal skills aren’t enough, the petite beauty has been called opera’s Angelina Jolie for her dark hair and captivating smile. Her lustrous voice is burnished with a darkened timber that masters a versatile scope of roles, proven on her first solo CD of bel canto masters, Romantic Arias.
The Georgian soprano studied at Milan’s Accademia Teatro Alla Scala and is no stranger to il Piermarini’s stage. This past June she was back in Milan singing Juliette to heartthrob tenor Vittorio Grigolo’s Roméo in Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette at Teatro alla Scala.
This past weekend, Nino Machaidze sang the headline role in Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette for the 89° Festival Lirico at Arena di Verona, which premieres on August 20 and continues on the 24th and 27th.
Machaidze spoke to Grazia.it about her career in anticipation of her Arena di Verona premiere.
Two months ago, you were in Milan singing Juliette in Gounod's Romeo et Juliette at Teatro alla Scala. Now you're singing the role in Verona's open-air arena. What's the biggest challenge to singing under the heavens instead of at an indoor theater? Must you prepare your voice differently?
"I can say that I find myself in good form to sing in a place that’s open and large like the Arena di Verona is -- and it’s totally a magical place. It’s a new and very gorgeous experience. To prepare the voice, I’d say that you don’t really have to prepare it differently. The voice needs to be prepared in the same way whether it’s an open-air theater or a traditionally-covered one. You must sing in the same way and exactly with the same preparation."
After singing all around the world like at the Los Angeles Opera, The Metropolitan Opera, The Salzburg Festival and Covent Garden, you've met a lot of your peers. Do you find that your preparation at Accademia Teatro alla Scala has given you an advantage? What was the biggest lesson that you took from school?
"For me, the Accademia della Scala was a very high level school and I really learned so much there. The fortune to have such hugely talented teachers like Leila Gencer, Mirella Freni, Luciana Serra, Renato Bruson, Luigi Alva and to have the possibility to sing on the stage of Teatro alla Scala was really the most beautiful experience and the years that I was at the Academy were some of the most marvelous and unforgettable ones."
What are your big projects for the rest of 2011? Which ones are you looking forward to the most?
"I can’t wait for the opening night of Roméo et Juliette at Arena di Verona. It’s really special for me to sing this opera in a place that’s so magical like the Arena and most importantly in the city of Romeo and Juliette. After I go to Hamburg for Rigoletto, after returning once again from Los Angeles with Roméo et Juliette and after that, I can’t wait to interpret again the role of Marie in La fille du regiment at The Metropolitan Opera in New York."