So many opera singers give predictable, boring interviews and then there's Angela with her fangs out, aiming at the jugular. Draculette zipped up a pair of Gucci boots and spoke to Corriere della Sera while vacationing on a Romanian mountaintop.
The forty-six-year old, who says that she's booked through 2016, returns to La Scala after a five-year absence for a late September Zeffirelli La Boheme. And who could forget that last time? The incredibly sucky La Traviata with Lorin Maazel that was ripped apart by the loggionisti -- "Poor Verdi", "Poor Italy" and "Conduct a band of amateurs instead" was shouted at Maazel while Angela was labeled as "capricious" in the Italian press.
When asked about the state of opera directors in Italy, Angela says that since she hasn't been in Italy in the past five years, she doesn't really know and continued, "For fifteen years I've had the possibility to have the director that I've wanted, if I do a La Traviata, I ask for Richard Eyre, someone who isn't part of the trends," and then she gave props to conductors Evelino Pido and Marco Armilliato.
She says that she prefers classic opera productions, citing Zeffirelli's la Boheme that can resist the passage of time as opposed to Willy Decker's Salzburg Traviata, saying that even Netrebko didn't want to reprise Violetta in that production.
How does she perceive Italy? "Colleagues always say to me 'Ah no, I won't put a foot into Italy.' You guys are like the wolf in the woods, ready to eat us. You guys are starting to get associated with negative ideas about the behavior of the theaters and the audiences. You know how we joke with each other? Watch out or I'll send you to sing in Italy! In the rest of the world, booing doesn't exist."
So it's disagreed that booing's the right of the audience if they don't like the show. Are you saying that abroad they don't boo?
"Sure, but rarely and not in such a savage manner, which creates enormous psychological damages in the artists. Some of those boos to us is like stalking. Italy's remained backwards, also for this reason. We hear it like bulls in an arena. But in Spain, the bullfight has less importance. The audience comes to the theater and spends money to hear me, and I want to give everything to conquer them."
Anna the diva.
"What's wrong with stardom? If lots of things she does is to entertain, it works. I'm not a hypocrite. The people in the theater are interested in whimsy which surprises them, that which is the most prudent usually bores the most."
Is being nude on stage still provocative?
"If you have nice body, then maybe. The fact is that they don't recruit voices but bodies. If young Pavarotti today was to go to an audition, they'd send him away after two seconds without even listening to his voice. The theaters are full of gorgeous bodies and none pays attention to the timbre. If a singer's ugly and sings well, I see him as gorgeous. If a singer is gorgeous and sings poorly, I see hi as ugly. It's like that to me."
When Cappelli asked if she prefered to be on stage with her ex-husband, Roberto Alagna, Angela said, "Here's the latest -- we're back together, reunited." Alagna has scrapped the crusty tentacles from Angela's heart with an oyster shucker. She said that he's a changed man and that she didn't want to throw away everything that they had built together.
Angela on her closest rival: "I don't know...with Renee Fleming, we started together, so we don't steal the scenes. Tenors are more preoccupied with rivalry."
She finished the interview by begging Roberto Benigni for a role in his next films and she's got a thing for Meryl Streep who apparently told her that if she was reborn, she'd want to be Angela, and Angela said that it's mutual.
A+++ Angela delivers. Now if only she could be as consistently present on stage as she is in interviews.