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Interview with … Marina Rebeka

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Latvian soprano Marina Rebeka has become one of the world’s most celebrated sopranos, performing in all the major opera houses in the world. Her voice, pure and agile, sounds marvellous in Mozart or in the Italian repertoire, from Belcanto to Verdi.

Marina Rebeka is currently singing Violetta in La Traviata at the Opéra Bastille, in the widely acclaimed production directed by Benoit Jacquot.

Can you tell us about what decided you to sing and about your debut ?

When I was 13, my Grandfather took me to the opera to see Norma. I had never been to opera before and didn’t know what it was. During the first intermission, I told my grand : « I am going to sing this music ! ». Nobody believed me at the time : I had never been to a musical school nor study solfeggio or harmony, and I just used to play piano at home. But then, 23 years later,  I have fulfilled my dream : I debuted as Norma in 2016 at the Trieste Opera House, where Maria Callas sang Norma for the first time as well. It was a very special role debut for me.

My first ever debut on stage was in La Traviata in 2007, in Erfurt, a small and beautiful German town. I had auditionned the month before I started to rehearse it. This was a very lucky coincidence, as opera seasons are usually planned years ahead and because it is difficult to take part to a new production when you are a beginner. I will always be thankful to Guy Montavon for choosing me at this time. It was an amazing experience, that I will remember for my whole life.

How does it feel to sing La Traviata at the Opéra de Paris ?

It feels very special being in Paris, singing this role in the city where the action takes part. The production of Benoit Jacquot is visually attractive and costumes are beautiful. I feel very happy.

In 2013, you published a Mozart CD in which you sing many roles, from Queen of the Night to Elettra. How special is Mozart for you ?

I have always found it interesting portraying one composer’s different characters, showing variety of colors and understanding the style. For Mozart, the music can be so different and characters’ range so vast ! It was a real challenge, not only for the voice, but also personally, to be able to fir in completely contrary roles.

Your solo album « Amor fatale – Rossini Album » was realeased in 2017. How did you chose the arias among the vast Rossini repertoire ?

For most of the arias of the record, I had performed or had planned to perform the role onstage. The idea was to show the serio aspect of Rossini (and not the usual buffo repertoire) : his dramatic operas, which are very close to the first Verdi’s operas, and which were an inspiration for Donizetti, Bellini, and other great composers of the time. The choice of the characters were led by the them of renouncement. Almost all of them renounced from love for something more relevant. Love is very often a reason for suffering.

​Would you like to sing baroque music or with period instruments ?

Yes ! If i get an offer, I would love to do that. I love Baroque music.

​Which roles would you like to sing in the future ?

I would like to sing Norma (Bellini), Anna Bolena and Maria Stuarda (Donizetti), Tatiana in Eugene Onegin or Iolanta (Tchaikovsky), Manon and Thaïs (Massenet), Rusalka (Dvorak), Leonora in Il Trovatore (Verdi), Alcina (Handel).

Which artists would you like to work with ?

I would like to work with many singers, conductors or stage directors. I would name a few conductors : Mariss Jansons, Riccardo Muti, Riccardo Chailly, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Carlo Rizzi or Zubin Mehta.

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