Soprano Anna Pirozzi: «I took over Callas’ baton»

For the centenary of the Divine, the Italian soprano will stage her most intense role in Athens: Medea. Crowning a career that started “uphill” that has a lot to teach us. And that she somewhat reassures us: “Meritocracy exists”

«DI thought for a while: I would love to there Medea by Luigi Cherubini! A great challenge, both vocally and interpretively: an arrival point, for a soprano. Unfortunately it is rarely represented: it will never happen, I concluded». Instead… From April 25 Anna Pirozzi will embody the heroine of Euripides in Athens, at the Greek National Opera, and not in any representation: in the one that marks the culmination of celebrations for the centenary of Maria Callas

Directed by David McVicar. What Medea will it be?
An almost demon-possessed woman, split between the thirst for revenge against Jason who abandoned her and maternal love. Always on the ground, almost crawling like an animal… Luckily in this staging I won’t have to kill my children on stage, it will be a “behind the scenes”. The words preceding the infanticide really make my stomach, I can’t hold back the tears

He looks like a sunny guy. Where does he find this darkness within himself?
The merit is of the music, which transports me. I let myself be totally taken. I already have a dark character in my repertoire: Lady Macbeth, who has some sides similar to Medea

Anna Pirozzi, soprano, 47 years old (born in Naples but raised in Val d’Aosta), began studying at the Conservatory as an adult. Her first success was, in 2012, “Un ballo in maschera” at the Teatro Regio in Turin. (Photo: Charl Marais)

The shadow of Callas will hang over the performance.
I’m very excited: it was her most intense interpretation. I’m listening to the recordings for inspiration. But there is an even more important reason why Maria has left her mark on my life: it is thanks to her that I fell in love with her work. I was 25 when I heard her for the first time in Casta diva, from Norma by Vincenzo Bellini. A shock: “Wow, this is what I want to do!”. I knew nothing about classical music, opera

A belated call.
Not exactly. I always repeat that – as soon as I was born – I didn’t cry: I sang! But I had a pop repertoire: Mina, Giorgia, Céline Dion, Whitney Houston… The dream was to participate in the Sanremo Festival. After high school, I immediately started working: care for the elderly in retirement homes. I got up at 5 in the morning, with crazy shifts. I remember humming to my old men, they were happy. In my spare time I performed at piano bars, at weddings

And when the moment-Caste Diva?
When the desire to know how to read music came to me: I enrolled at the Conservatory, in Aosta (my parents are Neapolitan, but they moved there for work, I was 13). The plots of the works captivated me: what had I been missing until then, a beautiful world! It was there that I heard Callas and… hello! The voice supported me, I launched myself: let’s try this road!

Macbeth by Giuseppe Verdi at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London on 13th November 2021. Anna Pirozzi and Simon Keenlyside. Photo © ROH by CLIVE BARDA

And he nailed it.
Oh no, not so fast. Someone encouraged me (“You’re a talent!”), the family discouraged me: you start younger, you don’t have a resume, you don’t have an agency… I went against everyone and everything, it was enough for me that someone able to listen to me to give me a chance. It happened long after I started studying, I was 32-33 years old

In the meantime?
I had the good fortune of a long apprenticeship with very small orchestras, for little money: we traveled by bus together – musicians, choir, soloists – to the smallest provincial theatres. She helped me lay the groundwork to present myself in the major theaters ready

Anna Pirozzi, the trauma of the first time at La Scala

The first of the majors?
The Regio di Torino, in 2012: I underwent three auditions, they weren’t convinced. Finally they offered me a couple of performances of Giuseppe Verdi’s Un ballo in maschera. Shortly after, in 2013, the Salzburg Festival: Riccardo Muti suddenly needed a replacement for Nabucco’s Abigaille and they suggested my name. He was wary, he didn’t know who I was – hardly anyone knew who I was – but I knew the role well, having experienced it on those country tours. When he agreed to test me, his reaction was: “But where has she been up to now?”

From that moment, a crescendo: doors open at the Paris Opera, at the Metropolitan in New York, at the Royal Opera House in London, at the Staatsoper in Vienna, at La Scala in Milan…
At my debut at La Scala, in 2016, I actually “buarono”

It was my debut in that theatre, my debut as Lucrezia in The two Foscari, my debut with Plácido Domingo. The loggionisti, perhaps, were expecting someone more famous. I don’t know how she managed to recover me: after a performance in which you gave your best, this broadside of “buuuuuu” that cuts your legs. But it goes on: I had nine other performances, they were a success. I hope to return to the Piermarini soon: my aspiration is a season opening on December 7th

Other episodes to forget?
Doors in the face because of the physique, by both the directors and the artistic directors. I wasn’t supported by a team that could defend me, sometimes I let myself be overwhelmed: I tried to lose weight for pleasure. Finally, however, I realized that there is a meritocracy: it is the voice that has to work. My voice is inseparable from this body (I’m tall, sturdy in constitution), if I alter the body maybe the rest is altered as well, as happened to some colleagues. I see that as soon as I drop a few pounds too quickly, I can no longer sustain this volume of vocal emission

It seems that even Callas has been affected by the weight loss.
He didn’t have a long career, but the fault lies above all with his moods: you have to be serene to sing well

“My strength, so many dreams”

The greatest satisfactions?
One, essentially: having made it on my own, starting from scratch, at a not so favorable age, on my own strength, with little money to study

(Princess Turandot) ANNA PIROZZI ROH Turandot © Marc Brenner-0996

Inspirational, for young people.
My advice to them: be highly prepared, that’s the most important thing. Repays. And be patient: don’t run, be careful not to get burned right away. I know passion is strong, but the right steps are needed. We cannot experiment in everything, we are not Maria Callas: she was an exception

Do you have any favorite heroines?
Verdi is the composer who best suits my voice, as a dramatic soprano of agility: therefore Leonora de The TroubadourAmelia of A masked ball, AidaDonna Leonora in The force of Destiny. It is no coincidence that I called my daughter Leonora, and that I tattooed her name under my heart

I see a tattoo on my wrist as well.
Yes, a treble clef with notes, I made it when I was 20. And I have a third “musical” one: a lira

And for your son, nothing?
Not yet: tattoos must always be odd… (laughs). However, he too has an operatic name, Daniel Riccardo: Riccardo as the protagonist of A masked ball

How old are they?
Leonora 12, Daniel Riccardo six. I had them late, in this profession having a family is very difficult

The secret?
My husband (Leonard Simaku, ed )! He is a musician and he understands me, he is my fan and he gave up his career for me: he supported me, followed me with the children when they were small, so that I could work in peace. We met at the conservatory. I had been repeating to myself for some time: “I want to find a violinist boyfriend!”. I saw it and never let it go (laughs)

What is the American saying? He’s careful what you wish for, because you’ll get it…

Maria Callas, who changed the world of opera

There is a before and after Callas, which the whole world (Angelina Jolie included) celebrates 100 years after his birth

Maria Anna Cecilia Sofia Kalogheropoulou (for everyone, simply: Maria Callas) was born in New York to Greek parents on December 2, 1923but the competition for the celebrations has already started in the world, of which the Medea of ​​Athens represents the apex (info: Cinema will also make its contribution: Pablo Larraín is working on a biopic with Angelina Jolie in the role
of the soprano (died at only 54 years old, in 1977).

Receive news and updates
on the last ones
beauty trends
straight to your mail

An artist who has provided material both to the annals of music (she has renewed the lyrical repertoire, bringing to light forgotten works, and has renewed the way of proposing it with the great expressiveness that accompanied the superb voice) and to the magazines: the marriage with the Italian Giovanni Battista Meneghini, the painful bond with Aristotle Onassis, the sublime love for Pier Paolo Pasolinithe mystery of the dead son, the legendary weight loss…


Source link

Leave a Comment