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Monday, August 15, 2022

Sondra Radvanovsky, soprano: “My mother died. i got divorced I NEED A CHANGE. I want to live in Spain”

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Many say she is an unconventional soprano, but no one disputes her solidity. The point is that Sondra Radwanowski (Berwyn, Illinois, USA, 53 years old) has experienced the most glorious moments of his career in recent years. She amazes and gives in, she reaches the bottom and shows on the one hand her strength of experience and on the other hand that mystery of the inexplicable but true that the greats of opera have. His last performances in Spain were notorious. The American singer has left no one indifferent: from her debut at the secondary school 2018 together with Jonas Kaufmann and the baritone from Malaga Carlos Álvarez at his Rough in which Royal Theateralso with Spanish and several encores, which she sang, half appalled at their effect on the audience.

Next Saturday the 23rd he returns to the country he says he wants to live in, although he hasn’t decided where yet. It will do this in Palma de Mallorca, inside the night of the senses from Cap Rocat Festival. A concert à la carte awaits you: your favorite arias, accompanied by Paul Mielgomusic director of Orchestra of the Balearic Islands.

But why does Radvanovsky want to live in Spain now? He has no problem saying it from New York via video conference. You will see that the reasons are powerful. “We have all changed since the pandemic. Me too: I want to live from day to day. My mother died in January when my marriage fell apart and I was divorcing after 22 years. I need a change,” he says.

These two reasons also weighed heavily on the night of July 4 last year, when the Real crowd cheered them on to sing the encore Vissi d’art, in Rough (Puccini). “He went through this difficult time. My mother was already very ill at the time and my marriage fell apart. My emotional state was mixed with other factors. I had put all my energy into my singing, it was the only thing in my life that hadn’t changed, so I put all my energy into it. In the last year I actually think I’ve grown in the way I bring my emotions to it. In addition, after the pandemic, the public was hungry to feel the emotion of live music. All of this resulted in a kind of perfect storm.”

The soprano in “Tosca” at the Castell de Peralada Festival (Girona) in 2021. Michael Gonzales

And it exploded without him noticing. “I never planned this and we shouldn’t expect anything like this at any point. But emotions are released and that’s it. You always find someone to criticize it because it breaks the rhythm of the performance, but what are you going to do? If you didn’t decide to repeat the aria, the audience would still be clapping.” There’s more… Observed throughout his career in both Europe and North America – either the United States or Canada, where he now resides Radvanovsky many differences.” As I said, the pandemic has radically changed us all. And forever in the world of opera. Classical music is deeply rooted in Europe, but North America is the land of pop, country and jazz. Classical music it’s not taught here, it’s not part of nature and if you don’t feed it or water it, it dies,” believes the soprano.

Drawing roots too: she is Czech on her father’s side, which has led her to dominate roles like that Rusalka, by Dvorak. His mother, on the other hand, came from Denmark. She was born outside of Chicago and grew up in Indiana. But he carries a tragic past of flight and silence. “My grandmother never spoke about her life in former Czechoslovakia. But just before she died, she told my father that she had been raped by German soldiers and that maybe he…”

She prefers to look ahead. In the continent he wants to move to, he observes a collective commitment and a firm commitment to young people. “The state takes care of it, the public participates. In New York, recently at the Metropolitan, the largest theater in the world, it’s half empty and the audience is much older. Here this dies. When I go to Europe, young people are waiting for me at the door. For me that makes the difference. They have managed to keep opera’s connection with young people while America has lost it: it has not been able to find this new generation and seduce them to go to the theatre”.

The worst thing is that, in their opinion, the potential new audience is losing interest at the speed of light, and in their opinion, the managers are unable to stop the bleeding. “I’ve read polls about this in the sad newspapers: some say that 27% of young audiences say they don’t want to go back to a live classical music show.”

Sondra Radvanovsky, among others, believes that this retracement is due to the inability to break the perverse momentum. “The opera houses in the United States do not know how to portray the societies of 2022. There is no diversity, there is no abundance of different skin colors, and there are no representatives of the LGTBI collective. Opera is still a platform of white and male dominance: there are no female directors or music directors, I think Europe is more aware of that and using it. On a stage you want to see a part of social reality reflected, you just don’t find it here”.

In addition, it is convenient to justify certain concepts with nobility. Like divism. “In a way, of course. In search of the iconic, because cleavage is a magnet. The term changes. We have to stay with the positive. We don’t want the capricious latecomer, but we do want someone who is generous with their time and their art. The advantage is that we live in a time that tends towards the homogeneous, towards the uniform, towards the generic. Divismo represents the opposite, a quest for uniqueness, marching to the beat of our own drum without having to conform to specific rules. Take the lead, mark your own path. So they get dressed and we look at them”.

But divism costs. “Singing is easy in this job. What is least asked of you. This life is not normal. You can’t just maintain a relationship, you travel, you study… You owe that to your audience too. If you have a queue, take care of everyone waiting for you until the last one leaves, because if you can somehow reach them with a kind gesture, they will remember it for the rest of their lives. We are responsible for that and I feel it on my shoulders. It’s up to us to pass on the legacy of our art form to the next generations and that’s a big burden, but we have to do it together. If we don’t, it will go away.”

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Source elpais.com

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