Famous Romanians: Angela Gheorghiu

Angela Gheorghiu is a Romanian opera singer and one of the most famous contemporary sopranos. Often compared to Maria Callas, she is known for her powerful and flexible voice, stage presence and the way she brings to life very different opera characters.

By Alexandra Fodor

Angela Gheorghiu was born in 1965 in Adjud, Romania. She attended the Music School in Bucharest and at the age of 14 enrolled at the Bucharest Music Academy, where she studied with the famous music teacher Mia Barbu.

In 1992, she made her international debut at the Royal Opera House in London, as Zerlina in Don Giovanni. The same year, she debuted at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, as Mimi in La bohème and at the Vienna State Opera, as Adina in L’Elisir d’Amore. Two years later, she imposed herself as one of the greatest sopranos when she performed the Violleta role in La Traviata, at the Royal Opera House. (To broadcast the opera BBC cleared out its schedules)

Since then, she gave concerts in opera houses and concert halls around the world: New York, London, Paris, Salzburg, Berlin, Tokyo, Rome, Seoul, Venice, Athens, Monte-Carlo, Chicago, Philadelphia, Sao Paolo, Los Angeles, Lisbon, Valencia, Palermo, Amsterdam, Kuala Lumpur, Zurich, Vienna, Salzburg, Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Prague, Montreal, Moscow, Taipei, and San Juan.

Her opera repertoire includes roles such as Mimi in La bohème, Violetta in La Traviata, Adina in L’Elisir d’amore, Liù in Turandot, Micaela in Carmen, Juliette in Roméo et Juliette, Magda in La Rondine, Suzel in L’Amico Fritz, Zerlina in Don Giovanni, Manon in Manon and Charlotte in Werther.

Her discography primarily recorded with EMI Classics and Decca includes albums such as La Traviata (1994), Puccini Experience (1995), L’Elisir d’amore, Arias, La Rondine, Duets and Arias (1996), My World, Roméo et Juliette, Verdi per due (1998), Il Trittico, Werther (1999), Manon (2000), Casta Diva, Mysterium (2001), Live from Covent Garden(2002), Carmen (2003), The Essential Angela Gheorghiu, Diva (2004), Live from Scala (2007), Angela and Roberto Forever (2008), Madama Butterfly (2009), Classical Legends- In Their Own Words, Classical Superstars (2010).

All her albums have been praised and have been awarded many prizes such as Gramophone Award, Dyapason d’Or Award, Choc du Monde de la Musique, Cecilia Prize, Deutsche Schallplattenkritik-Preis, the Echo Klassik Award, Musica e Dischi, USA Critics’ Award. At the Classical Brit Award in 2001, she won the title of Female Artist of the Year.

In 2000, she interpreted the main role in the movie Tosca directed by Benoit Jacqot.

In 2003, she sang at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert, a performance available on DVD.

In 2005, Angela Gheorghiu performed at the opening of a new opera house in Valencia in presence of the Queen Sophia of Spain.

The French Ministry of Culture appointed her an “Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres” and a “Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres”.

Read more about Angela Gheorghiu on her website.

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