Mezzo-soprano Elīna Garanča, who made her Met debut in 2008 as Rosina in Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia, headlined the 2009 revival of the composer’s La Cenerentola.
You made your professional debut in Donizetti’s Anna Bolena at the age of 21—on short notice and while still a student! Were you terrified?
I was so busy memorizing and getting ready that I didn’t have time to get scared. It was very exciting. It was a co-production, with semi-staged performances in Bucharest and Athens. I had just ten days to prepare the role!
Had you always wanted to be a singer?
I come from a musical family. Originally I wanted to be in musicals, but once I started vocal training I was quickly drawn to opera because it so perfectly combines movement, drama, and music.
This is your second Rossini role at the Met. Are you making a specialty of this composer?
It’s actually a coincidence that I’m returning in another of Rossini’s works. I don’t really consider myself to be a Rossini singer. It’s a challenge for me to make those little notes run. I feel that my voice wants to have longer lines, and legato, rather than quick runs, so this Cenerentola may be one of my last roles in Rossini repertory.
The opera’s great coloratura showpiece, “Nacqui all’affanno,” is especially difficult.
For me it’s the Olympics—adrenaline at its highest. To get through it I must switch on all the buttons in the computer in my head and body.
Cenerentola will be seen live in high definition in movie theaters. Are you looking forward to your HD debut?
The fact that it’s being shown live all over the world makes my heart jump. So it’s best I don’t think about it! This opera is perfect for HD because everyone knows the story of Cinderella. It’s witty and comic—plus the music is great!