Oregon Music News: Oregon’s all-genre music magazine since 2009


Soprano Aurelia Florian from Romania stars in Portland Opera's "La Traviata" Q&A

by HOLLY JOHNSON //  Aurelia Florian, the Romanian soprano brings "La Traviata" to Keller Auditorium November 2, 4, 8 and 10. 

Aurelia Florian, 35, is the vibrant soprano from Romania who wowed San Francisco Opera critics last year with her Violetta. This season, she’s repeating the role locally in Portland Opera’s upcoming “La Traviata” running weekends Nov. 2, 4, 8 and 10 at the Keller Auditorium. Christopher Larkin conducts, and Elise Sandell stage directs this Verdi favorite in the traditional style, and it features one of opera’s favorite heroines, a beautiful French courtesan living in a hedonistic world. She hides a broken heart and a mortal illness, all the while dealing with sexual politics.

For tickets and information, go here or call 503-241-1802.

How did you first get involved with music and eventually opera?

I grew up in Brasow in Transylvania, and attend the university there (Transylvania University Brasow). My mom studied music, my father played a couple of instruments, traditional music on a bamboo flute, for one thing. They wanted me to be a successful pianist. I studied piano for 12 years, but I wasn’t satisfied because in piano competitions I always came in second or third, never the first. It was hard work, I’d sometimes study for eight hours a day. I hated it; I couldn’t express myself with a strange instrument that wasn’t part of me.

I discovered I loved singing but had too big a voice for the choir. My teacher advised me “You should go visit your canto (bel canto) teacher, and they will advise you what to do.” I studied singing, and after two years I thought, “let’s try a competition. “ I started winning first prizes., and this was the thing that woke me up. I decided to go for it.

I studied voice for four years under Mariana Nicolesco in Romania, and joined the Bucharest National Opera House from 2008 to 2010. I met my husband (opera singer) Radu Pintilie there. He’s from the Moldavian part of the country. In 2010 we moved to Italy where my mom was working. She supported us very much. We began to participate in competitions there; and I always won first prize! It gave me so much satisfaction. And I got so much family support.

What do you love must about opera?

It gives me the chance to live other lives

What opera styles do you prefer?

I prefer the traditional because it’s more elegant. It gives me the opportunity to be more elegant. And I think we’ve forgotten how to be elegant, to wear nice clothes to have good manners. I was talking to our costumer Christine (Christine A. Richardson). She’s designing dresses that were popular 100 years ago. They were so much more beautiful. She can put perfection into just one dress. It gives you goose bumps when you wear beautiful costumes! And a costume can help you become the character.

How do you feel about having a career in opera?

I find these days that everyone is singing everything. You’re not sure you have a long career. I’m like this: I’ll do my best in the next 15 years, because when I’m 50 I would like to stay at home, be very happy and retire. Because I know that the new generation of singers will be coming, and that they’re going to be well-prepared. I would love to share my art with the new generation.

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