Angela Gheorghiu, One of the World’s Greatest Opera Singers

The “New York Sun” named her “the most glamorous and gifted opera singer of our time.” “Sunday Times” called her “the most interesting soprano voice of our time.” This is Angela Gheorghiu, the golden voice of international opera, born in Vrancea, Romania.

Soprano singer Angela Gheorghiu performs during the opening ceremony of the traditional Opera Ball (Opernball) in Vienna, February 16, 2012
Soprano singer Angela Gheorghiu performs during the opening ceremony of the traditional Opera Ball (Opernball) in Vienna, 16 February 2012. Photo: Lisi Niesner / Reuters / Forum

Angela Gheorghiu was born in a small town to a modest family. Her life was as ordinary as it can get. She lived and played like any other child, but there was one aspect about her that stood out, and that was her voice. She didn’t simply have a good voice; she had the voice. One that people around knew, after hearing it just once, that it would fascinate the world. The prophecies came true when Gheorghiu had her international debut in 1992. Her voice certainly did amaze everyone, and her talent continues to do so decades after.

Gheorghiu’s big day came after her graduation from the Conservatoire in Bucharest, which coincided with the fall of communism. The event was held at London’s Royal Opera House. Gheorghiu played the role of Mimì in La Bohème, and the story is nothing short of worthy of the “defining diva of the century” title, as she has been often referred to (in relation to Maria Callas, the “defining opera diva of the 20th century”).

Gheorghiu, the expat opera singer

With little to no knowledge of English, Gheorghiu wandered the streets of London, holding a piece of paper with translations of basic questions in her hand. She was asking people how she could get to the Opera House. She kept asking until she eventually got there, and with the help of a man, she was able to find the right building. Little did she know that she had just asked for instructions from no other but Peter Katona (today, Director of Casting at the Royal Opera), in front of whom she was about to audition in just a few minutes. Needless to say, the hearing was a success, and that very same year, Gheorghiu made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera in New York and at the Vienna State Opera

In just two years after the official take-off, Gheorghiu was to make history for the first time in her career. She performed in 1994 at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, presenting her greatly acclaimed Violetta in Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata. The BBC cleared out its schedule, for the very first time in its history, especially to broadcast the show. From this moment on, it’s all history that continues to write itself to this day.

Angela Gheorghiu conquers the (opera) world

Gheorghiu is now wanted all over the world for her talent, outstanding voice, and performing charisma. Be it New York, London, Paris, Salzburg, Berlin, Tokyo, Rome, Prague, Montreal, Moscow, Taipei, Buenos Aires, and many other places. She receives calls from all over the world requesting her to perform. And everywhere she goes, she fascinates the audience.

A favorite of the British Royal Family, Gheorghiu had the privilege of singing multiple times for Charles III (then Prince of Wales) and was a performing guest at the late Queen Elisabeth II Golden Jubilee. One year later, she sang at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert.

Having been awarded the top accolades in countries across Europe for her outstanding contributions, it’s safe to say that her place in history is secure.

Naomi Gherman

Master student in Cultural Diplomacy and International Relations at Babeș-Bolyai University, eager to share more about our world's most fascinating stories and people. Romania-based reader, writer and content creator with a strong interest in journalism, foreign languages and politics.

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