Kamen Chanev and Galina Shesterneva
The Charlebois Post goes backstage to preview L’Opera de Montreal’s international All-Star production of Puccini’s classic Turandot
by Richard Burnett (rehearsal photos by Richard Burnett)
“In the early days Turandot used to come with her own eye make-up and her own wigs, and sometimes her own costumes,” Murphy told me last week at an OdeM rehearsal for Turandot. “Every new Calaf and Turandot – these opera singers have careers playing these two roles around the world, it’s one of those roles that is quite demanding, and they may get stuck in the role. So my job is to make them feel fresh. Sometimes I make drastic changes, although this production is [also very] specific.”
Shesterneva is known for her Turandot, but it was another Puccini opera, Madama Butterfly, that inspired her to be an opera singer.
“I wanted to be an opera singer ever since I was a little boy singing in a choir, but I didn’t realize how hard and difficult a road it would be,” says Chanev, who studied at the Sofia-based Academy of Music and at Accademia Musicale in Rome. He is a laureate of the Jussi Björling Tenor Competition and made his professional debut as the Duke of Mantua in Rigoletto at Sofia National Opera. “I continue to travel a lot, you live in hotels, eat in restaurants and I don’t see my family often. Before flying to Montreal I got to see my family for just three days.”
|Graeme Murphy introduces his two stars
“It is a difficult song to sing and I feel a great responsibility to do it right because it became such a famous song after it was sung by The Three Tenors [Spanish singers Plácido Domingo and José Carreras, and the late Italian singer Luciano Pavarotti],” says Chanev, who also mastered his vocals skills with Pavarotti’s pianist Leone Magera.