Sechs Fragen an ... Mané Galoyan - Deutsche Oper Berlin

Aus Libretto #8 (2023/24)

Six questions for ... Mané Galoyan

Mané Galoyan sings Violetta in LA TRAVIATA, a woman torn between the man of her dreams and a life free of ties

What’s more important: liberty or love?
Actually that’s not where the conflict lies. When Violetta meets Alfredo and experiences what it’s like to be loved, that question evaporates. Social strictures are what thwart her.

Violetta is terminally ill. To what extent does her realisation that she’ll die soon affect her actions?
It doesn’t impinge much on her decision to grasp this love match but does have a lot to do with her decision to leave Alfredo. She’s aware that her past life as a courtesan would bring shame on his family. So, with death approaching, she takes a tough decision, renouncing true love out of pure selflessness. I admire her for that.

Violetta seems to enjoy a certain licence in 18th-century Parisian society. But as a courtesan is she not reliant on people?
She has the same freedom of agency that any woman of her condition would have had at the time. Although she is financially dependent on men, she has positioned herself so that she can at least select the men she goes with. Which gives her more freedom than most women enjoyed.

Violetta is complex. Outwardly she’s strong and seductive; on the inside she’s vulnerable and anxious. How do you manage to convey these opposing traits?
I’m quite invested in the role because I see a lot of me in Violetta: I’m a strong and independent woman – and I love attention. But where my loved ones are concerned, especially my husband, I’m just as soft and vulnerable as she is. Sometimes I get the feeling that we’re so alike I could get hurt.

How does Verdi express all the facets of her character in music?
That’s the biggest challenge with the role, because it’s actually a part for two and a half voice types. In Act 1 you’ve got these high-pitched coloratura stretches, then comes the drama of the second act and in Act 3 it’s like everything, everywhere, all at once. You really have to know what you’re doing to pull it off properly.

The role really seems to have made an impression on you. How do you get ready for a performance?
Alexandre Dumas’ novel »The Lady of the Camellias«, which Verdi based his opera on, is always within reach on my bedside table. Before I go to sleep, I open it at a random page and am transported at once to another realm. It only takes a couple of sentences and I’ve identified the exact spot in the opera. That’s my most important form of preparation. It keeps the narrative alive for me.


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