We interview Annalisa “Adalgisa” Stroppa.
She arrives with her mask and behind her a big smile, there is life on the street, The sun has risen and he is about to have a coffee on a terrace. Something very different from what happens in his native Brescia. It is his tenth production of Norma, but for her it's like the first time. And it is that nothing is the same, tampoco para Annalisa Stroppa, a purely bel canto Adalgisa capable of describing with her voice all the colors of the emotions that her character experiences on stage.: Annalisa Stroppa arrives at the Royal Theater to interpret Adalgisa en la Norma, Bellini, a composer you have a weakness for. What attracts you so much about this composer?Annalisa Stroppa: Adalgisa is a character that I love and like for different reasons. The first is Bellini's writing style. Besides being my favorite composer, always puts the voices above everything. The expressiveness that can be in each word, for him is the first. No one like Bellini has given so much importance to sound, at the half voice, to the legacy y to the declaimed, already known as bellinian declamate. But Bellini scores are not easy. Singers must behave like athletes. Different voice colors are necessary to express the text and Bellini allows a lot of freedom of expression - this is one of the reasons why Wagner admired Bellini so much. For this unique Bellinian writing. Therefore, for me it is extraordinary to be able to use the voice to express in this way, coloring each word. For Bellini expression is very important and he accompanies him orchestral in a very subtle way. This is where the difficulty is, in which the orchestra has to support what you say, but not as an accompaniment, but having the same sound and the same intention with which the singer expresses himself.: How is Adalgisa vocally and what difficulties does she have?A.S: Right now I can say that this music is my vocal territory. I feel very comfortable expressing myself through bellcanto and the French repertoire. But Bellini is the closest thing to my vocality right now.
The difficulty that Adalgisa has is its wide tessitura, goes up to Do5. But, if the voice allows it and you feel comfortable, it is perfect. Bellini's scores have a beautiful and inimitable melodic line. With very few notes it grabs your heart, on a character level and also vocally, is the perfect counterpoint to Norma. because they, in the duets and in the cadence, they become the same person. Their voices intertwine and merge into one. and this is magic. They must have great synchronization in sound and expression. When all this happens, the result is spectacular.: How is the character of the Adalgisa that Annalisa Stroppa builds?A.S: Adalgisa is a very pure woman, a woman who always remains true to herself from the beginning of the work, being very respectful with Norma, never betrays her and is always close to her. The role of Adalgisa allows me to play with the expression and the nuances of the voice. At first she shows her effort, your doubts, his suffering. She is so in love with Polione that she is willing to leave her vows as a priestess.. This is a very deep conflict for her, she is in love and, both, wants to maintain fidelity to his God and religious life. This requires great delicacy when expressing it. She fears Norma's reaction when she knows her intentions. Then discover the great humanity of Norma who understands her situation. Until he realizes the double life of Norma and Polione and their two children in common. How many colors and expressions are there in this argument!. And Bellini allows us to translate the color of love with her voice, of humility, of despair ... All this is in the music of Bellini. Until in the duet of the second act, is loyal and consistent with Norma. He will stay with her so that she can reunite her family and return to Polione. This is of a very great purity. She remains faithful to Norma because the traitor is Polione.This production of Norma at the Teatro Real is also new to me. It is the first time that I work with the maestro Marco Armiliato and with the Regista Justin Way, that's why it's a new experience. I have also met a wonderful team of colleagues. The work we are doing together is spectacular, even with a mask. It is starting to live again and I am happy.: When facing this character again right now, What new emotions do you have or expect?A.S: Every time I go to sing, does not sing only Adalgisa, also sing a part of me. And especially now, after everything we're going through, of all this suffering that we are all living, of that silence of our interior that now has so much to say ... All these reasons will make my Adalgisa different. Because I return to the stage with the warmth of the public that I miss so much. I know that I'm going to get excited, because what was normal until today, now it's going to be very special. I return to share the emotions and the atmosphere that will be generated at that moment, always different. What I appreciate now is being able to be here. Thanks to the Royal Theater for giving me this opportunity and what I would like is to convey my emotion through my voice. I don't know when I'll sing again, So now I will do it as if it were the first and the last time. Without worrying about anything, just for the excitement of singing again with an audience that shares this emotion with me, that's why my Adalgisa will now be very different from the previous ones. This is the tenth production of Norma in which I participate, and all my Adalgisas are different, for different reasons. The maturity of the voice, the maturity of the person and live it differently. The Norm that accompanies me also influences. I remember with special affection the productions with Mrs. Mariela Devia and Edita Gruberová, for being two historical ladies and great icons of the opera.
B.C: When he leaves the theater, after having given everything for a character like this, How do you free yourself from such an intense rol?
A.S: It is not easy to free yourself from such a character. You feel it so strong in your own skin, that I think until the end of production, even weeks later, be part of you. Because you build it, you live it and you always discover something new that, in the end, you take it with you. They are not two separate people, they are together. It's like a very fun game because, sometimes, The directors, they call me Adalgisa instead of Annalisa (laughs).
I do not have the capacity to live separately the two people. On stage I carry a part of Annalisa with her emotions, his life ... and I translate them into the emotions of Adalgisa. I can't separate them. Sometimes it happens that, after playing a role, you have to quickly start with another, without the time needed to decant, like wine, a new character turning the previous page. When you leave a character you have to say goodbye with respect and say hello, also with respect, to the new character. They are our little creatures, what have you elaborated with time, with love and care to create something special that is part of you and that does not disappear suddenly after the last performance.
B.C: When it comes to a city, as now to Madrid, How is the day to day outside and inside the theater?
A.S: Now it is not easy because what we are living is not normal. You always take care of yourself, you rest, you take care of your voice but, Clear, on the day off I could see friends, to visit a museum, take a walk down the street… For me it has not been a very big change in this aspect but, what is most noticeable is sadness. Here in Madrid I have not felt this change much because the theater people make me feel so good, it's amazing how they take care of you. They are always attentive to all the needs you may have, how do you feel. With this what they show is that all this can be done and can be done well.
Whenever I arrive in Madrid I feel at home. That's why being here for me is so special. I feel very loved and appreciated. If I had to choose another country to live, it would certainly be Spain.
Without a doubt, physical health is very important, but mental and emotional health is also very important and music heals us. It's like a medicine of the soul. There is a large audience that wants to return to the theater and I hope that in Italy a solution can be found very soon, by the public, for us and for the whole family that is on stage, that you cannot see and that you are having a very bad time. The theater is a cog in a machine that works when all parts are present, like life.
B.C: What do you think that Madrid is being almost the only city in Europe that has open theaters?
A.S: It is a miracle!. I, until the last minute before taking the plane to get here, I didn't know if I could come. I didn't believe it, that's why i say, long live Madrid!, that has put music and culture in an important place. Health is important, the economy is important but ... you cannot deprive people of the possibility of dreaming, to live and share emotions, this is part of life. Music is oxygen, it's life. Thank you Madrid for being an example in which others can be inspired, is the demonstration that it can be done. Madrid is an example of how you can move forward.
B.C: In May he returned to the stage in Wiesbaden, How was that experience in a moment as dramatic as the one we were going through?
A.S: March and April were very cruel months in the place where I live. In two months I couldn't sing because at that time there was a lot of suffering, many victims. It was like a war. And the voice participated in this mourning and did not feel the need to sing again.
Wiesbaden has been like a rainbow in the sky after rain and storm. I had this contract for a long time and I thought the recital was going to be canceled. But it was not canceled. Germany decided to perform it without staging and they organized everything. Arriving at Malpensa airport, desert, I started to cry when I saw all the people covered in protective suits, it was all amazing. When i came to germany, his health situation was not so bad and everything seemed like a dream to me. I could not believe it.
The peculiarity is that he had to do the function without a choir and without an orchestra, It was a selection of arias and duets by Carmen and in the dressing room I was alone. He had brought a suitcase with dresses similar to those of the production, but mine. Sang an aria, I went back to the dressing room to change for the next aria but I did everything alone, there was no one to help me or point me out. In the end, the important thing is that the music was there and I was singing. In the theater there were 200 people and it seemed to me that it was full. That day everything accumulated in my heart the previous months came out of me. All the suffering, all the emotions, all reflections, all translated into music. I think this intensity reached the audience because in the end we cried together from the emotion. It's something that I won't be able to forget.
B.C: How are you working now for the future, it doesn't have to be easy to prepare an agenda?.
A.S: No, it is not. The difficult thing is to reorganize all the cancellations that have been all this year. I have performances that had been canceled and now they have been scheduled on dates where I already have other commitments. The situation is complicated to get dates square, despite the uncertainty. But I am a very lucky singer because in these months I have been able to continue working, except March and April, which for me have been months of silence.
Our life was very fast, always running and traveling everywhere and, suddenly, everything stopped. During those months I have had a lot of time to reflect, to enjoy my family. You start to value the little things, those things that are really important. It is strange because we discover things that we already knew but that you observe with another point of view.
B.C: In what special situations have you seen yourself professionally in these months?
A.S: Everything that has happened helps us to resize ourselves. I have sung in streaming in an empty theater and I have cried with emotion. I have sung in the Bergamo cemetery as a tribute to the victims of our land. In April I was able to sing at Easter mass in my city, after two months in which my voice did not want to express itself but, at those moments, the voice is projected. And he does it because he has a reason, it was like a prayer. The voice resumed its way to sing again because, in the end, we do not sing only with our heads. We are used to singing in various situations, but these have been special.
Interview: Paloma SanzAdalgisa-AnnalisaStroppa