Words by Pat Eggleton - Pictures by Luca Migliore and Augulino Giovanni
Pat interviewed Adriana Iozzia, a 23-year-old soprano from Modica, who gave her first interview to Italy Magazine.
Pat: Adri, I’ve known you since you were 6 years old but it wasn’t until I heard you sing in a church choir when you were 9 that I realised you had the voice of an angel. When did you begin to sing?
Adriana: I’ve always sung, around the house or in church.
Pat: When did you take up singing seriously?
Adriana: When I was 17 a teacher from my school heard me sing and he suggested I take some private lessons, so I did, in Catania.
Pat: Where else have you studied music?
Pat: Are you still studying?
Adriana: Yes, at the Conservatorio in Ferrara. I’m studying for the Biennio superiore in musica vocale di camera and I’ll finish in March. But you never stop studying music if you are a singer.
Pat: You’ve won several competitions, haven’t you?. Can you tell us about a recent one?
Adriana: Yes, a few weeks ago I won the Premio Internazionale Vincenzo Bellini at Caltanissetta. I sang O Caro Nome from Rigoletto.
Pat: I’ve heard you sing that on your demo CD. It’s lovely.
Pat: Do you have any favourite composers?
Adriana: Bellini as he was Sicilian but I’m always interested in discovering new music.
Pat: What about favourite singers?
Adriana: Again, I always like to find new singers but I do follow Renata Scotto and Daniela Dessi, especially if I’m preparing a role. Renata Scotto always sings the first phrase absolutely right and it helps me interpret my role.
Pat: What is your repertoire?
Adriana: Lirico leggero and bel canto. Bellini, Verdi, Rossini and Donizetti suit my voice best.
Pat: Do you sing in languages other than Italian?
Adriana: Yes, I sing in French, Spanish, German, Russian and Welsh.
Pat: Do you have a language coach?
Adriana: No, I learnt by listening to other singers though I did study the phonetics of German.
Pat: And when did you have a chance to sing in Welsh?
Adriana: At a concert in Parma in 2007. I sang Beethoven’s Walische Lieder.
Pat: I have no idea what an opera singer has to study altogether and I imagine many of our readers would like to know what your life is like.
Adriana: I can tell you it’s not all about arias! We have to do physical work on our voices, vocal exercises and so on. Then, if I’m rehearsing a particular role, I have to prepare like an athlete, working on my breathing muscles, for instance. My teachers help me with technical difficulties and then I spend a lot of time working out how I want to interpret the role. I listen to singers from the past, like Rosa Ponselle. There are so many steps in preparing a role and of course I have to be a good actress, too.
Pat: I’ve read that an opera singer’s voice has to mature. Is this true?
Adriana: Yes, the voice is enriched as you get older. My voice has characteristics that I want it to keep but I want to add to them. The trick is to do this without losing anything. It’s like adding layers to the voice.
Pat: This didn’t happen for Callas, whom I know you admire, did it?
Adriana: Callas is a special case because by losing so much weight so drastically she became weak and strained her voice. It was a tragedy.
Pat: Do you have to follow any special diet?
Adriana: No. I just make sure that I eat healthily.
Pat: You have to watch the weather, don’t you?
Adriana: I have to be careful when it’s cold because if I get a sore throat I can’t sing. But I don’t make a fuss about it.
Pat: Do you suffer from stage fright?
Adriana: No, I ‘m never afraid to go on stage – I just feel a little anxious because I want to do my best. But once I’m on stage it’s a great feeling.
Pat: Who chooses your stage clothes?
Adriana: If it’s a role, the director. If it’s a concert, I do.
Pat: What are your ambitions now?
Adriana: To sing opera as a soloist in theatres and to travel to sing. There aren’t many chances to sing in Sicily. There’s the Bellini Theatre in Catania and the Teatro Massimo in Palermo but that’s all, so I’ll have to travel.
Pat: Has your family encouraged you?
Adriana: Oh, yes, they’ve always supported me, both emotionally and in practical ways.
Pat: Adri, we hope that you achieve all your ambitions. Thank you so much for giving your first interview to Italy Magazine.
Adriana: Thank you. It’s been a pleasure.