Ramona Zaharia’s Carmen mesmerizes Istanbul opera-lovers

Romania-born opera singer was applauded for a long time after her performance in Istanbul

Hilal Ustuk   | 28.07.2022
Ramona Zaharia’s Carmen mesmerizes Istanbul opera-lovers


A rich-voiced mezzo-soprano Ramona Zaharia mesmerized Istanbul opera-lovers with her performance of French composer Georges Bizet’s classic opera, Carmen.

“I would like to say that I'm a little bit nervous. But I'm really happy to be here because I met such wonderful people, and …energy,” Zaharia told Anadolu Agency just ahead of her performance as part of the 13th International Istanbul Opera Festival on Wednesday night.

“I'm really happy to be here and to act play sing with the most wonderful singers in Turkey,” Romania-born mezzo-soprano added.

On playing Carmen, Zaharia said: “After almost 19 productions, (which makes) almost 200 shows, I can say that always, I'm looking for a new challenge in my role.”

“So I don't know what to tell you and I am just on the stage, and I'm acting a very powerful character,” she added.

Zaharia played Carmen in Italy, Spain, Germany, Sweden, France, and her home country Romania.

Noting her first Istanbul visit, the famous mezzo-soprano said that she could not see much yet around the city. “But I have wonderful friends here who show me a little bit.”

“I would love to come back just to see the rest of Istanbul because it's a wonderful city,” she added.

For her Istanbul audience, Zaharia said “just enjoy, and I hope they will like my Carmen, my idea of this character.”

The successful opera singer was applauded for a long time after her performance in Istanbul.

Zaharia made her debut as Maddalena of Verdi’s Rigoletto at the Metropolitan Opera New York in the 2018-19 season.

The famed opera was put on stage in a production helmed by Italian director Vincenzo Grisostomi Travaglini, with choreography by State Opera and Ballet chief choreographer Aysem Sunal Savaskurt, under the baton of conductor Zdravko Lazarov.

When Carmen was first staged in Paris in 1875, it was derided by many critics. It was after Bizet's death that interest in Carmen picked up, eventually making it one of the world’s most-staged operas.

Set in Spain, the opera tells the love story of soldier Don Jose and a cigarette-factory worker Carmen.

The 13th International Istanbul Opera Festival started on July 16 with a 7 Tenors concert and continued with the Italian opera the Tosca on July 20, and the opera Murat IV on July 23.

Keeping with tradition, the festival will close with a performance of Mozart’s The Abduction from the Seraglio on July 30 at the Ataturk Culture Center.

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