Elina Garanča: a singer is like a sportsman
Elina Garanča, the superstar of New York Metropolitan, London and Vienna operas performs in Lithuania for the first time. One of the most wanted voices in the world will vibrate in the Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania on the 29th of June.
- Are you from a large family? And did you grow up in a traditional Latvian family, with long summers in the countryside?
I have an older brother and we did indeed spend a lot of time in the countryside. And I remember those days with great joy, because we had a lot of fun and that contact with nature I still need nowadays.
- How did you meet your husband Karel Mark Chichon? And how started your relationship? Was the passion for music important?
We meat in a concert, where he was invited to conduct and I to sing. We were both very professional during the rehearsal period and concert and only at the reception started to talk to each other and noticed that we have a lot to talk about.
- How is your life of a very busy opera star and a mom with two little kids, and a husband conductor who is extremely busy on his career?
Well, its busy… Really busy… But the secret to us is organization and careful planning in advance. We do set very firmly our vacation time, we never are separated from each other for more than 3 weeks and we never leave longer than for 2 weeks without seeing our kids.
- How often you take your children travelling with you? Or does your family take part in your busy life as a wife, mother and opera star?
As much as I can. If I am in one place more than a week, I always take them with me, as well as nanny. Its actually only concert tours where we sleep every 2nd or 3rd night when children do not come with me or us, but by the opera productions they are always with me. I would not be able to leave them for 2 months behind.
- Do you sing for your kids in Latvian? Do they have Latvian names?
They have very Latvian and at the same time very international names – Catherine Luise and Cristina Sophie. It was important for us to have the names that you can internationally recognize them and translate into different languages. I am mostly just humming to them because my older girl once started to laugh in the car when I tried to sing for her and at home she usually says – Mommy stop!
- What is their favorite food you cook for them? Does your husband cook? And what is the special diet or food for singers?
My younger one is having just maternal milk at the moment and my older girl loves everything around pasta, like most of children at that age. I have always cooked for my older kid and she has never ate any of the ready kids food from shop. She actually never liked it. But I am the only cook at home who however doesn’t spend a lot of time in the kitchen – max 30-45 min. If we really want to have something special we go to a restaurant and let us be spoiled, but at home it has to be fast and healthy. And every singer is different. I know some who does not eat anything after large breakfast and then after the show, however I need to have a good bowl of pasta 3-4 hours before the show and I rarely eat after the show though.
- In which country do you actually live? And what language do you speak to your children?
I speak exclusively Latvian to my kids and we have 2 homes – one is in Riga where my family lives, and one in Spain, close by in Gibraltar, where the family of my husband live.
- How do you keep your voice fit, and is it true you should keep some “silent” days in between concerts to keep a healthy voice.
Silent days are very welcome in my schedule. I just overall see that too much talking tires voice a lot, sometimes even more than singing. So when I do promotion and have 8 interviews a day, and that for 3-4 days when promoting a new CD or big Tour, I usually plan 2-3 days of rest. However a singer is like a sportsman – one has to maintain the form by exercising every day.
- It is unbelievable how soon you started to perform after the birth of your child,. How you did it?
Well, some of it is experience and some of it is strong Latvian nature that we Latvians are. However I notice that I am not yet 100% in the shape but now I need public and orchestra and adrenaline for me to deal with all those extras. The same happened after my first child – I prepared myself at home as much as I could and within a month or so I was on the stage and back to normal.