Great artists of to­mor­row

Natalya Ro­maniw so­prano

BBC Music Magazine - - THE FULL SCORE -

‘My first ever role was Anna Trulove in

Stravin­sky’s The Rake’s Progress with Welsh Na­tional Youth Opera (WNYO),’ re­mem­bers so­prano Natalya Ro­maniw. ‘And gosh, I loved it so much. I thought to my­self – if I’m lucky enough to do some­thing I love this much as my job, I’ll be luck­ier than most peo­ple.’

Soon after that stun­ning de­but per­for­mance with WNYO, Ro­maniw won the 2008 Welsh Singers Com­pe­ti­tion, and was au­to­mat­i­cally en­tered into the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World as the Welsh rep­re­sen­ta­tive. ‘Other singers in that com­pe­ti­tion had al­ready sung at La Scala in Mi­lan, or the Metropoli­tan Opera in New York, while I was only 22. I shot up a bit more than I should have, for one so young.’

It didn’t do too much harm. In 2012 she won the Kath­leen Fer­rier award at Wig­more Hall, and was of­fered places on young artist pro­grammes at Covent Gar­den, the Metropoli­tan Opera and Hous­ton Grand Opera. ‘I was in a place where I could say, “Right, I’m go­ing to leave now, and re­ally learn my craft”, so I de­cided to go to Hous­ton. I’m so glad I did.’

Be­tween sea­sons in Amer­ica, where Ro­maniw sang lead­ing roles in Hous­ton and New York, she re­turned for sum­mer sea­sons at Opera Hol­land Park and Glyn­de­bourne. Her busy sched­ule cer­tainly paid off as, since her full-time re­turn, she has been in high de­mand across the UK. But she’s learnt some im­por­tant lessons along the way. ‘You’ve got to think about build­ing your ca­reer in terms of longevity, so if peo­ple do get ex­cited and of­fer you things which are be­yond where you are, it’s hard but you’ve got to say no. You have to stick to what fits you like a glove – right now.’

One such role, which Ro­maniw first per­formed last sum­mer at Gars­ing­ton Opera and will sing twice more in the up­com­ing sea­son, is that of Tatyana in Tchaikovsky’s Eu­gene One­gin. ‘I ab­so­lutely love singing in Rus­sian,’ she says. ‘My grand­fa­ther was Ukrainian, so I grew up singing lit­tle Ukrainian songs with him. I think – be­cause the lan­guage is fairly sim­i­lar – some­how I recog­nise and have a flair for singing it.’ In­ter­view by Eli­nor Cooper; Natalya Ro­maniw sings in Eu­gene One­gin with Welsh Na­tional Opera from 29 September to 30 Novem­ber

‘You’ve got to think about your ca­reer in terms of longevity’

slav to the rhythm: ‘I grew up singing lit­tle Ukrainian songs’

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