Soprano Valentina Naforniță is the holder of the National State Prize, awarded in 2015 at the proposal of the Ministry of Culture for exceptional performances in the development of European lyrical theatre. Valentina Nafirnița's name is recognized by the most famous opera houses in the world. Ten years ago this was just a dream - a modest little girl from the village of Cuhnești to have impeccable performances on the biggest opera stages in the world. How long and difficult the road from Cuhnești to the Vienna opera was, we find out from the soprano Valentina Nafornița.
- Valentina, you grew up in the village of Cuhnești. How was this period for you?
- I have very fond memories and, at the same time, I miss this period. I had a childhood in which I was always busy. I don't remember being a calm child, staying home, having time to read or doing anything else. I've always been involved in all kinds of competitions. Even though I wasn't at school - I was on vacation, I hated summer vacation. It seemed like a waste of time. I didn't understand why we had to stay home so long. How to stay home and do nothing? How can you recover after that? I couldn't study, I couldn't go to music school. When I wasn't on vacation, I was away from home all day. In the morning I went to school, then to music school. I would go home after the dance classes at 22:00 and I would do my homework at 22:00. Sometimes I would sit with my feet in the cold water so I wouldn't fall asleep. I enjoyed having a lot of activities. If it was summer, I would organize some competitions with the neighbours. I would call them and make a rain of stars or something.
A beautiful childhood. I didn't miss anything. Probably because I didn't know you could have more. I lived there in Cuhnești. I was very happy with everything I had. The things we needed, our parents offered us. It was normal to buy something new every three months or on holiday. I didn't have any problems and I didn't have any problems with my parents either. I knew these were normal things, so I couldn't ask for more. I enjoyed everything I had. I knew what my parents' financial situation was. I can't say it was hard. They probably wondered every morning how to make more money to live a decent life. Everything was fine for me. I was a happy child because my parents made us feel that way.
- Parents are often examples in our lives and because of them, we love certain areas. Did your parents have anything to do with music?
- I can say that my parents influenced me because they really liked to sing. When we had parties with family or friends, they were always the most vocal. They sang a lot of songs and not just, but in voice. When we started doing music school, we amplified this. We played in the quartet. It was very beautiful. My mother used to take us to church and there we sang in the church choir. This was a small influence of the parents towards music.
I first started singing and then talking. I think for me personally it came more from within me or from God. From the age of three, I started singing like this, simply, around the house and humming everything I heard on the radio. At the age of five, I had my first competition. I think that came more from me. I remember going to music school alone at the age of seven and enrolling in the violin and coming home and saying, Mom, I'm going to study the violin today. And my mother said to me, "Well, what about me when you wanted to talk?" After that, she also went to music school and became interested and gave me permission to study.
- I know that you did not get a scholarship at the “Ștefan Neaga” Music College and you went to Bucharest. That's where you got a scholarship. How was this student period for you?
- I had not obtained a scholarship at the “Ștefan Neaga” Music College and because of this I did not graduate from the college. I took the baccalaureate. It's been four years in college. I did not continue with the fourth year. I was paying a contract. The contract was very expensive for my family - incredibly expensive. Not just for my family, but for the families of all my colleagues.
My current husband was already in Bucharest. At the time, he was just my friend. He was studying there for the first year. He knew how good it is to have a scholarship as a student from the Republic of Moldova there, how many opportunities does the conservatory in Bucharest offer you. He called me there and I said yes. And my parents supported me. I didn't even get my college papers. First I went to Bucharest to see how things are there. I took the entrance exam, then I came to Moldova and got my college papers and left.
- How were your student years in Bucharest?
- Very beautiful. It was tough at first. I don't know why the transition from Moldova to Romania was hard, I was probably small, a little more complex in one way or another by the accent that all Moldovans have, but not only by the accent. It seemed to me that people knew where I came from, how hard it was for me, how I spent my childhood. Childhood in what sense... I was looking at the girls from Bucharest and I realized that they were not in the fields to have hectares of hoe. It's awful. Now, when I think about it, I can't believe what I've been through.
I wasn't raised like I was in the West anyway. To be told you can do this is the coolest thing to do. Although I was told, but you don't work for it the way we worked. I've always been told you're the best. I was saying, Dad, I know you're going to say that because I'm yours. He said: It is not true. Listen to what I'm telling you. Your past, where do you come from? It was stupid of me, if I think about it now, because this is a real thing. It's the thing that makes me: Valentina Nafornița. If it weren't for the environment in which I lived, all this experience, I wouldn't be who I am today and I don't think I would be so interesting.
- You have an extraordinary prestige when you go on stage. Did you learn that from your student years or does it all come with experience?
"And I think that's been planted in me since I was little." And my mom is a pretty dramatic girl. When he expresses himself, he does it with his hands and his whole body, even if he tells you to go get that glass of water and put it in the fridge. She tells you so passionately. I remember when I was at home, in Cuhnești, every time I had to do something on Saturday, we chose, we had this great option.
You cook, you sweep outside. I always wanted to clean the house because I had the tape recorder, the mirror and I could do my artwork. I sat for an hour, an hour and a half. I started playing music and started. I was putting on dramatic plays, crying in the mirror. I was a child. I was grieving. It's like I saw myself on the big stages and, look, now the spotlight is on me and I'm crying and feeling everything.
I liked to play, to be in the spotlight. I could see that I was somewhere on stage. Now that I'm at a higher and more professional level, it's hard to get that state out, because I think a lot about technique, other things that are very important for an opera singer. You don't just have to have a voice. There are so many things to look out for. Breathing, eating well, sleeping well, resting, vocal technique, how you project sound, style. A lot of things and all that makes me forget that authenticity and that simplicity that the audience fell in love with me - first and foremost. When you're on stage, you play a character. I tell myself that I have to live the music because that will help me to be even better and to transmit even more, and to reach the souls of those in the audience.
- At the age of 24, you won the Cardiff Award. How important is this award to you and how much work did you put in to get it?
- Work comes from the beginning. It was a very special preparation for this contest and it is good that they announced it to me in advance. These competitions are initially pre-selected, and once you have been selected, they will notify you immediately. I was notified in November 2010. I was in a supermarket in Romania and I see a foreign number calling me and I said: Hello! I realized that he was not there and I received the answer: "- Valentina, we are very happy that you will represent Moldova at the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World." People stopped, the whole supermarket stopped, and only I was there. I said thank you very much and that's it. After that, they started months of sleepless nights.
- What does the date of May 13, 2011, mean to you?
- It's the day I got married and it was Friday the 13th and everyone was saying hmmm. Do you want to get married on Friday the 13th? And I said, "Yes, I won't be free another time." Because I was still a student in Bucharest and it was a month before the competition. It all happened then. One above the other.
My husband for me is half my life, literally. We have known each other and we have been together for half our lives since we first saw each other at the “Ștefan Neaga” Music College. We somehow offered each other opportunities, which is very nice. He was the one who took me to Bucharest, he took me there.
Thanks to him, I went to Bucharest and from Bucharest, the beautiful things started for me. I've met a lot of good people. Even there, before Vienna, I had a lot of interesting projects and I had the opportunity to assert myself. Later, I had another chance for him. I first received the contract in Vienna, after which he came there and we continued our life and lived in Vienna for a year. After which he also received a contract in Vienna. He supported me a lot. I'm trying to support him too. Maybe he'll say that about me that I supported him too, but he knows best what this job is. He gave me the best advice. No one could give me better status. Neither does my mentor, because he, my husband, knows me best. And thank you for that.
- Has the fact that people know you, love you and appreciate your talent changed you in any way?
"I've never been a diva." I don't have time for that. I don't know if I'll ever be like that. I haven't reached my goal yet. I have much bigger and more important goals. There are extremely, very many things to do and I know it. My goal is one I tell myself in the bathroom. Maybe it's ridiculous for others. I say to myself: I want to be number one. I don't know if that's going to happen, but that's my goal.
I don't think I've gotten anywhere where I can relax and take advantage and enjoy everything that's going on, and at the same time, I'm very sceptical of all this stuff with the public. It's a go-get thing. You may like the audience when you are well, but when you are not well? We are people. We sing very often. How many times do you feel good as a person, as a person on a day when you have to go on stage and give it you're all? We say that the voice is perfect only one day a year and then you don't have to sing - stay home. Are you in the break? I can't enjoy all this, I don't think it's true. You have to constantly fight for the audience to like you, to love you every time. Don't let them down. This is very difficult to maintain. It's very difficult for me to do that too.
- Are you viewed differently because you come from a small country that the world doesn't know much about?
- Now I'm not too modest. I look at it differently, but not because I come from a small country and the world doesn't know it. For another reason. She always asks me: You are so beautiful, you don't look like an opera singer. You dress so differently. How do you choose your clothes? Where do you get your inspiration from? These are the things the world sees. Not where you come from and what you ate. From this point of view, I am not viewed differently. I never say sadly that I come from Moldova. I proudly say that I come from Moldova and that I am proud to come from this country. I ask them to come and visit Moldova. When I talk about Moldova, everyone is amazed and wants to come to Moldova, to invite them to the concert. They are very excited. They believe that Moldova is an exotic country. For them, this is Moldova, when I tell them where they come from.
- I know you are often invited to sing at royal houses. What does this mean for you?
- It is a privilege, a joy that I am recognized and admired there, but they are the same emotions for me. It's no different. I don't think standing in front of the royal house and the queen should be any different. No, I'm the same, I sing with the same desire, pleasure and passion.
- Valentina, thank you for this interview. It was a great pleasure to talk to you.
- And thank you very much for these super interesting questions.
The source: sputnik.md.