The Romanian soprano, Angela Gheorghiu, is the daughter of a train driver. Along with her sister Elena, she sang opera music from a very early age. At age 13, she went to study singing at the Bucharest Music Academy, primarily under Mia Barbu. Her graduation in 1989 (or 1990) coincided with the overthrow of Nicolae Ceauşescu, enabling her to seek out an international career immediately. Her profesional debut took place at the Cluj Opera as Mimì (La Bohème) in 1990.
Angela Gheorghiu made her international debut in 1992 at Covent Garden in London as Zerlina in Don Giovanni. She was offered Mimì in La Bohème, an important and difficult role, but she declined, preferring something less ambitious. Nevertheless, she made an excellent impression and in the same year went on to debut at the Staatsoper Vienna as Adina in L'Elisir d'Amore and at the Metropolitan Opera as Mimi in La bohème. In 1994, she was auditioned by the great conductor Sir Georg Solti for a new production of La Traviata. When he heard her, he said: "I was in tears. I had to go out. The girl is wonderful. She can do anything!". It was in Covent Garden that she first sang her much acclaimed La Traviata in 1994, when BBC cleared out their schedule in order to broadcast the opera. That particular performance was also filmed and recorded by Decca. Really, her debut as Violetta led her to international stardom. Since then she has been in constant demand in opera houses and concert halls around the world: New York, London, Paris, Salzburg, Berlin, Tokyo, Rome, Seoul, Venice, Athens, Monte-Carlo, Chicago, Sao Paolo, Los Angeles, Lisbon, Palermo, Beirut, Amsterdam, Kuala Lumpur, Zürich, Vienna, Madrid, Montreal.
Angela Gheorghiu's first exclusive recording contract was signed in 1995 with Decca, where she made several recordings and videos / DVD’s: La Traviata with the Orchestra of the ROH Covent Garden, L’elisir d’amore with the Orchestra of Opera de Lyon, La Boheme with the Orchestra Filarmonica del Teatro Scala di Milano and the recitals Arias (Orchestra del Teatro Regio di Torino), Verdi Heroines (Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi), My World and Mysterium (with the London Philharmonic Orchestra).
Divorced from her first husband, from whom she retained her surname, Angela Gheorghiu married the French tenor Roberto Alagna in 1996. The couple have sung together often on stage and on studio recordings. Her next exclusive recording agreement was signed in 1998 with EMI Classics. She first recorded an album of Duets and Arias with Roberto Alagna and the Orchestra of the ROH Covent Garden, then she recorded Puccinis’s rarely played opera La Rondine (with the London Symphony Orchestra), Charles Gounod’s Romeo et Juliette (with the Orchestre Capitol du Toulouse) and a second album of duets with Roberto Alagna, Verdi per due, with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. Other EMI recordings are: Gianni Schicchi (from Il Trittico), Massenet’s Werther with the London Symphony Orchestra, Massenet’s Manon with the Symphonic Orchestra de la Monnaie Bruxelles, Verdi’s Il Trovatore with the London Symphony Orchestra and Georges Bizet’s Carmen with the Orchestra Capitol du Toulouse. Her recital Casta Diva was followed by a live recording of her concert with the Dresden Staatskapelle Classics on a Summer’s Evening (CD and DVD), then by Verdi Requiem with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and by her 2001 Live from Covent Garden recital (CD and DVD). All her CD’s have enjoyed widespread critical acclaim ever since her debut and have been awarded many prizes such as Gramophone Awards, Diapason d’Or Awards, Choc du Monde de la Musique (France), Cecilia Prize (Belgium), Deutsche Schallplattenkritik-Preis (Germany), the Italian Musica e dischi - in the category Foreign Lyric Production Award, the USA Critics’ Award, Premio Zenatello (Verona), Echo Klassik (Singer of the Year, Frankfurt, 2002), etc. At the Classical Brit Award in 2001 she won the title Female Artist of the Year.
In December 2000 Angela Gheorghiu started filming for Tosca, in a movie in which she stars alongside Roberto Alagna. The Tosca sound track was released in November 2001 and has already had fantastic previews from Opera News (USA): "She's one of the most sensuous Toscas imaginable....Angela Gheorghiu's passion and beauty are ideal for Tosca, as if the best qualities of Callas's and Tebaldi's portrayals had come together." The film is due for cinema release in the UK in May; the USA in July/August and in Italy and Greece in April. The British Press have commented enthusiastically: "This is a work for which EMI has long offered a benchmark recording - Maria Callas with Victor de Sabata – yet this new recording in many ways surpasses it. More clearly than anything I have heard in years, this is a classic of the future... Alagna makes a strong and virile Cavaradossi... [Gheorghiu's] is a great performance, as magnetic as Callas's, rich and beautiful as well as dramatic." The Guardian, November 2001; "Antonio Pappano's conducting alone would make this a Tosca of distinction... Gheorghiu is worthy of the highest comparisons... [Alagna] is in fine voice... The recording is all that could be wished." Gramophone, Recording of the month, December 2001.
Among major appearances 2000-2001 season was Roméo et Juliette at Covent Garden in February/March 2000, for which her performance alongside Roberto Alagna in the title roles received rave reviews, and Turandot at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York in October 2000. Engagements then included Gala concerts and appearances at the Royal Opera House, Hampton Court, and Royal Festival Hall (all in London) and New York’s Met, in the Summer of 2001, as well as La bohème at the Bastille in Paris at the end of October 2001. In January 2001 she performed in Verdi’s Requiem again with Alagna and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. The evening was recorded live in Berlin and released in August 2001. She also took part in the historic performance at the “Proms at the Palace” on June 1, 2002 to mark the Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II (DVD). Among major appearances in 2002-2003 season there were the enthusiastically applauded performances of La Rondine and Pagliacci in Covent Garden, Romeo et Juliette at the Choregies d’Orange and at the Festival of Salzburg, Faust at the Met in New York, as well as major recitals in Seoul (South Korea), Athens (Greece), the Vatican and at the Salzburg Festival. EMI Classics released two exciting new opera recordings with her: in July 2002 a complete recording of Verdi's Il trovatore, with Roberto Alagna and Antonio Pappano, and in February 2003 a new recordings of G. Bizet's ever-popular Carmen, in which she was accompanied once again by Roberto Alagna and conductd this time by Michel Plasson.
The year 2003 began in the USA with performances of Pagliacci in Palm Beach, in January, and at the Met in New York, in March, with C. Gounod's Faust. July 2003 saw her at Covent Garden once again in Pagliacci. The year 2004 started with performances of Simon Boccanegra, then a new production of Faust in the ROH Covent Garden. Angela Gheorghiu's future projects include concerts in Bruxelles, Rotterdam, as well as performances of La Boheme in Turin and Los Angeles as well as performances of La Rondine in London. In the near future she will also make her appearance in Lucia di Lammermoor, Adriana Lecouvreur, Tosca, Lucrezia Borgia, Don Carlos and Don Giovanni.
Angela Gheorghiu is one of the most famous contemporary sopranos. Her magnificent voice and dazzlinstage presence revealed her to the world as a unique opera star. A fiery and intense stage actress, she has a particular affinity for the operas of Verdi. A lyric dramatic soprano with a large range and a dark coloured voice, she is also able to sing spinto roles. On the other hand, having an impeccable musicianship and a gorgeous voice, she's also a great interpreter of French roles. She also performs and records the music of her native Romania, whether operatic, lieder, popular or Orthodox church music. Her operatic repertoire includes roles Mimì in La bohème, Violetta in La Traviata, Adina in L’Elisir d’amore, Liù in Turandot, Micaela in Carmen, Juliette in Roméo et Juliette, Magda in La Rondine, Suzel in L’Amico Fritz, Zerlina in Don Giovanni, Manon in Manon and Charlotte in Werther. In the future she will appear in Luisa Miller, Pagliacci, Faust, Adriana Lecouvreur, Lucia di Lammermoor, La Sonnambula, Tosca, Lucrezia Borgia and Simon Boccanegra.
Angela Gheorghiu is also famous for her beauty and was recently chosen the 74th most beautiful women in the world by the magazine FHM. But, above all, the Romanian soprano is noted for her creamy and flexible voice, her rare musicianship and the deep and intense portrays of her characters.
Angela Gheorghiu was honoured with “La Medaille Vermeille de la Ville de Paris” and appointed “Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres” by the French Ministry of Culture and by her native country Romania.