Angela Gheorghiu picks fight with a maestro

Angela Gheorghiu picks fight with a maestro


norman lebrecht

August 01, 2022

The fiery Romanian soprano lets rip at a compatriot conductor. There are doubtless two sides to this story. This is hers (the original is in Romanian):

Although I did not want to come back to this topic, I have to write a clear message, after very virulent reactions appeared in the Romanian media – most of them expressed without any reason.

My reaction towards the conductor Cristian Macelaru comes after I was talked about or, in Romanian, lied to by him – the second Romanian who behaved in this inexplicable and unqualified way in the last 12 months.

I have been invited since last year in October 2021 by Didier de Cottignies (my lifelong friend, whom I met since signing with Decca, early in my career) to attend the 14th annual concert July from Paris by day National Team of France Didier is the one who appointed Cristian Macelaru as Artistic Director of the National Orchestra of France, and my invitation to the concert came after Didier spoke with Cristian Măcelaru.

My contracts are done ahead of time, through the management agency, I don’t deal with the contract details directly with the promoter and I couldn’t because I don’t have the time and I have a team that knows exactly what to do. However, Cristian Măcelaru being a Romanian, I said I could discuss with him directly about the repertoire, it seemed to me a normal collegiate gesture towards a countryman of mine, whom I met waiting in front of my booths, at the end of the show, in mainly in America . This is how we had several phone calls and texts between November 2021 – April 2022.. Then, as I said, inexplicably, Cristian Măcelaru disappeared! Even more, I found out from my agency, through a secretary of the Orchestra, that I will no longer participate in this concert. For no reason at all. From a secretary ….

Last year, this same thing happened to Opera Națională București and not only to me, although only I had the courage to say it, unlike other colleagues in similar situations who either stumbled or kept quiet. In short, I was invited last year, in June 2021 (and this only after a post that went viral on Facebook), to perform in an extraordinary concert, around the New Year, on the anniversary of the ONB’s centenary.

All contractual details were finalised by my management and on 14th July 2021 it was confirmed by both parties a gala gig for 31st December 2021. My managers have been waiting for this contract for months, they asked, they wrote… but ONB disappeared completely and didn’t even answer (as Cristian Măcelaru would do in a few months).
The protagonist of this episode was Daniel Jinga, meanwhile, appointed Director General of ONB, following a contest with a single candidate.

Things are very clear…
The above fits into a pattern of behavior that, over time, too many fellow countrymen have expressed towards me. And that I could and can miss out on.

As for my preference for certain Romanian musicians, musicians with real careers, others over those who are excessively “promoted” in Romania – this comes after for decades I have been present worldwide, in all major concert halls opera houses, in all cultural capitals, and i’ve met and befriended my fellow musicians whether they r singers or great conductors… and where we found out – from objective and authorized perspectives, of true legends of music, and in open and honest conversations, without propaganda and without petty interests – who really had important careers, and who didn’t.

Of course, everyone is free to listen to who they want, to like who they choose, but it is a pity that in Romania there is no more talk about other Romanian musicians, composers, opera singers, whose compositions or careers are much more important. ante for UNIVERSAL music history

Radu Lupu, a true piano legend, would have deserved a day of national mourning when he recently died… a genius musician, almost completely ignored in his country of origin, Romania… Clara Haskil, Dinu Lipatti, Virginia Zeani, Maria Cebotari, Ileana Cotrubas, Viorica Cortez, Ionel Perlea, Sergiu Celibidache, Gheorghe Zamfir, Paul Constantinescu, Pascal Bentoiu, Nicolae Bretan, Vladimir Cosma… the list isn’t too short

I owe nothing to Romania, I have never been supported by this state or by its institutions in my career, on the contrary, I have supported Romanian musicians and colleagues, inviting them to my concerts and shows, the important honors, all over the car my yesterday.
Of these I remember the conductors of Calin Bratescu , Tiberiu Soare, Ciprian Teodora Ccu, the tenors of @TAG, Ion Marin , Bogdan Mihai Ionut, Marius Brenciu, Marius Manea, Vlad Miriţă , Teodor Ilincai , Marius Budoiu… on the soprano Iulia Isaev and on the baritone Alexandru Petrovici , on the pianists George Petean , Alexandra Dariescu and Dan Grigore.

Yes, I even invited Filarmonica “George Enescu” from Bucharest to my concert in Oman, Muscat and to my concert in Luxembourg (on the occasion of Romania’s accession to the European Union)… although the philharmonic never invited me I invited Corul Madrigal and Marin Constantin for the recording of the disc with sacred (religious) music Mysterium, in London, a disc on which I recorded including Romanian Orthodox music specially orchestrated for this recording. On my initiative, the BBC came to Romania and made a documentary with this music, at the monasteries in Moldova. I wasn’t forced to invite them I could invite who I wanted like I’m doing now.

In Romania, in 32 years, I had 4 or 5 concerts with honours and 8-10 concerts or appearances in charity concerts, no opera performances with the exception of the Bucharest University of Music bachelor’s exam, which took place in Cluj in 1990… I never ended up signing a contract with ONB or with another cultural institution in Romania.
I have dedicated my whole life to music and especially Romanian music, which I sing in all my concerts, my nationality is Romanian, my origin from Adjud is known to a whole world and I mention it in all my presentations and biographies that I receive is.
In fact, I don’t owe anyone any explanation, on the contrary, I owe explanations from many, but I thought that for once things needed to be made clear.

I wish you all more understanding and more genuine patriotism that goes beyond the facebook comment stage. Nationalist, extreme, anti feminist sentences, comments made for the sake of scandal, without a minimum of information and respect, are not happening in 2022 and never.
Yours and the whole world,

Angela Gheorghiu


  • Bloom says:

    It is interesting to find out how much of this story is a matter of a diva ‘s unchecked ego and how much of it is objectively true.

    • Bloom says:

      Angela Gheorghiu is a fine, old school soprano . Not many of the current star sopranos sing better than her, but they are definitely younger, have got more flexible personalities, a larger repertoire , better press, more effective management ( and are more hyped ).

      • Bloom says:

        She is foolish and grotesque in her diva-ish ,wounded ego tantrum , trying to wrestle with the present day opera/classical music system on her own. But her neurosis is also quite moving in a world in which abiding by the rules often counts the most.

      • Marilena Volosinovici says:

        And they are not washing their dirt in public! This one has a BIG mouth!

    • Barry Guerrero says:

      No it isn’t. What’s interesting is the music, period.

  • Elizabeth Owen says:

    Oh for FFS who cares. The world is going/has gone to hell in a hand basket and all she cares about is…..!

  • Luca says:


  • Bone says:

    She seems nice.

  • IP says:

    So is Petean a baritone or a pianist, after all?

  • sayin' says:

    My Romanian partner read this and said, “it is a typical Romanian trait to sell yourself and put yourself above others to anyone who will listen. As a nation we were downtrodden for too long. But, whew, she does not know where to stop.”

  • Lothario Hunter says:

    “From a secretary ….”

    I must confess I am a bit shaken by the demeaning undertone. Secretaries are an essential fixture in classical music. Titans have held them, and hold them, in the highest esteem.

    If you doubt this truth, and since you cannot ask Pavarotti any longer, ask Muti and his enabler Alexander 🙂

  • JoshW says:

    Anyone who knows Macelaru knows he’s a great guy who doesn’t waste time with personal intrigues and silliness. On the other hand, anyone who knows this has-been soprano knows that she’s infamous for being a self-centered, over-rated drama queen who makes problems way more than she makes art. Let’s move on.

  • Morgan says:

    Whew; now a breath.

  • Ernest says:

    I can feel that she’s bitter that she’s not venerated in her own homeland while she’s a big name elsewhere. Perhaps they simply can’t afford/accommodate her and would prefer to promote up and coming singers …

  • Mary M says:

    Angela Gheorghiu is one of my two favored sopranos, I only like listing her interpretation of PUCCINI’S TOSCA, the other favored sopranos is Elīna Garanča.

  • Tweettweet says:

    Hm, she could improve her writing skills….a lot of superfluous text to make her point.

    • Barry Guerrero says:

      How ’bout you try your hand Romanian, and then let’s talk.

      • David Dreebin says:

        Your comment is not really appropriate, as Angela had written this in her native Romanian language and it has subsequently been translated into English by someone else. The point I think Tweettweet was making was that this would appear verbose in her native language.

        • Marilena Volosinovici says:

          Trust me is undignified and it shows the quality of the person ! Totally out of order gypsy behaviour on her part. A sort of Megan Markle but with some merits here!

  • El Cantor says:

    Didier de cottignies has been appointed in 2019 as artistic advisor of the Monte Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra….he could not take, in 2021, decisions for a casting at the Orchestre national de France for a concert in 2022….

  • Well says:

    She’s hurting, hence the vitriol.

  • Stephan von Cron says:

    As her past work has been respected, she didn’t really need to do this rant : it sufficed just to see how ill at ease Macelaru is with operatic repertoire when he conducted Sierra in the Traviata excerpt July 14th. He might look and act like a drug-dealer, but he’s fabulous with symphonic literature, and his musicians seem to enjoy playing for him.
    One doesn’t need to make a point if she excels in a repertoire that is certainly not his.

  • Tom Phillips says:

    Of course she also got Leonard Slatkin fired from the Met in a Traviata revival.

  • Karsten says:

    Is this the same vampire that was talking smack about George Enescu? Enesco was an absolute giant. She knows more and more about less and less.

  • Garicheck says:

    Re Radu Lupu: he was Jewish, not a big benefit in Romania.

  • Barbara Sims says:

    Angela Gheorghiu loves her country, . Although she has been welcomed and has sung in operas all over the world – still with standing ovations – she has largely been ignored by the country she so loves. She has always supported Romanian music, musicians and her countrymen.

    She may be a Diva but I can tell you that she is one of the kindest ladies I have ever met. I met her at Covent Garden over 30 years ago as a fan. I have nothing to offer her – only admiration and loyalty. She never ceases to be kind to me. She sends me
    flowers on my birthday and when my husband passed away she could not have been kinder in supporting me. I just wanted people to know there is another side to some peoples’ perception of Angela.

    • Marilena Volosinovici says:

      That was one exception! One time! Maybe she was struck by kindness that day… But she soon recovered and she is herself now!

      • Jay says:

        Marilena Volosinovici, your comments actually reflect your personality and character, not hers; you seem a bitter and frustrated woman…I met Gheorghiu many times after her performances in London (but not only) and she was always very kind and patient to talk to everyone, she absolutely loves her fans. She also has a star quality that is missing nowadays from the new generation of opera singers. I can understand her frustration when she is neither respected by her Romanian colleagues, nor invited to sing in her own country. Can you imagine – one of the star sopranos since 1994 and no opera performance in 30 years in Romania? Mind-blowing. Their loss..

        • Cristina says:

          It is a reason for not being accepted …..the fault is entirely hers. It is a long story …..she keeps blooming anyone but her and is not telling the truth….she made her bed …

        • Andrei Stan says:

          Thanks for your comments on Angela. She is perfectly right to be frustrated by the stupidity of the Romanian musical mafia. However Romanians love and appreciate her.
          To the bitchy comments of Marilena V. one entirely shares your point of view.

  • Bratsche Brat says:

    I, me, my, mine, me me me me me.

  • Dan says:

    Get a room. Wars, climate and famine are bigger issues than a soprano, no matter how world famous she is.

  • Douglas Beardslee says:

    Methinks the lady doth protest WAY TOO MUCH once again (and again and again)!

  • Cristina says:

    Stimata Doamna, datorați totul României. Nu contest calitățile vocale și munca depusa, dar dacă nu greșesc, Mama dumneavoastră a fost croitoreasa. Daca Liceul de muzica și Conservatorul nu ar fi fost gratuite, fiica unei croitorese nu ar fi avut bani sa îmi plătească studiile. La început, ați fost reprezentanta României, și nu a-ti participat individual la nici o audiție. Mai târziu….lucrurile s-au mai schimbat( dacă adăugăm la calitățile vocsle și munca alegerea soților potriviți) De asemeni , va rog sa nu uitați ca în România se predau obligatoriu la școală 2 limbi străine, deci integrarea în afara granițelor României a fost mai ușoară. Este păcat ca aruncați cu noroi în oamenii cu care ați colaborat. Mi-as permite sa dau un exemplu. Corul Madrigal a fost înființat în 1960 , înainte ca dumneavoastră sa fiți născută, sa nu mai vorbim de reputația internațională pe care a dobandit-o rapid .Dumneavoastră pretindeți ca “era un cor de nimic” care a avut nevoie de invitația dumneavoastră.
    De asemeni, mai datorați ceva ….de fapt este o obligație morala de comportament civilizat , fata de colegele dumneavoastră cărora le-ati ” tăiat craca” în clipa când nu au mai putut participa la nici un concurs, având în vedere fuga dumneavoastră.

  • David Hockney says:

    In a world (and a business) full of hypocrites, it is actually wonderful to see somebody talk so openely about the odious behaviour of two of her compatriots!
    If everybody would be so honest, opera and classical musical would not be dying.. and they are now… Brava!