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Virginia Zeani - Canta che ti pasa
I was backstage during the television show in which Luminița Arvunescu had Virginia Zeani as guest- on May 10th, 2011. It was then I found a very lively person at the astonishing age of 86. She was a person with an acute sense of humor, humble and who still possessed an extraordinary beauty, as we could all see, when she received the 'Nihil sine Deo' decoration from his Majesty the King.
I have often times found myself wondering what the secret of these people is, because everyone would want to steal it.
The only recommendation - her extraordinary voice
It occurs to me that younger generations might not know who Virginia Zeani was, this due to the fact that it was not allowed to talk about her in communist Romania (as of any Romanian from the Diaspora, as a matter of fact) and to the fact that recordings with her voice did not circulate. In 1947, Virginia Zeani moved to Italy and in 1980 she settled in the United States of America. She virtually started from scratch in Italy, having only her extraordinary voice as recommendation, a voice considered by many critics as being one of the best voices of the twentieth century.
We must acknowledge the fact that Virginia Zeani was a true star of her time, a great singer, rivaling important names, like Callas or Tebaldi. But upon reading the book containing the dialogues between Virginia Zeani and Sever Voinescu, you come to realize that there is a difference between the stars of the Golden Age and the stars of today- in fact the conditions and the audience for whom they sing have changed very much.
Balancing the stage with the personal life
While reading this book you realize that decency, common sense, hard work, talent and of course a stroke of luck are the ingredients behind an exceptional career. Zeani's biography is unusual, life reserving her a lot of surprises - some good, some bad. She enjoyed a fruitful career, retired from the stage in 1982 and up until 2004 was an exceptional professor at the University of Bloomington - United States of America. She was married to bassist Nicola Rossi-Lemeni and has a child.
We could envy Virginia Zeani - she did not neglect any aspect of her life, maintaining a balance between life and stage in a world where balance could be lost easily.
Canta che ti passa- Singing will heal - a slogan in Italy after the First World War - is the book that reveals a great personality We should be proud that we were born in the same country as Virginia Zeani.
Translated by Bîrsan Vlad and Elena Daniela Radu
MTTLC, Bucharest University