LITTLE BIG PORTRAIT RUGGERO RAIMONDI
© Le grand tour
Ruggero Raimondi interviewed by Joëlle Deviras at the Monaco Press Club in avril 2017
Raimondi directing Rachele Stanisci in "Attila" from Verdi at the 'Opéra of Monte-Carlo in April 2016 @ OMC
The famous bass-baritone Ruggero Raimondi spoke about his career and his involvement for disabled children, at the Monaco Press club last April. An encounter with a bewitching artist.
Ruggero Raimondi is a young man of 75 years old with a youthful appearance, a malicious look and a charming smile. Originally, from Italy, Prince Rainer III made Ruggero a Monegasque citizen. He was the unforgettable « Don Giovanni » in the Losey movie. And also the wonderful performer of Boris Goudounov, Philippe II in Don Carlo, Don Basilio in the Barber of Seville… Of course we would have loved to hear him sing. Even just a little air…But he is here to talk to us about his extraordinary career.
«When I was young, I studied accounting and when we started to study financial mathematics, I thought it was the perfect time to stop! » He was then singing in a crooner way and mainly in the shower. His family -music lovers from Bologna –were convinced that his voice had something special. They convinced him to audition with the conductor Francesco Molinari Pradelli.
Playing the baddies
The conductor found his voice so beautiful, that he told him that he would pay him if Ruggero did not manage to have a career in music. Raimondi then won the young singer competition in Spolete. «And that was the beginning of everything! » Quickly he fancied playing the rival roles like Scarpia in Tosca. And then he played Boris Goudounov, in Italian first and then in Russian. He even learned Russian to be closer to the opera. « It is one of the most beautiful operas ever written, and I enjoyed singing it tremendously. » To prepare for the role, he watched the movies from Eisenstein, « to be able to play better the expression of craziness». He performed it for the first time at the Fenice, in Venezia. According to him one of his best roles, a «And also in Don Carlo, I was not bad ! » he laughed.
Ruggero Raimondi always gave 100% when preparing for a new role. « Living a role is about losing control. I always threw myself totally in the skin of my characters.At the end of the opera, I was always destroyed and I needed to spend time recovering instead of going out for dinner! It always gave me a lot of pleasure but it was also very tiring» he confessed. For him, this total engagement is the only way to do his job. « When you have a beautiful voice, you need to perform with passion !» Among his favourite partners, he named Placido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti. Raimondi has the same energy when he is directing, like last year in « Attila » at the Opera of Monte-Carlo. « I am also very passionate when I am directing ! ».We don’t have any doubts about that.
Passion is also present in his life, with his spanish wife Isabel. He met her in 1971 in Bilbao and fell madly in love with her. She was the assistant of the director of the opera in which he was performing. « I would like to marry you», he told her the first time they met! « You are crazy » replied Isabel. Indisputable answer! But a few years later, they met again in Paris, in a Carmen production at the Opera Comique, and Isabel finally said yes ! Together they had 3 children, including Rodriguo, a young boy with Down syndrome.
Ruggero Raimondi has actually come with his family, with Rodriguo and Isabel, a trio that looks very close and loving. And if Raimondi does not sing anymore, he makes exceptions for charity events for associations for children with handicaps. A passionate and generous artist!
Don Giovanni" movie by Joseph Losey
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