A-Topic

Maria Biesu, Interview

To participate in a competition to select the best Madame Butterfly, 39 young singers from 22 countries gathered in Tokyo in March, 1967.

Two Soviet girls captured the top prizes. First place went to Maria Bieshu of Kishinev, and second to Lamara Chkoniu of Kiev.

Maria Bieshu recently gave this interview to a reporter from the Sovietskaya Moldavia.

En route to Japan I was nervous, eager, excited - it is hard to find the exact word to describe my feelings. And when I arrived in Tokyo and was surrounded by famous singers from many lands, my anxieties increased.

For here was I, a young Moldavian singer, competing in the International Madame Butterfly Competition with such formidable opponents as Clara Marisi, the favourite Madame Butterfly of Latin America, Elizabeth Vaughan of Britain, Helehe Garretti of France... the names kept whirling through my head... Signorina Carnio of Italy, Miss Niska of the United States, Miss Molnar of Yugoslavia, Miss Sasaki of Japan...

The Japanese government, I recalled, had presented Clara Marisi of Brazil with a copy of a costume of Miura Tamaki, the world-renowned Japanese singer and actress, in whose memory it stages this international contest.

And over in a corner I saw the Italian singer Benetti, winner of the contest in 1955, talking to one of the young competitors.
Surrounded by all these stars, it is no wonder that I felt nervous. And it did not help to know that I must sing in Italian. I'll do well, I thought, if I survive the first round of competition.

On March 17, after a ceremonial inauguration, the contest got under way. I was sixth on the list and sang two arias: "One Fine Day" and "You Are My Hope". I was in such a state that I could not judge if I had sung well or poorly. "Good! Remarkable!" whispered Lamara Chkonia, who happened to be standing beside me. I shall not try to describe my feelings during the next three hectic days. I got through the first and second stages, and both Lamara and I were among the eight singers competing in the third round.

On that evening of March 20 the Toranomon Hall was jammed. I was the first singer to appear on stage, wearing a kimono, the costume of Miura Tamaki, for the duet with Pinkerton.

Then the competitors were down to four - Lamara and I, Helehe Garretti and Elizabeth Vaughan. The finals were held in a packed concert hall and we sang with an orchestra. When I finished my number there was a burst of applause. That was unusual and stirring, for no applause had been allowed during the competition.
The jury retired, then returned to announce the winner. When my name was read out I cried with happiness. Lamara was second, third prize went to the British singer, and fourth to the French.

March 22, 1967, is a date I shall long remember. The National Theatre was filled to capacity. The winners were invited onto the stage. Our eyes were dazzled by the lights - TV cameras were at work. The whole of Japan could see us. And then, in a formal ceremony, the chairman of the competition organizing committee, Mr. Kadowaki, a former Japanese Ambassador to the Soviet Union, announced: "The winner of first prize in the International Madame Butterfly Competition is Miss Maria Bieshu of the USSR."

Later there was another event I shall never forget. On the crest of a hill in Nagasaki stands a small house in which, legend has it, lived Madame Butterfly. In the courtyard is a statue of a woman and child, the woman gazing out to sea.

Around that monument to Miura Tamaki, who died in 1946, we singers and a host of music lovers gathered on a cool March day. And I was deeply moved when, as the contest winner, I was asked to sing.

Maria Biesu - Cio-Cio-San
The Japanese government, I recalled, had presented Clara Marisi of Brazil with a copy of a costume of Miura Tamaki, the world-renowned Japanese singer and actress, in whose memory it stages this international contest.

And over in a corner I saw the Italian singer Benetti, winner of the contest in 1955, talking to one of the young competitors. Surrounded by all these stars, it is no wonder that I felt nervous. And it did not help to know that I must sing in Italian. I'll do well, I thought, if I survive the first round of competition.

On March 17, after a ceremonial inauguration, the contest got under way. I was sixth on the list and sang two arias: "One Fine Day" and "You Are My Hope". I was in such a state that I could not judge if I had sung well or poorly. "Good! Remarkable!" whispered Lamara Chkonia, who happened to be standing beside me. I shall not try to describe my feelings during the next three hectic days. I got through the first and second stages, and both Lamara and I were among the eight singers competing in the third round.

Article's Tags: moldova singer music interview

Want to say something...

Nickname:
Comment:



a-Topic, 2017