Joy and… talent is given to the strong!
Sometimes circumstances introduce drastic changes into a person’s life. It’s enough to have the coherence of one’s utter wish to reveal capabilities, the time and place and… here you go with the stroke of luck! But for one comment — one needs to have strong will for victory, huge diligence and determination. Only then things go well. The life of Irina Polivanova, a singer, is a perfect example.
— Irina, tell us please, how did it happen that you started engaging yourself seriously with music, the vocal singing to actually become a singer?
It happened totally accidentally. At the university where I was studying at the Faculty of Economic studies they used to organize beauty rallies once a year. When I was in my third year I decided to take part in it. At a certain stage, we had a task to show our talents, and I chose vocal singing. I performed a song by Francesco Sartori “Time to say goodbye» and obviously did rather well, because after the rally they recommended me to go to live audition to Lvov Conservatoire.
After first audition I was accepted to the course of Vladimira Pavlovna Chaika, People’s artist of Ukraine. I think that became a decisive moment for me. I graduated from the university by correspondence course and made my first steps to the new future.
— You literally had to start from zero, didn’t you? Did you experience much difficulties while studying?
As I started to learn music rather late, it was really hard for me in the beginning. For a couple of years, I had to take additional tuition classes and master-classes to develop not only the voice, vocal technique but also the musical ear. Now I realize what titanic scope of work I had to do. Endless daily vocal classes and solfeggio, my brain should have acquired totally new type of information. I got exhausted but at the same time I was clearly aware of the fact that is was absolutely necessary. I’m really thankful to my first teacher, Vladimira Pavlovna, who helped me develop my skills.
In half a year by chance I found myself in Moscow at a master-class lead by the teaching staff members of Moscow Conservatoire. Since then I got a goal to enter Moscow P.I. Tchaikovsky State Conservatoire. And I did!
— Aren’t you afraid of changing the type of your activity so dramatically? It is a deed by all means though, when a management specialist suddenly ceases his specialty to make a decision of dedicating him/herself to music. What was that, intuition, self-belief or more at horoughly thought through step?
To be frank, initially I thought music was a new hobby. Moreover, I remember when I was a student at the Faculty of Economy studies and passed by the conservatoire building I always felt sorry, thinking: “Poor guys! How can they earn living with that kind of profession? I’m lucky to study at the Faculty of Economy!”
But then, going deeper into the music world, learning the opera parts, training my vocal skills I understood I couldn’t live without it! Music, and stage and this atmosphere of creativity was the breadth of life to me! And let me not earn much money, I still want to be a part of it…
— Your friend and a fellow-professional, Dmitri Dan, in one of his interviews he gave our club, said you are the example for him to follow – in terms of a persevering person. You managed to achieve maximum goal – to implement all you wanted to do, to sing everything you planned to…
I’m afraid to seem vain, he is partially right. During my study at the conservatoire I sang seven primary parts (Iolanta, Mimi, Michaela, Liù, Tatiana, Monna Vanna and Musetta). For a singer who started learning music so late, whereas most of my groupmates have been doing that from their very childhood, this is a remarkable result. I performed three primary parts at the Moscow Conservatoire Opera House and after that my touring began. I was lucky to perform in Spain, Germany, Czech, Italy and even China and gained widest experience. Today I continue my studies at the Conservatoire as junior professor.
— Apart from music what hobbies do you have?
In my childhood,I went in for track-and-field professionally. Probably that is why I do possess certain will for victory. I love sport. I play big tennis with pleasure. Sometimes when I have time I go to fitness centre and sometimes do fitness workouts at home.
And there’s quite vivid competition in the opera world, I must admit, - another cause for taking care of yourself, as today to perform on the stage one needs not only vocal skills, but also good looks.
Besides that I like going to the theatres, museums, when I have time I read books.
— Do you have any iconic figures in the opera world?
Of course, I do – Anna Netrebko. She’s got marvelous voice, blazing disposition and she is a fabulously beautiful woman. I admire the talent of Romanian opera singer Angela Gheorghiu (soprano). I absolutely love Montserrat Caballé, Renée Fleming, Maria Callas. Listening to their records I proceed with developing of myself both technically and in musical terms.
I have two favourite tenors – they are Luciano Pavarotti and Plácido Domingo. I can listen to their voices endlessly.
— Are you employed at a particular theater?
No, in these terms I’m a “free-lance artist”. However, I may say I get many offers to perform on the part of theatres. For example, one of my recent large-scale performances was arranged at The Shanghai Grand Theatre. I performed soprano part in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony directed by a prominent director, a true genius, Daniel Oren. I have a performance in Germany planned with the famous Uruguay bass Erwin Schrott.
— What are your plans for future?
At the moment, I wish to improve my vocal technique. I wish I could sing flawlessly. I’m well aware perfectness knows no limits, but the ideal singing is what I’m striving for. I also would like to scale the heights of new theatres – not only in Russia, but by all means abroad too.
— What do you think helps you be of success?
My success formula is quite simple. If I work much, if I train and learn, have auditions, I will have certain output anyway sometime in the future.It might be bigger, it might be not, but it will. Nothing’s impossible!
I remember when I entered Lvov Conservatoire I had difficulties with remembering only one tiny vocalise– it took me a month to do. Recently I learnt Norina’s part from opera “Don Pasquale” (Donizetti) in two weeks.
I think without hard working I wouldn’t have achieved such results.
— Irina, do you have vacations?
Last time I had full-time vacation was some four years ago. Now I prefer spending time with my friends for resting, because I have no opportunities to postpone serious affairs for at least two weeks.
— Do you have pets?
Yes, a cat. To tell the truth he’s a member of the family who’s giving me much warmth and love.
— Do you follow fashion trends? Do you stick to particular style?
I’m the designer of half of my clothes and majour part of my performance dresses. And my friend who works at an atelier helps my implementing all my fashion ideas and desires. I draw sketches myself, choose fabric and, who knows, maybe sometime in the future I’ll create my own fashion line.
Frankly speaking, I don’t like going shopping – it takes too much time. I don’t like bright colours. I prefer solid colours and dark shades.
— Do you like flowers?
I like them very much! I love roses and tulips to bits… all flowers bring me joy and happiness.