Olana Tokar performs extremely difficult Mozart-arias in Budapest. The young Ukranian soprano says that while singing these arias you have to be playful and joyful. The concerts at the Music Academy will be conducted by Gábor Takács-Nagy with whom it is very inspiring to work. Interview.
You will sing together with the Budapest Festival Orchestra in Budapest soon. How are you preparing for this concert?
Olena Tokar: This performance in Budapest and the acquaintance with the orchestra is a great gift from the Lord to me. I first came to this amazing country two years ago and was taken aback by the warmth and openness of the Hungarian people. This will be my first performance in Budapest, and I am delighted to have been invited by this star of the international music scene, Gábor Takács-Nagy. We first performed Mozart together a few years ago. I really love to sing Mozart, so the preparation for this concert was very enjoyable but thorough. I prepared with some singing classes with my teacher and a pianist. Mozart requires a lot of attention as his music does not allow you to hide behind your emotions.
As I learned, these Mozart pieces are the most difficult ones to sing, especially the „Bella mia fiamma”. According to the legend, Mozart composed it locked into a room by Josepha Duschek, forced to compose an aria for her. He took revenge by writing an almost unsingable piece. Wasn’t this frightening for you?
O. T.: Mozart was a great connoisseur of compositions for the voice, so performing any of his works is always difficult. As for “unsingable”, Mozart’s music is strong, but it also soothes the voice.
What does a singer have to know to perform Mozart? Is there any special need from the voice or the personality?
O.T.: As a young singer, I learned that Mozart’s music cannot be forced, it must be playful. One must imagine what the composer was thinking when he created this work. The voice should sparkle with joy and your mood should come through.
I was told that your voice and your tessitura is especially fitting to the Mozart arias. What does this mean?
O.T.: This means that my voice has a certain character. Of course, I cannot perform all of Mozart’s concert arias, but those that we have chosen for these concerts open my voice to his music!
You have performed together with the conductor Gábor Takács-Nagy several times. He is an enthusiastic conductor. Does it help you, or it does not make any difference?
O.T.: The conductor plays an important role in any concert, but to work with Gábor is a great success for me. His enthusiasm, knowledge, musicality, and especially his interpretation inspires me, and I see myself growing from the very first rehearsal. Music is an interaction between musicians – in this case, between conductor, singer, and orchestra. It’s magic. And with Gábor, Mozart’s magic really comes alive.