Marianna Ginger talks about bidding farewell to Madame Butterfly and her friendship with Dorian Phoenix
Marianna Ginger, the Superb Opera Singer, welcome back. We thank you and congratulate you.
Yes, thank you, I thank you.
How have you been?
I am very good, very excited, very confused, very, how do you say, chaotique, it is very exciting.
Your Finale in the Palais Garnier is in just two days.
Yes, why should it be so exciting? I do not know. My friend, repose en paix, Everina Sandra, said to me once that the excitement of the debut is only second to the excitement of the finale, and that it is not logique but that is how it is. The farewell is difficult; the farewell is the gate of an artist to be seen through. When you bid a character farewell it is a true farewell, a separation, a goodbye.
In a goodbye there’s also, I guess, the desire to be remembered.
Yes, there is a double goodbye, a private goodbye from your character and also a goodbye from your crowd, and this second goodbye is in itself a double goodbye. Because it is both myself and my character that leave the crowd for the last time. There is something very, how do you say, révélateur in the finale performance.
How do you mean?
I mean that I allow myself to be seen more, to be seen through the character. It is a little uncomfortable to think about, because it happens when I do not intend it to happen. But I still allow it to happen.
What I wanted to say is that I know it will happen, but that it still overwhelms me. This is something I would never allow myself in a debut performance.
How would you like your current Madame b-fly to be remembered?
This is also double. I want the crowd to remember my performance, but I also want the character of the Madame to remember me. I want there to be Marianna Ginger in every Madame Butterfly in the future.
Much like there is part of you in every Floria Tosca, since you’ve taken this role in 2008.
Yes, of course, I believe that Tosca belongs to me as much as it belongs to Maria Callas. About Madame Butterfly, what I hope is that I opened a gate for future opera singers to be more ambivalent about her, to have more ambivalence inside her, to make her somewhat less trusting in a very delicate way. When I sing the line “Tutto questo avverrà” in the “Un bel di vedremo” aria these are the most desperate words in the opera for me. This is a moment that in my eyes I share with the crowd more than anything else. And I do not let them know what my character does not know.
In this line Madame Butterfly is convincing herself that Pinkerton will return, that love is true, that the world is a place of truth, while the character of Suzuki and the crowd know that she is very wrong. When I sing this line I let myself know that I am wrong. It is very delicate. That fact that I let myself know does not mean that I really know. But my Madame she has a bitter taste in her mouth when she sings these words. I tried to make it as visible as possible in this aria.
It all comes back to the line “e un po’ per non morire“. You have to believe in your fantasies, and even more than that, you have to somewhat impede them, so as not to die.
You speak Italiano?
No, I used a translator for that. You however speak seven languages.
Oh, I – it is not very accurate. I speak opera-languages. My knowledge of German and Italian for example is, how do you say, opera-related. I can understand what is said but I will not be comfortable in conversation, and it is languages that I learned for singing. My French is becoming better here in Paris but I know that when I leave here it will not last long.
Will you be leaving Paris after you bid the Palais Garnier farewell?
Yes, I will not stay long.
I will be in London for a short period.
Will you be staying in Camden?
I do not have to tell you where I stay.
British paparazzi seem to love you more than you’d like them to.
I do not understand what they want with me. This does not happen to me anywhere else in the world. Even in Italy, photographers are pleasant and they ask politely for a picture. There is respectability in the opera world with the photography and the publicity. But in London they are barbare.
Well you’re very beautiful and very famous and superb –
Oh thank you, I thank you –
So they’re obviously after you. You have a very compelling personality as well –
Oh, haha, very généreuse, thank you –
But curious that it happens to you in London significantly more than in other places, is it not?
I understand that when I am accompanied by someone like Dorian the rules change –
That’s Dorian Phoenix of course, RockStar and frontman of Rats at Dinner –
Yes, of course, he does not get a lot of rest from them, I cannot imagine what it is like to live like this every day –
Please tell of your, uhm, friendship with him.
He is a very curieux person and a very open person, I think he can hear music where people do not hear music at all. I always loved and I still love to take opera outside of its conservative borders, I do not think it must be, how do you say, obsolète. But I also do not think it is simple enough for everyone to understand.
So I think that people like Dorian are people who understand opera in a different way, in a newer way, and it is refreshing. It is also nice to hear other music with him, music that was hidden from my ears for many years.
Have you ever attended his concerts?
Oh, no, no, it is very difficult like this, there are no seats in these concerts. We listened one time to a band called Mansun and I liked it, he said this band influenced him and I do not really hear how, but influence in music is something mysterious. There is a song called ‘fallout’ that intrigued me. Very interesting.
Obviously the two of you are leading very different life styles.
No, not so much. Not so different that we cannot talk about music from time to time and that is it.
He is quite handsome though –
I do not see how this is relevant –
Voted sexiest man in Britain in 2015 and 2016 –
This is such absurdité, I do not care about these things, these lists, what of this remains in the history of the arts? Nothing.
You’re saying Rats at Dinner will leave no mark on music history?
What? How did I say that? I did not say this. This is it, I wish to end this interview –
I need to rest, I need to prepare myself, I cannot waste my time on such things, this is a burden to me.
But please, we’re eager to hear about your next project.
In this interview I wished to tell the public about my next project, but now I decided that I will not tell it here. I am not interested to tell it here. This is very yellow press. This is very fake news –
You pretend to talk with me about Madame Butterfly but it is not what you wish to talk about, toujours. This is very rude and irrespectueux. I wish to distance myself from such things.
What has angered you so much? You’re very used to the press and to the public interest in you.
I said I need to rest for my finale. It is very emotional burden now. My manager is calling me now.
Right. So sorry I upset you. That was not my intention. We wish you best of luck on your finale –
I do not need luck. Do not wish me luck.
Right. Then I congratulate you and admire you here and now.
Thank you. I thank you. Goodbye.