Natalya Romaniw to make Royal Opera debut

Natalya Romaniw makes her Royal Opera debut in the title role of Tosca this coming week. It may be a daunting prospect for any singer but the Swansea-born soprano feels the time is right and says she is more excited than nervous.

“I used to watch performances at Covent Garden when I was a student at the Guildhall, and it is a big journey from being in the Amphitheatre to performing on the stage. Yes, it is very important for me. But I’m more excited than nervous. I feel very much at home. It is a beautiful production and not too large a jump for me.”

That has been helped by having stood in for Angela Gheorghiu in rehearsals at Covent Garden in February, when she was covering the great Puccini role. “That means I am familiar with the costumes and the staging. I sang the whole of Act Two. I have also seen the production from Covent Garden with Bryn Terfel singing Scarpia on television. I could not have thought I would be singing Tosca there one day.”

After study and early experience in the UK Natalya was signed by Houston Grand Opera for two years, where she has recently worked again in Poulenc’s Dialogue of the Carmelites. “I can remember asking the librarian at Houston for a score of Tosca when I was there, but then it really was just a dream to be singing the role at Covent Garden.” It was also not necessarily the role she might have expected to make her debut. It was while singing Cio Cio San in Butterfly at English National Opera just before Covid dropped the curtain on live performances that Natalya was “seen” by the Royal Opera opening the door to the Tosca debut. The other reason the performances are important is that other opera houses will see the performances as they too consider who to book. Natalya says she will be in Paris in January auditioning, and is already scheduled to sing Tosca in Hamburg. Recently, Natalya stepped in to sing in Frankfurt, making an unexpected debut. “It was lovely, because it gave a real boost for me before Covent Garden.”

She is also delighted with performances in the late autumn of Verdi’s Requiem with Sir Mark Elder and The Hallé .“I really enjoyed the Verdi Requiem. It was not something I have sung and I surprised myself. I have not sung very much Verdi although I did sing Alice in Falstaff at Grange Park Opera. When I agreed to sing the Requiem, I thought to myself, this will be a disaster, this will be when they will finally catch me out. But I am really happy how it went, the greatest opera never written, and I have quite a few more bookings in the diary. Mark is a good friend and has mentored me with Tosca.“

With her own important work at English National Opera, Natalya says it is very sad and worrying that the company is losing its is Arts Council of England funding. “It’s been very important for me with Mimi, Tosca, Butterfly, in fact, all my Puccini roles. I have good friends here now and I feel very upset about what’s happened. ENO also has a lot of loyalty from people. Some people come back who could work elsewhere but choose to work with them. It has given great opportunities for British singers and it has been where we really should see the best of British talent.”

During Covid Natalya took the decision to embrace a better eating and exercise regime. “I am carrying on, making sure that I’m looking after my fitness. I’m quite good with my eating and drinking and keeping up exercise. It is also very much part of my mental health fitness – but I do allow myself a bit of a splurge!”

Natalya sings Tosca at the Royal Opera on December 12, 15, 18, 21

For more informtion and tickets:

Main image: Natalya singing Tosca with ENO

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: