Soprano Hibla Gerzmava bringing encore performance to Israel

The internationally renowned coloratura soprano-singer, returns to Israel for a single concert as part of her world tour.

Soprano Hibla Gerzmava  bringing encore performance to Israel (photo credit: IRINA POLYARNAYA)
Soprano Hibla Gerzmava bringing encore performance to Israel
(photo credit: IRINA POLYARNAYA)
The program features her favorite opera arias as well as Russian romances.
An internationally acclaimed singer, the Abkhazian-born performer appears on the world’s best stages, singing both liturgical and secular music with a majestic style all her own.
Armed with a voice that is warm and emotionally charged, Gerzmava performs music of many genres from J.S. Bach to operatic arias by Mozart, Donizetti Puccini, Richard Strauss and, of course, Russian romances and Abkhazian songs.
In a phone interview from her Moscow home Gerzmava says that as much as she associates herself with Italian Belcanto music style, for her there’s no such a thing as a favorite repertoire.
“I love everything I do on stage, this is what counts. I am a very lucky and happy person, because all my life I’ve been doing what I always wanted to do,” she says.
“My voice is changing over the years and I am following it. There are different periods of life and all of them are important. I grow up, I change, I develop as a personality. Everything changes. Our understanding of life and of the taste of life become more profound. We are getting more mature and it reflects in the way we sing. This is all about one’s personal development. Twenty years ago I performed a slightly different repertoire. That said, there still are pieces, which will stay in my repertoire forever. But again, doing everything with love and singing with a beautiful sound is essential.”
Gerzmava accentuates that classical music is an elitist art form, “which calls for an impeccable taste and demands from a performer the ability of presenting to the audience the essence of music pieces and keeping the style. I believe that it comes with upbringing.”
The singer, who was born in a resort town of Pitsunda in Abkhazia, says that she is immensely grateful to her parents, to whom she owes her many personal gifts, such as “realization of my roots, which give me a sense of stability and of my place in this world, the backbone, which is so important for an artist and not only, the respect to the elders and much more.”
Asked about her identity in the global village of today, she says that she is a Russian singer with Abkhazian background, who is proud to also belong to the bigger world.
Singing is in the center of Gerzmava’s universe, but she had started her music studies in her native town as a pianist.
“I was 17 when my piano tutor heard me singing and just brought me to a vocal teacher. Later, I studied at the Moscow Conservatory and then in Italy, trying to take the best from all my teachers and I keep learning all the time. And I see myself very fortunate for having started as a pianist. It still helps me – I believe that phrasing of a vocalist, who plays a music instrument is a bit different.”
 It is well-known that directorial approach in some modern operatic productions might by controversial, to say the least. How does she feel about it?
“I was lucky. God obviously protects me from productions in which I would be unable to sing and breathe. For me, singing without being myself would be impossible.”
Gerzmava confides that she is happy to return to sing in Israel.
“For me, this is a very special land and I dream of visiting Jerusalem and other places that are so important for me. I know how to pray, too. This is the God that gives us voice.”
Hibla Gerzmava will be accompanied by pianist Ekaterina Ganelina, her music partner for almost 30 years. The two will perform pieces from Russian and Italian composers on Saturday, January 25, at 8 p.m. at the Zucker Hall, Charles Bronfman Auditorium, Huberman St. 1, Tel Aviv.