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Angela Gheorghiu (born Angela Burlacu) (born September 7, 1965) is a Romanian opera singer and one of the most famous and internationally acclaimed contemporary sopranos. Gheorghiu has a particular affinity for the operas of Verdi and Puccini, as well as the verismo school. She is also considered a great interpreter of French roles. She also performs and records the music of her native Romania, encompassing operatic, lieder, popular and Orthodox church music.
The daughter of a train driver, Gheorghiu (IPA: was born in Adjud, Romania. Along with her sister Elena, she sang opera music from a very early age. At age 14, Gheorghiu went to study singing at the Bucharest Music Academy, primarily under Mia Barbu. Her graduation in 1990 coincided with the overthrow of Nicolae Ceauºescu, enabling her to seek out an international career immediately. Her professional opera debut took place at the Cluj Opera as Mimì (La bohème) in 1990, the same year she won the Belvedere International Competition.
Gheorghiu made her international debut in 1992 at Covent Garden as Zerlina in Don Giovanni. She was offered Mimì in La bohème, a difficult role, but declined, preferring something less ambitious. She debuted at the Vienna State Opera as Adina in L'elisir d'amore and at the Metropolitan Opera as Mimi in La bohème.
In 1994, she was auditioned by the conductor Sir Georg Solti for a new production of La traviata. When he heard her, he said: "I was in tears. I had to go out. The girl is wonderful. She can do anything!". Her debut as Violetta led her to international stardom.
She records many albums and complete recordings and often appears on TV or in concerts. La traviata with Solti was watched by more than 1 million of people in the United Kingdom.
Gheorghiu has built her career slowly and carefully. She concentrates her repertoire in some roles with which she has great affinity: Violetta (La traviata), Mimì (La bohème), Magda (La rondine), Adina (L'elisir d'amore), Juliette (Roméo et Juliette) and some others. In 2003, she debuted as Nedda in Pagliacci and as Marguerite in Faust. A soprano with a large range and a dark coloured voice, Gheorghiu is also able to sing spinto roles. She has recorded Tosca (also made into a film directed by the French Benoît Jacquot) and Leonora in Il trovatore for EMI and sang in her first Tosca at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, in 2006. Her performance was an overall success, although because the famous Zeffirelli production of 1964 was replaced by a new production (which premiered with her), there was comparison between the Toscas of Gheorghiu and Maria Callas, for whom the Zeffirelli production was designed.
Divorced from her first husband, from whom she retained her surname, Gheorghiu married the French-Italian tenor Roberto Alagna in 1996. The couple have sung together often on stage and on studio recordings. She was recently chosen the 74th most beautiful woman in the world by the magazine FHM. Gheorghiu is noted for her voice, her rare musicianship and the deep and intense portrayals of her characters.