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Singing Is Her Destiny

The name of Margareta Ivanus – People’s Artist of the Republic of Moldova, Holder of Grand Prix of the Golden Chrysanthemum Festival – is well known not only in our country but also far abroad. For over thirty years she has proved to be a versatile singer performing successfully both classical music and pop songs. Her natural gift is to join together genres which are typically thought to be unconnected into her own unique style, and with her skill of melding “serious” and “light” music, her performing manner is always original and easy to distinguish. Margareta Ivanus always steps on the stage smiling, bringing the warmth of her soul to the audience, and her beautiful performances guarantee an unforgettable occasion.

Welcome: What is the secret of youth, to your mind? You have been performing for more than thirty years, but you are still slim, young and beautiful!

A: Thank you for your nice words. The most important thing for me is my love of the audience, who come to forget about the hardships of life and to receive a charge of vivacity. That is why I greet the audience with a smile and open soul. First of all, you must show your love for the people who have come to your concert – only then can you expect applause from them. Young performers come to the stage, straight away requiring applause, not making any efforts and mime instead of singing live. The stage is always hard work: you must dress impeccably so that it is pleasant to look at you, and you must make the effort to include more and more new songs in your repertoire.

How do you manage to stay so slim?

I’ve gone in for sports all my life. In Romania I even became a junior light athletics champion. In Belarus I was a champion in the double-event. Sports help me to keep my youth and enable me to work actively in the hardest circumstances.

Romania and Belarus: what is the relation between you and these countries?

My father is from Romania, but it so happened that he remained alone and was brought up in the Kremlin as an adopted son of Nadejda Crupskaya. In the 1920s everyone lived in the way of the commune. The government of the Soviet Union consisted of the people who had been in exile and in the jails of the Tsarist guards. They were very unpretentious. Each family had one or two rooms. They ate mostly in the cafeteria. There was only one common kitchen. They lived modestly in peace and friendship. Besides their own children, each family had one adopted child who was educated as their own child. The children went to school and played in the Kremlin. My father often told me about his interesting childhood. He learned to play cello. He sang and was good at drawing and writing. He was an outstanding person. I loved him very much. We started singing with him when I was five years old. My love for music is his achievement.

Did you live for some time in the Kremlin too?

Life in the Kremlin was good enough before Stalin came and sent almost all residents of the Kremlin to the labor camps for nothing. So, in 1937 my father was sent to Kolyma where he spent more than ten years with the most outstanding and educated people of his time. There he met my mother who was teacher and headmistress at the settlement. They got married and had three children. Later my father was rehabilitated. My parents experienced very beautiful, but hard love. They had to overcome a lot of difficulties. In 1952, the family moved to Belarus, Gomel, where I went to the kindergarten, and then graduated four classes.

You speak and sing nice Romanian. Where did you study it?

In 1958, after a long search, my father found his grandmother in Brasov (Romania) and we went there with all my family. I had not known any Romanian words, but half a year later I was fluent in communicating with children and spoke Romanian at school. I have had an aptitude for languages since my childhood. At present I perform songs in Romanian, Greek and Turkish. I find it pleasant to study.

If you had not become a singer, you would probably have been a good translator.

I have liked studying languages since my childhood. It was easy for me, while others had to work hard at it for years. I also wanted to become a teacher of primary classes like my mother, but I gave all my love for teaching to my daughters, Lena and Olga – and now, of course, to my grandson, Bogdan. Lena graduated from the Institute of Arts. Now she is a post-graduate student at Department of Law. My younger daughter Olga sings and writes poems. So, I consider that my pedagogical talent did not disappear, but helped me to educate my beautiful children.

Where did you study?

I was about fourteen when we returned to Belarus, and there I finished school and entered the Vocal Department in the Music School of Gomel. At the high school I always participated in amateur acting activities. I was invited to the Philharmonic Society of Herson, but I refused, since I considered that I had to polish and to train the voice given to me by nature, so I enrolled in the Music School of Gomel instead.

Some say that student years are the most interesting ones in life. Do you share this opinion?

I was young and I treated all difficulties as an integral part of life. By nature I am an optimist. I find something good in everything and I never complain. In the school I met my future husband, Ghenadii Kulikov. We sang as a duet at the concerts in the village clubs and at the parties. My soprano and his lyrical tenor merge nicely in the romances and songs. We liked going on tours, loved to sing, loved to see the faces of the people coming to the concerts and to catch in their eyes the reflection of emotions caused by the song.

You are a beautiful woman. Hundreds of fans are near you. Wasn’t your husband jealous of you?

Most of all I appreciate fidelity, reliability and understanding in men. I am lucky having such a husband. He loves only me and he is a great family man. But I think that jealousy appears only in those men who are not confident of themselves and their beloved. But we always loved each other, sharing misfortunes and happiness. Jealousy separates loving hearts, kills love. In 1971, we graduated with honors from the Musical School of Gomel and performed with the vocal-instrumental ensemble of the local philharmonic society.

Why did you come to Chisinau?

My father had to move to live in Romania. My mother came after him but always missed me and her granddaughter (my husband and I had already our daughter Lena). My mother wanted very much that we would come to live somewhere near her. My friends told me that in Chisinau “Joc” announced the vacancy for a singer and I decided to try.

You must be a very venturesome person. Having no acquaintances, you went to try to get a vacancy in an unknown city!!!

As I said, I am an optimist by nature. I believe only in good. Maybe that is why I’ve been lucky to find good people in my life. At the vacancy audition for the singer for the ensemble “Joc”, my commission examiners were Director of Philharmonic Society Mihail Murzan, Director of the Chore Cappella “Doina”, Veronica Garstea, and the artistic director of the ensemble “Joc” Vladimir Curbet. They were lovely people who welcomed me very warmly. So I got in “Joc”. The orchestra conductor was a nice and talented person, Isidor Burdin. Every artist has his own stage father, and for me it was Isidor Burdin. I was enthusiastic working on my program.

At that time, “Joc” traveled on tour not only to all republics of the former Soviet Union but also to the countries of Western Europe. But here destiny had a shock in store for me: I was refused permission to cross the border, since my relatives lived in Romania. To my great regret, I had to leave “Joc”.

Didn’t you have a nervous stress about that? Happiness was so possible and then…

I felt that I had been hurt unfairly, but I pulled myself together. After I left “Joc”, I started working with children. It was like a balm on the soul. I tried to cooperate with the Union of Composers of Moldova, and got acquainted with many of them.

What composer played the greatest role in your life?

Eugen Doga. And again destiny helped me: Isidor Burdin, who knew Eugen Doga very well, recommended me for the film “I want to sing”. Svetlana Toma starred in the leading part, for which Grigorie Grigoriu and I had to sing. Eugen Doga had to leave for Moscow for film dubbing in two days, but he did not have a singer. And so I turned up and I had to learn twelve songs in two days! It was incredibly difficult. My husband helped me a lot. He built my confidence, reassuring me that I was talented and would definitely succeed. And in fact, I recorded all songs by Eugen Doga in Moscow. That is how our cooperation started.

Why do you love the songs by Eugen Doga?

First of all for the strong lyrics. When you sing his songs, you think that you are the most beautiful and strongest person in the world. And even if the song is about unhappy love its grief is bright and it suits the innate optimism in me.

After my work with Eugen Doga, I worked with other composers such as Zagorsky, Mustei, Rusnac, Sakiriansky, Negruzzi, and Kozulina. But the songs of Eugen Doga became a peculiar talisman for me. All his songs usually arouse a storm of emotions in the auditorium. The appeal of Eugen Doga’s music helped me to establish myself on the pop stage and assert myself in my vocation.

Life has given you the chance to meet many interesting stars, hasn’t it?

When I lived with my parents in Bucharest, the famous Romanian artist, Florin Persic passed by the house we lived in. Later in Chisinau I got acquainted with him closer. Also I had a unique chance to work with Natasha Fateeva, Emmanuil Vitorgan, Valentina Titova, Dmitrii Haratean, Clara Novikova, Lidia Smirnova, Nikolai Kriuchkov and many others. Meeting so many masters was a great education for me and gave me the opportunity to grow.

Do you consider your way to have been full of hardships or has it been covered with roses?

Roses have thorns. When we were young, our living conditions were awful. My husband, two daughters and I lived in one room of a hostel. My daughter was only two months when Eugen Doga offered me the chance to participate in the concert in Leningrad with the orchestra conducted by Anatoly Badhen. I went with my little child. I ran from the rehearsal to feed her and then to the concert. Anatoly Badhen appreciated my efforts and selflessness. We became close friends. Later he came to Moldova and went with the concerts throughout the republic. It was spring, the cars with equipment and microphones got stuck and they could not be pulled out. Two thousand people were waiting for us at the construction of the metallurgic works of Ribnita. Many artists refused to sing without microphones, but I sang from the heart and I was absolutely happy.

Today many performers do not sing live on stage. Is this acceptable for you?

I have never mimed. It means to deceive people. I recognize only live performance.

There are classics, operetta, pop, and romances in your repertoire. What do you like most?

I love to sing romances. I feel it in all my being. It seems to me that the romance can also alleviate grief. After you’ve listened to these heartfelt words and music, you’ll believe that life isn’t over yet and there is hope for future. I love the romances with the words of Mihai Eminescu. For me his name is eternal and it fills me with great emotion. I think that Eminescu is an integral part of each Moldovan. He makes everyone strive for the beautiful – the rebellious singer whose relentless, flaming words could mean the most pitiless essence of the social and political events of the epoch. And of course, most of all, he was an unsurpassed poet and wrote lyric of the greatest artistic and philosophical merit.

Who are your idols besides Mihai Eminescu?

All my life I have admired our outstanding Maria Biesu. This artist has a marvelous voice given by nature and an amazing capacity for work. She has been holding her famous festivals “Maria Bieshu invites” for ten years, to which the best opera singers come from all the countries of the world.

Does your stage image coincide with your lifestyle?

Yes, it does. Both in my life and on the stage I try to be good to people. And I sing songs mostly about beauty and love. I appreciate a person’s inner beauty person more than their physical appearance.

What qualities do you consider important in your character?

Sense of humor, optimism. I never forgive disrespectful attitude towards the audience. I cannot stand mediocrity. My fans make me work each year more and more, but I have power. It is important to be confident in yourself and then you will succeed.

How do you take a rest after tours and concerts?

I like nature very much. I love to have a rest in the countryside.

W: Welcome magazine and its readers would like to wish you good luck in all your creative undertakings.

Ludmila Mamaliga
Translated by Vlada Popushoi

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