All Ears On: Walter Werzowa


What defines Beethoven for me
is the internal force and the innate quality
of being himself and not being
a conventional artist. He’s one of the first artists
that had such immense individuality because everybody at that time
had to obey conventions and he didn’t want to do that. You can feel in his music
that he was leaping forward so much also because of that
– because he felt things, I would describe them as voices, but he followed them. And this defines an artist: when you follow your own voices,
your own instinct and your own force. Obviously I am a singer, so… the opera Fidelio
is an amazing work and I’ve never sang Florestan, but I will be singing
in one of the concerts in the future. I will be singing in the Aria,
which is a big scene. It’s not a very
conventional Aria for the time. And this is also
the magic of Beethoven; that he was able to
innovate many musical pieces. And this is one of them. It also demonstrates the mastery of Beethoven’s writing
for the voice. It is a pity he didn’t write
many operas, just one. We would have liked
a little bit more operas, but we are happy with that one. Well, my journey in music
has started with pop music. I was singing
and playing the guitar. When I entered
the conservatory in Lima, one of the first songs I learned – and it is a very beautiful
but also difficult song – wasAdelaideby Beethoven. And for me, it was a discovery because it’s an eight-minute song, but full of variations. It starts low, then it gets a little bit
more fiery, like Beethoven style. For me, it is something
that I still sing, not a lot — but I will because now
the Beethoven celebrations are coming and I’m very much
looking forward to singing it again. What a wonderful beginning
because it’s all one big melody, so you have to take a breath,
otherwise you will die. I think Vienna was the city of music
and it still is the city of music. This is the same reason
why I wanted to move to Vienna. I also wanted
my kids to be musicians. Of course, I’m not
forcing them to be musicians, but if they want to be musicians,
this is the right city. Music improves the lives of kids
and makes them better at everything. So, this is the city to live in if you
are close to music or if you love music. I started singing here
when I was probably 25. I did a big opera in the Konzerthaus. It was a concert version,
but not Beethoven’s. It was Rossini. Then I started to sing in the opera
when I didIl Barbiere di Sivigliafor the first time in 1999. So, it started like that. I got married in Vienna. I think Vienna welcomes musicians,
respects musicians and tolerates musicians in their different
crazinesses or facets. Beethoven is a clear example of somebody
who had a difficult personality, but he was welcomed here
and allowed to work. I can also see it in Vienna: they love different kinds
of musicians with their own individualities. This is one of the few cities,
maybe the only one, that still loves artists, even when they are in
decline or they are very old. And they come and the theatres
or concert houses are filled because they still love them, they haven’t left them,
even if they are not in their prime. This also shows how Vienna
respects and loves their artists. So many times
I’ve sang a performance where I say
“Oh, this was not good at all.” I was…
I want to say the word, but– I was not good. And then everybody is talking
about the performance and “You were great.” and “This was the
highlight of the season.” or whatever. I remember recently,
I sangIl Barbiere di Siviglia. Maybe the people also felt
that I wasn’t in top shape, but they like you anyway,
they understand you, they feel you. This is something magical about Vienna.

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