An exquisite interview

Soprano, Eugenia Dushina. A shining opera star from Russia!

Soprano, Eugenia Dushina. A name in opera scene that will definitely leave her legacy behind, not only for her unique and powerful lyric voice, but also for her noble Russian beauty and for her charming personality that are so evident on every performance of her on the stage. A true Lady that knows what she wants from life, knows how to live to the fullest and has the courage to fight for her dreams for reaching her personal fulfilment and happiness through her Art. By following her heart, she embarked on her own life journey that lead her to move away from her beloved home-land Russia to the heart of Europe, where the heart of classical music beats, in aristocratic Vienna for launching her own international career. And she made it with a tremendous success!

It was both a pleasure and honour for me to have this interview with her, and I thank her wholeheartedly for this, because it was actually more than an interview but rather a genuine dialogue between two women, where traits of her delicate personality and of her interesting life journey were beautifully revealed as never before.

M.S. What factors or life events played decisive role for pursuing opera studies and choosing the bath for becoming an opera singer?

Have you been raised and born in a music family? Or have you noticed from an early age (or maybe your parents or music teachers) your own singing talent? 

E.D.: Well, my family was a very simple Soviet family- my father was in this moment a military and my mother was an engineer in chemistry technologies. They both liked music but never did it professionally, even though that playing piano was a dream of my mother☺.

My mother of course noticed that I like to sing and learning the songs very fast   and also that I like to perform it in front of others  so when I was 4 years old she brought me to a very famous Moscow choir school, namely “Spring”, where I started my professional touch with music as a small singer  I was also playing flute…and…dreaming about piano . 

So in the age of 6, I was already in another Music school #1 named after Sergej Prokofiev, where I started as a pianist. And when I was 7, I competed to the children choir of Bolshoi Theater, where I’ve got my place and was singing there in operas- like for example the “Queen of Spades” of Tchaikovsky. 

I liked to sing a lot and even learning a poetry by heart was much easier if I could find a romance, written on this poetry . 

And at the age of 13, I started professional solo lessons, as well at my 15 years old I was already in the Music college of Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory, and at the age of 17 I was the student of Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory, which is very early (I was the second singer student who is studying opera singing so early in this University).

M.S.: Which role or roles from your own repertoire so far, you love the most, in the sense that inspires you
and you feel them closer to your own personality, as Eugenia?

E.D.: It’s a very difficult question for me! I love each role that I’m doing in this certain moment. When I’m learning a new piece, I’m going very, very deep in the character and the structure of emotions of my hero- it’s always very interesting and it makes you love your role!!! Now I’m learning Madame Butterfly and Tosca- that are dream roles for many sopranos…So now I’m really very, very much in love with them♥♥♥!!!!!!

I like also some extraordinary roles- as for example Marietta from “Die Tote Stadt” of Korngold, it ‘s interesting to sing an opera and at the same moment to play the role of the dancer  isn’t it exciting?  

I like also Operette- there I can also be a little bit a theatrical actor with plenty of dialogues  

I love as well Nedda, Violetta Valery, Manon….Oh I can speak without any end about the roles….

M.S.: Could you name us any fellow soprano or mezzosoprano you admire? 

E.D.: My loveliest Soprano forever is Maria Callas!!!!!! This is not just a singer- this is ART!!! But it’s already  a past… as well as my loveliest Mezzo- Irina Arkhipova…

Speaking about nowadays there are plenty of wonderful singers on our opera market  

One of my loveliest nowadays is Angela Gheorghiu as Soprano and Elina Garanca as mezzo…

M.S.: How did you make the decision for moving from your beloved home-country, Russia, to Vienna, the famous capital of music for launching a new phase in your professional career? And why Vienna and not any other major city in the world?

E.D.: I was always afraid of working only in one country and this is actually a problem of Russian market, it’s hard to be in touch with the rest of the world when you are so far away from it… and flexibility is not so good also because of the visas… It was difficult to decide, but I understood that it’s not enough space for me there in Russia, it’s too crowdy and too less air for me. I wanted to try myself in Europe, to learn new languages and new roles, to meet new people and new point of views, to learn new styles, to try the possibility of following the bath of an international career. I choose Vienna, cause this is the international music capital, cause from every hall you can hear the music every day!!! And I was in love with this city also before I’ve started to live here permanently- it is enough calm and enough active, it’s so comfortable and unique, so clean and friendly!!! This city is the best place to live for me!!!

M.S.: Was it an easy process for you to be familiarized with Vienna opera scene and Viennese lifestyle?

E.D.: You know dear Maria, I can say that I’m a very lucky person! I meet on my path very good people!!! Open-hearted and doing their art with big passion!!! All people I’ve met were trying to help me and I received as a big present – wonderful friends! After 4 years of living here, I’m not feeling alone, although my family is in Russia…

I feel myself very secure and happy!!!) 

And I think it’s the most important for the artist! 

I have interesting jobs, concerts, I have a perspective of growing further and I do my best to make my art on the high note!!!!☺️

M.S.: What are your favourite places and habits in the city of Vienna?

E.D.: Ah  again a very difficult question, like with the roles)))) 

I love beautiful gardens of Vienna (this year Vienna received the first place as the most green city in Europe)!!! 

This gardens are unique- in each time of the year they are beautiful and full of different flowers!!! It’s a big work from the side of the city government, big thanks for that!!!!

I love the whole old city, with amazing palaces and villas!!! 

I love also a very special place in Vienna, the place where the city merged with nature- Kahlenberg and Leopoldsberg- it’s not very often, that you can be practically in wild nature within the city! 

It was a loveliest path of Beethoven, who was walking around the wineyards to the mountain and then back…after the long walk you sit in small „ Heuriger“ small house restaurant where you can drink cold young wine and to eat some very simple but amazingly tasty food!!! 

And of course, Cafés of Vienna with wonderful Melange coffee and amount of desserts .

M.S.: Being an internationally acclaimed soprano is a quite demanding profession, that demands a lot of commitment and time, is it?
Does it remain any spare time at all for you and your beloved one? 
If yes, what do you enjoy doing? Do you have any hobbies?

E.D.: To build a career is very demanding in every profession! 

For me as a freelancer it’s even more demanding cause we travel a lot, we have our opera productions in different countries and for quite long period of time- 2 months- it’s the rehearsal time and the shows themselves…Sometimes I have no time between the contracts, so I have to prepare myself for the next project during I sing the performances of the previous one project…It’s complicated for the head  but I love my profession so much that I’m not suffering I swim in this opera ocean with big pleasure!!!!!

I always miss my family and friends and that’s why I’m so happy when they can come and visit me, during rehearsals or at the premiere, than I can be finally totally happy- and after a successful premiere go out to celebrate with them!!! I thank God till that moment it was often like that!!! I hope in the future it would be the same! 

About hobbies: I love sport and yoga- so I’m trying to run for example everywhere I stay and to walk around a lot! Practicing yoga is giving me the possibility to recover after difficult and dramatic roles, to concentrate on myself and to collect new energy!!! It also gives me a lot of power and a very sharp look! 

I love as well to visit museums- watching beautiful works of art bringing so much inspiration and helps also to create new features of my opera heroes!!!

I love to watch films, especially at the cinema, and especially in the original language!!! 

I love to visit ballet- it’s so beautiful and so touching!!!

And I love to listen symphonic and chamber concerts! I can choose very different programs it depends on my certain mood

M.S.: What countries or cities in the world you love or would like to visit again? And why?

E.D.: It’s so difficult so say!!! There are too many places to write about))) I can read a big book about it))))

But ok- I try to… 

I love very much several places, where I have a very special feelings, it’s like the energy of the place and you are in a full harmony… 

It’s north city Bergen in Norway- with amazing nature- wild, free and beautiful!!! 

It’s Paris- I think I can live in Paris- its beauty and charm, amazing kitchen which I love so much and romantic atmosphere because of French language, which I love as well!!!

It’s Athens- because of its ancient charm, because of wonderful, friendly and very sincere people full of hospitality, because of the sea and food!!!!!! I love all that Greeks are cooking.

I would put here of course my native Moscow- it’s a super megapolis with a very special business atmosphere and a lot of possibilities!!! Wonderful restaurant locations full of style and interiors!!!! and plenty of musical events!!! 

M.S.: What do you appreciate more in life and in people? 

E.D.: I appreciate life as it is, first of all!!! Every day, every moment, every experience in our life is special!!! I would say that I appreciate the pricelessness of the life with all its happiness and sorrows… 

In people I appreciate of course kindness and heartiness…I appreciate people who love the occupation of their life- it doesn’t matter which one, just that they are with full heart in it. I appreciate people who read books and listening good music, watching good films…(who love art in any manifestation)… I appreciate people who cares about friendship, relationships and their families! And I appreciate people who are fighters just like me!!!

M.S.: What is more important for you, your career in opera or making your own family? Or it is a way out for balancing both?

E.D.: This idea is changing on different stages of life!

Now I’m in the chapter where the career is more important for me… and I choose this idea by myself, I just understood that for now the stage and opera making me feel amazingly happy.

M.S.: How will you describe yourself? What do you love about your character and what trait would you like to change (if any)?

E.D.: It’s actually difficult to describe yourself, but I will try to do it with the eyes of other people))

I’m a confident woman with a strong character, that’s why I could move to live in the country where I was alone. I love my job!!! I love the art!!! I’m the fighter!!! I try to be helpful to all people, I try to bring beauty in this world, also in personal relationships!!! I see the world sometimes in pink sunglasses but it helps me to stay always positive!!! Yes, I’m positive and trying to find something good even in a bad situation…

I think that I’m rather kind…and I know what I want, when I see the purpose I go to it!!!

Sometimes I can be egoistic and that is the thing I am working about, I try to listen more than to speak!!! 

I have always been very impetuous and emotional and I don’t like this feature, it can be harmful in any kind of relationships!!! That’s why I’m trying to find more harmony.

M.S.: What are your dreams for your future, as a modern woman and as an internationally acclaimed soprano? 

How do you see yourself in about five years from now?

E.D.: My dream is to perform as many roles from the operatic repertoire  as possible and to make a step on the biggest opera stages with the most successful roles…that is my plan! And of course, I want still to be happy and live in harmony with my heart!!!

M.S.: For which things, collaborations and people in life, you are thankful for?

E.D.: I’m actually thankful for each collaboration in my life, cause all people bringing us something! They are bringing us experience…I think that as more communication we have, more wisdom we get! But as I’ve told already is, that I’m quite lucky meeting wonderful people on my way!!! I’m thankful for my wonderful parents and sister, my grandparents, all my family, for my friends, for colleagues, for my teachers in Russia and here in Vienna, I’m thankful for my audience, people who love my voice and my performances…and of course I’m thankful for every connection in our not easy profession who are believing in me and giving me a chance to show my art on the stage!!!!

M.S.: Do you feel happy and fulfilled with your decisions, achievements and your own life journey so far?

E.D.: Yes. No doubt. The only thing I would change is that I would move to Vienna earlier… but the long way to my career was very conscious! On this way I understood that music and theater is my life and the only one way to be a happy person!!! The thing is that I try not to compare my life with others, I’m going my way and that’s why I feel very fulfilled with my achievements, for others it can be not so big achievements, but only I know what I’ve done for them, and keep going forward…Only forward!!!!!!

M.S.: What kind of piece of advice would you like to give to young people who are interested to pursue an opera career as you? 

E.D.: I will say, if you love it as much as I do- go for it!!!!!!!!!!! Go to your dream!!!!!!!!!! And of course they have to know that it’s a very hard work, you have to be very patient and hardworking…This art world doesn’t give you any possibility for a mistake… It’s a very beautiful but sometimes very rude world…Sometimes very unfair…

From the other side I can say that we, as artists, have the best profession in the world- We fulfil it with harmony, beauty and music and to do this job is the greatest happiness!!!

M.S.: What message would you like to send to the world at this difficult moment we are all going through with COVID-19? 

E.D.: Now the situation is much better than a month before, but still it’s a very difficult time for every country in this world…The thing is that the world before that shut down was already so crazy that God sent us that big pause- to think about our souls, about our lives, about people who are surrounding us, to be responsive to the others (to help others), to take a look on what is done and what has to be done in the future… 

The main thing is that every crisis is a new start, so I hope that now our better world will begin to do something very special, cause we went through it and it was awful…

We can do our world better and kinder!!! I’m sure!!!

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