This past Thursday night, Russian could be heard echoing through the halls of IAB. This was not a simple run-of-the-mill discussion on the Cold War or the Russian geopolitical threat. It was something much classier! Up and coming opera sensation, Anita Rachvelishvili, was there to discuss her life and what it’s like to be a star. We sent Bwog’s very own opera enthusiast, Claire Friedman, to work on hitting her high C#.
When I first sat down, I had a split-second “what have you gotten yourself into?” moment. The room – a poorly labeled IAB conference room that took me an embarrassingly long time to find – was filled with glamorous people all speaking Russian. Probably the youngest person present by at least ten years, I took my seat next to a woman who looked to be the carbon copy of Jamie Lee Curtis in Freaky Friday.
Anita Rachvelishvili herself is exactly as divalicious as one would expect. With dark hair and bright red lipstick, I could easily imagine her belting out Carmen on the Met stage. But Anita has much more than the hair of a Disney villain. Her voice is so spectacular that she is one of the youngest opera singers to ever take on the role of Carmen. However, youthful vigor can come with drawbacks. Rachvelishvili says that she plans to stay with Carmen for a couple of years because her voice is not yet mature enough for other roles.
Anita’s rise to operatic fame started at the age of seventeen. Born in Georgia and coming from a musically inclined family (her father was a composer, her mother a singer and ballerina), Anita has been singing her whole life. Surprisingly, though, Anita wasn’t originally interested in singing opera; instead, she spent the formative years of her life obsessed with rock music. Led Zeppelin, she says, is still her go-to music choice. When Anita turned seventeen, her father brought her to her first opera lesson. Like nothing she’d ever heard before, Georgian opera instantly enchanted Anita. Within months, she was well on her way to becoming an opera star.