Acclaimed, yes; goal achieved, no (July 2006)

On the opera stages of Europe, you are currently feted as the absolute Strauss-Diva. Have you achieved your goal?

No, I haven’t! My goals actually change each day and match my life at any given time. I never know where it is taking me. Life changes constantly, and I feel I am developing all the time. You can’t plan everything. Every day I am ready to tackle a pile of tasks and consider them my life’s work, but I remain very curious and eager about the new things happening to me.

Famous conductors like Maazel, Chailly and Levine are falling over themselves for you…

Well of course they are all marvellous conductors. I love working with people who are famous and show why they have every right to be. But also on my wish-list are those who conduct in smaller and more middle-sized houses. If they are not so well known, there are always surprises and the chance for new interpretations.

As a soprano much in demand, you received the ‘Singer of the Year’ award from Opernwelt magazine in 2002. What did such an honour mean to you?

Well, first of all I had no idea such an award existed! In general, I always wanted to distance myself from the stress of competitions and had only entered them three times, winning prizes. I never gave any thought to a distinction like this. Its meaning soon struck me: your name is on every tongue, you have a higher rating and are automatically better known. All in all, it was a very good promotion for me. I’m happy that I didn’t have to strive extra hard for it, because in the end it was also a matter of good fortune that, during that period, I had been able to do such good work and so prove myself.

Extract from an interview with Anne Schwanewilms in Successity, Community for Better Work and Life, July 2006