“This music is really true and pure and honest” – interview with Anna Lucia Richter
Anna Lucia Richter is only 24 years old, but she is already considered to be a real rising star. Almost everyone was a musician in her family, she learned singing before speaking, and now we have the chance to listen to her beautiful, natural soprano voice.
It did not happen by accident that you became a singer, since you are coming from a family of musicians and you also received your first singing lessons from your mother. How old were you when you began to learn singing?
Nearly everyone in my family is a musician: My father is a violinist in the Gürzenich Orchestra in Cologne, my mother is a singer and a teacher, my brother plays the double bass, my grandfather was a pianist, my grandmother played viola, my uncle is a cellist, my great-grandfather was a conductor and so on. There is a story, that our musical family tree goes back to Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy…well, I don‘t know if it‘s true…
Music to me was always as important as breathing, eating or sleeping and it was my decision to learn violin at the age of four (I had no talent at all and stopped after a few months), then piano with my grandfather and later basson and organ. But I always sang. My parents said that I sang before I could speak and it made sense that my mother started teaching me when I was 8 or 9 years old. My mother was a little bit afraid whether it was a good idea to teach me, but it went well for 6 years. Afterwards I studied with Prof. Kurt Widmer and then Klesie Kelly-Moog and Magreet Honig.
You were singing in the choir of the Kölner Dom. It is totally different to sing as a member of a choir and to sing as a soloist. Did it become clear soon that you are going to have a carreer as a sopran soloist?
The 8 years as a member of the Girlschoir of the Cologne Cathedral were a great time and established a musical basis for my solo career. I learned how to practice, how to concentrate, how to sing prima vista and many other things. Later on I also sang small solos and I always dreamed of beeing a professional singer one day.
You are only 24 years old, but on the international scene you are considered to be a rising star. Do you consider this to be a heavy burden or a pleasant gift? Sometimes it also might be stressful to be in a position like this.
I am very happy to have the chance to sing such a great music with wonderful musicians. As in many other professions, being a singer of course can be stressful, but I never forget that it is also my passion.
There are wonderful critics about you. Do you usually read these articles? I read a Hungarian piece of writing about you in which they considered you to be very natural, and they hoped that noone would spoil you. Do you have role models or icons to follow? Principles that guide you on your way?
Of course I read critics. It is important and interesting to know, what other people think about my singing. I have different role models, but they change from time to time. I always loved Fritz Wunderlich: His natural, floating way of singing was and will be unique for ever. Also Lucia Popp was a wonderful singer. And many, many others…
There are a few people who are important for me. I trust them and I know that I always can ask for advice. My mother, my teachers…
As for the principles: always trust your gut. If your feeling says „yes“ you can think about it. If your head also says „yes“, then it‘s fine. If one of both say „no“, have the courage to say no, even if others want you to say yes.
What is the biggest success in your life so far?
Being a singer. Being alive. Having good friends and a wonderful family.
As for the Budapest Festival Orchestra, you have already had a concert with us before. How do you remember this musical cooperation? Could you learn anything from it?
It was a wonderful concert. I remember that Ivan Fischer called, it was a jump in: „Could you come to Budapest today and rehearse and sing Mozart?“ I loved to sing with this warm-hearted, committed orchestra and I hold Ivan Fischer in high regard. He is a wonderful person and a passionate musician.
In November you are going to be one of the soloists of a Baroque concert here in Budapest. How is your relationship with Baroque?
Baroque is one of my favorite eras. Singing Bach or Händel feels like home. This music is really true and pure and honest.
There will also be an expert (Sigrid t’Hooft) who is going to teach you Baroque gestures and you also will be dressed according to the Baroque style. How do you relate to this? Is this helpful for you to fulfill your ideas about the musical pieces, or is it rather unusual and strange?
This will be a new experience for me. I love acting and I worked also with Sasha Waltz, who staged Monteverdi‘s „Orfeo“ with me as La Musica and Euridice. But this was more acting and dancing and less baroque gestures. I find this kind of „acting-moving“ really interesting and I am looking foward to it.
Have you ever worked together with Jonathan Cohen?
I met him once in Paris and sang a few arias with him, but we never had a concert together. I am sure, it will be much fun and I appreciate him very much.