Angela Answers Proust

The following is the first in a series I'm launching here at Chanteuse, where I'll be conducting imaginary heart-to-heart conversations with sopranos (living or dead) by way of the legendary Proust Questionnaire. It is purely fictional. First at bat is none other than the biggest diva of the age, the "infuriating" yet utterly "sublime" Angela Gheorghiu.

Thank you, Ms. Gheorghiu, for taking the time out of your hectic schedule to speak to me.
Shall we begin?

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
To be away from the stage. To be away from the heroines I love so much to portray on a nightly basis.

Where would you like to live?
Burma. Where I am certain no one has ever heard of me. Why? To simply get away from my chaotic life.

What is your idea of earthly happiness?
Making love. Figuratively and literally.

To what fault do you feel most indulgent?
Shopping till I drop. A girl can never have too many Christian Louboutins!

Who is your favorite heroine of fiction?
Madame Bovary. She had guts! I envy her that.

Who is your favorite painter?
My make-up artist. I mean, look at me!

What is your favorite color?
Darling, I'm color blind. Perhaps you'd best ask Ms. Fleming this question.

What is your favorite flower?
Luscious pink roses. I always ask my maid to put fresh pink roses in my dressing room no matter what the season. I can't live without them.

Pink roses? But you just said you're color blind.
Yes, darling, but I always see life through rose-tinted glasses.
La vie en rose, you know what I mean?

Who are your favorite poets? And why?
Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton. I've always been drawn to the darker side of life, and both poets were practically suicidal all their lives.

Who is your favorite composer?
Verdi. His music makes me sound rather divine, don't you think?

What is the one quality you most admire in a man?
I don't want to be shallow, but I always judge the men in my life at how good they are at kissing. Me, I mean.

And in a woman?
I have no opinion of other women. Only an estimation. What might that be? Only I know.

What is your favorite virtue?
Staying true to myself at all times.
The one virtue that seems to have gotten me in trouble lately.

What is your favorite occupation?
Heavens, can't you hear I love to sing?

What natural gift would you most like to possess?
I already have it.

How would you like to die?
On the stage. The operatic stage. Is there a better place to expire?

Yes, but I rather asked how.
Peacefully. Serenely. But still on that stage. If it's good enough for Violetta to die in, then it's good enough for me!

What is your greatest achievement?
Overcoming the debilitating fear of wearing a blond wig.

What traits do you deplore in other performers?
Define deplore.

To regret strongly. In other words, loathe.
Lack of talent. An inflated ego.

What traits do you admire in other performers?
Talent and, granted it is reasonable enough, an inflated ego.

What is your motto?
Same as Saint Joan's: "Hold the Cross high so that I may see it through the flames!"

Who would you have liked to be?
My dear, I've never wanted to become anyone else. Never!
From the day I was born, I've always wanted to become Angela Gheorghiu.