<< -- 4 -- Roderic Dunnett MOUTHS TO FEED
Cocieru runs a tight ship, but is a visibly hands-on boss, who has a
close and supportive relationship with his singers. Occasionally there are
crises : one lovelorn Turandot (of considerable talent) flounced off in
mid-tour to Moscow two seasons ago in classic Prima Donna style; but other
talent was there to fill the gap.
Nicolae Covaliev as Antonio the gardener in 'The Marriage of Figaro'
Between 60 and 65% of his company, Cocieru explains, are Romanian-speaking.
Romanian is the first language of Moldova, and Russian second. There is
a large Russian-speaking majority still in Chisinau, but Moldovans'
true affiliation is Romanian-leaning, as the name of their main boulevard,
Stefan cel Mare -- 'Stephen the Great', the 15th Century monarch
who ruled both modern Moldova, which the early 20th century knew as Bessarabia,
and picturesque north-east Romanian Moldavia with its elaborately painted
monasteries -- bears witness.
A detail from one of Moldavia's painted monasteries. Photo: Keith Bramich
Despite the linguistic and cultural links, modern Moldova (which in an
about-turn actually now has a former Soviet communist, Voronin, as President;
culture might benefit) shows itself little inclined to seek any kind of
union with even modern post-Communist, part-democratised Romania, which
made tentative overtures in the Nineties.
Copyright © 5 September 2002
Roderic Dunnett, Bath, UK