lundi 2 septembre 2013

Interview of Mireille Mathieu 7 Aughust, 2013 in Russia. In English

Merci à Monika pour la photo.

Mireille: The parade I will
The great French singer tells us how and why she has become a mascot of the festival "Spasskaya Tower"

Mireille Mathieu

A worthy successor to the great Edith Piaf, charming Mireille Mathieu - a national treasure of France, such as Cézanne’s painting or The Eiffel Tower in its architecture. More than 125 million CDs with recordings of her songs, her unique strong voice has been heard for decades on all continents, involving people into the world of miracle.
In early September, for the fifth time Mireille Mathieu will be performing in Moscow at the International Military Music Festival "Spasskaya Tower". No wonder why our interview started with this theme.
This festival is just awesome
- How did you first know about the Festival "Spasskaya Tower"? Tell us about your meeting with its organizers.
ММ: It all began with a letter from Moscow that I received in 2009. There was an invitation to perform on the Red Square. That time I couldn’t even imagine how dear “Spasskaya Tower” would become to me and that in the nearest future I myself would turn into a kind of a mascot for The Festival. So I accepted that invitation with pleasure and now it is the fifth time that I will sing by the Kremlin’s walls.
This music festival really fascinates- by its scope and warmth, and its incredible diversity. Orchestras, ceremonial and folk bands from all over the world come to Moscow, and each participant brings its own unique color into a palette of this great show. And every time it turns into something altogether unbelievable. Even for me, who have seen a lot, the festival is always a stunner.
The atmosphere at The Festival makes us feel that music turns into a great power which sweeps away all the boundaries between people and unites them by their love for the beautiful and the eternal sound. I remember musicians from Mexico, whose play made us forget all the distances.
For all those who took part in the festival and for me myself, this fest by the Kremlin became an opportunity to learn about the culture and traditions of the countries near and far where, perhaps, we would never go. Music reveals the soul of the people and helps to understand them better. Add to this strict and colorful uniforms, and you will see the breathtaking splendor.
My impressions became even brighter and warmer when I got acquainted closer with the organizers of this wonderful festival - its director Sergei Smirnov, music director Valery Khalilov, the commandant of the Moscow Kremlin, Sergei Khlebnikov.
- - Have you ever happened to deal with military music? If so, under what circumstances?
ММ: I remember a performance with the choir of the French Army and the orchestra of the National Guard when I sang "La Marseillaise." Earlier, I sang it during some broadcasts in 1969 and 1970, with orchestras on boards of French navy ships. Of course, those appearances were episodic, and only in Moscow I faced with the specifics of military music and its performers for the first time. I recall with pleasure my visit in 2009 with the orchestra of the National Guard, directed to the festival on the initiative of ex-President Nicolas Sarkozy.
- In your opinion, is the festival in Moscow on the Red Square different from other music festivals? What is its specialty?
ММ: "Spasskaya Tower" - the only music festival in the Military Tattoo format, which I know, and I find it hard to imagine the better one. Its strong point is that it is never the same, but there is something new and interesting every year, new music bands and performances. For example, every year orchestras that Moscow citizens have never heard of come from France. Scandinavian musicians produced a great impression on me. Real virtuosos!
Moreover, the feature of this festival is that the power of the military music is multiplied by the greatness of the Red Square. The result is a strong supply of inspiring energy that you feel when you go out on the stage. In fact, everything that is going on during the festival makes great sense, perfectly organized, and aesthetically and artistically beautiful.
- As we understand, your participation is not a question of fees...
ММ: Of course it’s not.
- Is it true that you are on friendly terms with the commander of the Moscow Kremlin Mr. Khlebnikov?
ММ: Yes, it’s true. Mr. Sergey Khlebnikov is always very kind to me. And I always glad to meet him again. The commander of the Kremlin is a very softhearted and courteous man. In addition, he loves and understands music and it brings us even closer.
- This year they’re waiting for you again in Moscow, what songs will they hear?
ММ: I will sing in French, German, and Russian. In Russian – The hymn of Moscow "My dear capital".
-Is it difficult to sing in Russian?
ММ: Well it’s not easy. But I try, I work on it. You know, my mother loves Russian very much, and once, when we came together on my birthday in July, I sang “My golden Moscow” and she was very glad with it . My mother often accompanies me on my trips to Moscow and there she always greets our friends with some phrases that she knows in Russian.
- Isn’t it scary when you are comped by several hundreds of musicians? What if someone would happen to play out of tune?
ММ: You know, not really. Musical accompaniment gives you wings, you feel like you’re soaring over the crest of a powerful wave. And also there is a conductor in front of me, who achieves harmony between the musicians and me. As for the failures, we didn’t have any, as rehearsals go before concerts where even the finer nuances are perfected.

Merci à Monika pour la photo.

How I sang at the wedding
- It's not a secret that in the Europe there is a lot of friends of Russia, but also there are those who try to create a distorted image of our country. Have You ever been proposed to impose a boycott to our country and not to come with Your concerts?
ММ: This never happened to me. The first time I came to the USSR was in 1967 году. And since then I was coming here many times. Between me and Russia is a real "love story" that lasts until now. I have never kept this fact. Everyone knows my attitude to your country. Maybe that’s why no-one ever tried to persuade me to give up visiting Moscow and other Russian cities.
- What is Your impression about Russian public? Is it the same as French or they are different?
ММ: I remember my first coming to Russia. I was a part of a large group of actors who performed at the legendary music hall "Olympia" in Paris. There were musicians, dancers, humorists, prestidigitators. We had concert tours in Moscow, Leningrad, Kazan. I remember that unbelievable enthusiasm of your public! And every time I come here again, this sincerity remains. At my concerts I can see people of all ages. There are those who remember me by my previous concerts, as well as their children, and even grand children.
Young Russians sometimes say: "Our parents lulled us with Your songs, and now we give our children to listen to the songs by Mireille Mathieu".
What is the difference between Russian and French audience? It’s difficult to compare. Thanks to my compatriots I’ve planted myself as a singer. They appreciated me and that was the basis of my creative career. Russians, in their turn, bestowed love, inspiring a desire to sing on, continue the profession that I love. Besides France, there are two countries I owe. These are Russia and Germany. I am grateful to the Almighty that he gave the opportunity to live my passion.

- And one more question: our country has changed greatly since the time of Your first visit . We have lost something, something we have acquired. For example, in Your book “Yes, I believe!” You criticized the service...
MМ: You know, I can’t do without the telephone. And when I came for the first time, I faced great problems with it. I had to wait for the international call too much and that astonished me. But I have to say that after having known about “my caprice” the hotels have always been giving me an access to the telephone very fast.
No wonder that modern Russia has nothing to do with The USSR. Speaking about service, shops, restaurants, hotels- Moscow is no different from Paris. Your capital is developing all the time. Every time I see new buildings, cafes, department stores. Everything changes rapidly. Russia is huge, people are kind, smart, talented.
Last year, when I was in Perm, they invited me to a school where French - a profiling foreign language. And I was amazed by the quality of teaching French there. They study not only Voltaire and Moliere, but Flaubert, Zola as well. I was excited by such an interest towards my country.
In March 2013 I was in UFA. There were children who came up to the stage to greet me. And after the concert a boy of 9 came to see me. His name was Arseniy. He began to sing one of my favorite songs “No, I don’t regret anything”. While singing he was repeating al my gestures and intonation. I admit, I was touched to the core.
- They often say that Russian and French cultures resemble each other. No wonder for many Russian artists, writers and thinkers, France have become a second homeland. What is this similarity, if it really exists?
ММ:Undoubtedly, our cultures are close. For centuries Russian people have been showing their great interest in many French things like literature, art, traditions and fashion. The French have been reciprocating. I think we can talk about a certain integration of our cultures. Catherine the Great was doing correspondence with Voltaire, and many buildings in St. Petersburg look very much like Versailles. In Paris there is a beautiful bridge of Alexandre III, a gift from Russia that reminds us today of a rich history between our countries and nations. Apart from French fashion, which the Russians have always been in.
In 2010 there were many interesting events   - considering the so-called “criss-crossed" year of Russia in France and of France in Russia! A great number of events took place throughout the whole country, including my hometown- Avignon, where children’s art-teams from Russia came to perform, and I sang along with them.
- In Your home-museum there is a vial of moondust, Charlie Chaplin's autograph, a chaplet given by John Paul II. Are there any souvenirs from Russia?
ММ: There are several. In my bedroom I keep an icon of Virgin Mary, which was given me by my friend and an artist Ilya Glasunov. I highly cherish it. In Russia they always give me dozens of bouquets. Once, my sister Monique dried up rose petals and placed them in a tall cylindrical vase. Now it adorns the winter garden in my house. Other petals from Russia we have brought in a Paris church of Saint-Philippe-de Rudder, where I often go. There is a magnificent icon of St. Rita – a patron saint of all hopeless, whose favorite flowers were roses. So now its frame is decorated with those petals.

- They say that during Your tour in Moscow You happened to visit Russian wedding.
ММ:  Это было незабываемо! The fact is that when I come to Moscow, I always go to the church of St Nicholas. Once I came there during the wedding ceremony. The bride and the groom recognized me. The priest asked to sing for the newlyweds, and I sang a song which I loved since childhood - "Santa Maria de la Mer". After that, the young have invited me to take part in the wedding table, which took place at the restaurant next door. Although we didn’t have a lot of time, I accepted the invitation and together with my mother and my whole team we found ourselves at the Russian wedding. According to the tradition, I even offered a toast to the young, and after I sang « Ochi chernye ». It was unforgettable!
- Mireille, what do you prefer from the Russian cuisine?
ММ:  Chicken Kiev and different Russian snacks. Of course, caviar. By the way, the first time I tried it at the very beginning of my singing career due to my producer Johnny Stark. At first I took this delicacy for ordinary lentils which I knew from childhood. And I was surprised by its fishy taste. After I figured out what was what what ...
In Chinese
- You are a Catholic, and, as we know, faith means a lot to you. Where are its roots??
ММ: В России, посещая церкви, я увидела тягу людей к Богу, и это вселяет уверенность в светлом будущем вашей страны. I was brought up by parents who taught me to respect Christian values​​, which have become a part of me. I thank the Lord for giving me a voice. I sang in the church choir when I was very young. St. Augustine once said, "The one who sings, he prays twice." The faith gives me strength. It helps me to live in peace and respect with those who surround me. In Russia, visiting the church, I see people craving for God, and this gives me confidence in the bright future of your country.
- The question is as traditional as it is inevitable: what is the secret of your creative endurance? Special diet, regime?
ММ: May be because I never change my principles, habits.. I’ve always been myself. And all my life I do what I really love- I sing. Most of all I like giving concerts in France and I feel that my compatriots reciprocate. If we’re speaking about the source of life force, well, of course, I take care of myself. I love to eat, but never overeat. I prefer organic products like fish, fruits, vegetables. Besides, I never smoked. I sleep a lot, especially before concerts. I sleep for ten hours. No way without it.
- Do you have any superstition?
ММ: Оh! An awful lot, and one of the superstitions is never to talk about them!
- Is it true that you always sing live? Was there any exceptions?
ММ: I know that there’re cases when many singers resort to lip-synching, but I always sing live.
- Have You ever tried to count how many countries You’ve visited? And are there any countries that You haven’t been to, but would like to go?
ММ: I never tried to count them, but I know that they are many, and they all in my heart. Where I haven’t been? In Australia. It's a whole continent! Several times I was invited, but something disturbed me. Yes, it is Australia where I would like to go on tour.
- They say that You were the first European singer who had been in China. What was the reaction of the public to Your songs there?
ММ: Chinese government invited me in 1986. French musicians came with me on the trip, and Chinese violin ensemble joined us there. Performances were held in Beijing and Shanghai, which seemed to me like cities of the mysterious planet - economic transformation there were just beginning. I was given the warmest welcome. And when I was singing "Jasmine Flower" in Chinese, the public just fall into ecstasy

- How many languages ​​can You sing? Which is the most difficult for You?
ММ: Nine languages, and the most difficult is not Chinese or Japan, no. It is Finnish! It has a very difficult pronunciation.
- Have You ever received the invitations to sing at the private concerts?
ММ: Yes, I used to sing, for example, at the weddings, the anniversaries. But I can’t sat whose- these were the conditions put forward by those people.
- In what countries are there Your fan clubs? Is there such a community in Russia?
ММ: I think that You mean the associations, created by those who like my songs. They are many - just surf the Internet to see this. There are associations in Russia. I am very grateful to the Russian fans, who posted on the club's website birthday congratulations for me. Thank you!
Everyone deserves happiness
- In Russia they are always interested in what is happening in France. Not long ago, for example, the story of Gerard Depardieu, who became a Russian citizen, stirred up a lot of discussions. By the way, what do You think about it?
ММ: Gerard is a great actor, whose talent I appreciate. As for any of his demarches, it's his personal matter. He has always acted the way he considered to be sensible. No one has the right to judge him.
- Did You ever think about changing Your nationality?
ММ: Never. I love France, my roots are here, my family is here. It doesn’t mean that I blame Depardieu. He is happy and it’s good the way it is.
- In addition to that, Your government's decision to legalize same-sex marriage is highly debated in Russia. In France, it caused, say the least of it, mixed reactions. And what do you think about that?
ММ: This issue is very serious. I can only say that everyone deserves happiness. I am just for love in the world. Anybody deserves respect in a democratic society.
-What do You think about Femen - extremist organization of feminists who settled in France and carried out noisy anti-Christian campaign?
ММ: I know what they have done in the cathedrals, including Notre-Dame de Paris. Such thins are unallowable in sacred places. I remember the expression of Pasteur: "I'm not asking you what color your skin is, or what your religion is, but tell me why you are suffering."We must demonstrate tolerance, and respect all faiths and all beliefs.
- What human qualities do You appreciate most? What seem are unacceptable to You?
ММ: I appreciate honesty, tolerance, respectfulness. I don’t approve malice and hypocrisy.
- And the last question: what are Your plans for August, which is traditionally considered to be a vacation month in France?
ММ: I just finished recording a new album - fourteen songs in German. It doesn’t even have a name yet. Then I’m going to rest for a while at home - in Avignon. In late August, I return back to Paris, and then with my mother, sister Monique, and other nearest go to Moscow to the Festival "Spasskaya Tower".
See you on the Red Square! I love you! (The last words pronounces in Russian. - Ed.)

New album. October 11, 2013

November 4, 2010 in the St. George Hall of the Grand Kremlin Palace, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev awarded Mireille Mathieu the Order of Friendship. After the durbar Mireille Mathieu went down the front steps of the staircase of the Palace. Presidential Orchestra in St. George's Hall in its turn began to play « Podmoskovnie vechera » ("Moscow Nights.") Mireille stopped and began to sing. And her singing had been so powerful and beautiful that all participants also stopped, and then awarded the singer a thunderous ovation ....
On the sidelines of the festival "Spasskaya Tower" on the Red Square the best barista in the world demonstrate their mastership (i.e. that is the masters of coffee-preparing). Last year, they have created a special drink called "Mireille Mathieu" and invited the singer to taste it. Mireille came under the arches of the tent, where barista had been preparing, and warned that she had come only for a moment. However, she liked the coffee so much, that a short visit became a long one, and soon everyone there were singing - Mireille Mathieu, and the coffee-makers, and ordinary spectators. She always creates such a warm and free atmosphere.


Translation by Marina copyright 'friends of Mireille Mathieu' and Marina

Sophie Mathieu et Marina.

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