From Russia with Love, a Well-rounded Artist
Interview with Natalia Simonova
by Maria Teresa De Donato
Beauty, sympathy, grace, intelligence, culture, determination, spontaneity, and humility: in my opinion these are the characteristics Natalia Simonova conducts herself in this world.
Endowed with great charm and a slight foreign accent that immediately fascinates you, you can only like Natalia from the start, as a person, even before as an artist.
There are so many things to say about her but, as usual, I let her introduce herself.
MTDD: Hi Natalia and welcome to my Blog and Virtual Cultural Lounge. I am delighted to have you as my guest.
NS: Hello dear Maria Teresa! Happy and grateful to do this interview with you.
MTDD: Natalia, before going into your activity as an artist, I'd like you to introduce yourself to our audience of readers by telling us a little about yourself, starting right from your childhood and adolescence in Russia - an immense, fascinating country, full of history, art and culture, so far away and, in many respects, different from ours.
NS: Yes, dear Maria Teresa, I am really happy to be born in Russia, specifically in the Urals, Ekaterinburg ... My childhood was not easy, because I was often in hospitals ... My mother saw in me something special, artistic, however, an expressive force… So he led me to study classical ballet, also hoping that it would strengthen my health. I remember that I didn't have much strength, but I said to myself: “You will do it! You are strong! Then my feet hurt after hours spent at the bar ... but there I learned to stand up straight and smile always! Then I became the soloist of the children's ballet theater and I played… the role that has become a favorite, the Swan! From there, as if opening my wings, I gained confidence. After that, I continued with my studies at the Academy of Dramatic Arts, so I also became passionate about acting and interpretation. Russian discipline and culture have created a very solid and nuanced foundation for me ...
MTDD: Would you like to tell us about your scholastic and academic preparation? I know you started with ballet and then continued - or rather I should say integrate it - with acting and singing.
NS: With great pleasure! As I have already said, I was born in Russia; I finished school and at the same time I studied the method of the Russian Ballet of the famous Vaganova. Then my mom took me to Georgia, to Tbilisi, because she had a second marriage. So I graduated there from the Academy of Dramatic and Circus Art. I immediately demonstrated many talents in various artistic disciplines: modern dance, acting, pantomime, singing ... and maybe already there I perceived my versatility and transformation ... Then I also had experiences as a showgirl on Georgian TV; I also opened the Teatro di Moda ... before moving to Italy.
MTDD: At some point in your life you decided to move to Italy.
Why did you choose Italy and what were the main differences you noticed not only from a 'cultural' point of view but also from that of artistic and academic training? Can you give us some examples?
NS: In the year 2000 I won the title of vice-miss Georgia in the Universe and I should have gone to represent Georgia as a candidate for Miss Universe ... but ... I received a proposal from the Koefia Academy of Haute Couture in Rome to do one internship with them ... Rome entered my heart so strongly as if it were a Destiny! So I didn't have any doubts about coming here ...
Rome and Italy have given me a lot. I learned to live every moment, to experience Beauty, to take advantage of various opportunities for artistic sharing! I did television, fashion, performance… so I felt the need to study: I studied with the greats of the theater: Giorgio Albertazzi, Mauro Avogadro, Melania Giglio, and Daniele Salvo, and finally with Matteo Tarasco who I consider my teacher.
MTDD: What have you embraced and what do you like most about our 'Italian spirit' and why?
NS: When I was 10 I wrote an essay “I love Rome”. Later they began to nickname me “italianka” (Italian) Perhaps because I was already very Italian in my ways, gestures, extroverted, with the desire to party even in difficult moments, the desire to live well, embracing and sharing! I love Italy. Italians are brilliant people, full of life and inventiveness, with fine tastes, with the ability to enjoy life and create friendships, to express themselves through various interests… plus they appreciate the values linked to family and good food!
MTDD: In 1988, the great and equally beloved Roman actress, Monica Vitti, in a meeting with the students of the Experimental Center of Cinematography underlined the importance of learning not only to act but also to sing, to dance and also encouraged them to study foreign languages. You already have all this 'package' of skills.
What prompted you to become a well-rounded artist?
NS: I completely agree with the wonderful and great Monica Vitti. The artist is like a tablet of colors, like a rainbow, the more colors you use, the more nuances, artistic-expressive power, and emotions in the interpretation increase. Singing, dancing, voice changes, knowledge of languages ... are like colors that increase the artistic strength of an actor and also enrich him and his soul.
MTDD: In your biography we read: “As a painter uses the colors of a palette, you have studied ballet, acting and singing to be able to express yourself at best artistically. What is art never stops, no one can ever say I have arrived, it is always a path.”
What is Art for Natalia Simonova?
NS: Art is the personal, untraceable expression of universal beauty, given by an artist to the world, through the vibrations of the soul, his sensitivity, the means of his own vision, and his own sensations. It is a language without which the artist cannot survive because it becomes a form with which "to transmit love, passion and inspiration" as the personal and unique message of one's soul to humanity.
MTDD: In Italy, you worked in RAI, shot the fiction "Intelligence" with Raul Bova, "Di tutti i colori" by Max Nardari, but also continued your theatrical career dedicating yourself to studying with sacred monsters of the Italian theater, such as Daniele Salvo, Mauro Avogadro and also the great Maestro Albertazzi.
How has having known, worked, and been a pupil of characters of such artistic depth has enriched you not only professionally, but also and above all humanly?
NS: Yes, I have had many artistic and creative experiences. Each person and each experience has enriched me a lot because I like to learn and I like it better always. Each teacher has left a mark on my art and helped deepen my skills and qualities. Our souls came here to learn and, most importantly, to learn to love unconditionally ...
MTDD: In the past, you have also played characters such as Arianna di Filo di Arianna and Donna Anna di Don Giovanni directed by Maestro Matteo Tarasco, while at the moment you are the protagonist of various shows, some of which you are also a director, and who see you as an interpreter of great women of the last century, including Marlene Dietrich and Judy Garland ... in "Leaving a sign" and by Mata Hari in the show of the same name. Your latest work is "Mosca, a Mosca, a Mosca .." dedicated to the wife of Anton Chekhov.
Tell us about these shows, the characters, and even the female protagonists you play (or have played). What fascinates you about each of them and how does playing each role have an effect on you, as a woman and as an actress?
NS: As I mentioned, I love to transform into various characters. Each one gives me something special and unique… So Arianna brought me back inside me and to the primordial state that is in me; made the Woman come out through past, present, and future that with "threads" wraps with the incredible mystery of Femininity and the Invisible ... Instead Olga Knipper strikes me for her desire to bring back to life her beloved Chekhov who is dying in a sad hotel in Berlin ... My Mata Hari remembers her life, as well as being considered fatal, but above all her ode to the love of her life before being shot ... And then every character in my show "Leaving a sign" expresses that “unspoken”, intimate, touching part of one's nature, leaving an untraceable and unique Sign; every woman tells her story through acting, dance, singing ... giving something special to the audience, but also giving them hope that everyone is a universe, full of nuances ...
MTDD: Does your being Russian influence, in your opinion, the choice of roles and characters you choose to play? And if so, why and to what extent?
NS: One day I was faced with an important choice. Studying diction, I thought about whether I wanted to completely clean my light Russian accent, or use it as my personal peculiarity and signature… So I decided to create my own style. The Russian accent helped me create my style and increase my charm. I think I left the flavor of my homeland in this way, giving a special touch to the characters; this does not mean that I cannot use pure Italian when it is necessary to express a certain character.
MTDD: What are your favorite plays and are there any roles you would like to play in the future that has not yet been offered to you or have not yet thought about?
NS: I like a lot of them! In particular, I would like to play Anna Karenina, Lady Macbeth, Medea ... But above all, I would like to play roles in cinema as a protagonist led by directors such as Almodovar, ... Nikita Mikhalkov, Luc Besson ... and, in Italy, Gabriele Muccino, Gabriele Salvatores and also another Italian director with whom I have already collaborated: Francesco Colangelo.
MTDD: What do the stage and the public recognition of your skill, of your innate talent as an artist give you?
NS: They are almost inexplicable, immense emotions… it is a great recognition of my path, my way of expressing my art, the sacrifices and inspirations that are captured and appreciated. They make it clear that you are on the right track. They enrich you from within, increasing the desire to create and give.
MTDD: Would you like to briefly tell us about your other activities?
NS: The other form of artistic expression that fascinates me is certainly singing. I have done various performances on several occasions. Now I'm in preparation for a concert performance with Gypsy King guitarist Francesco Grant and pianist Marina Chiubotaru, inspired by the artistic vibration of Marcella di Martino's paintings ... The other wonderful experience is Fuoriclasse Talent by Ivano Trau and Catiuscia Siddi in the role of Official presenter flanked by the talented Marco Senise, where I felt a lot the value of sharing and the… strength of the Talent that is enhanced….
MTDD: Do you have any plans for the future that you can tell us something about?
NS: I have various projects. Repeat my show "Leaving a Sign ..." directed this time by the great Matteo Tarasco; create a show dedicated to Bol’shoj prima ballerina, Majja Michajlovna Pliseckaja, involving the actress Maria Rosaria Omaggio. Supporting Felice Maria Corticchia as assistant director in the short film in question entitled: "Who will be next?"; continue with the "Al Tribeca" project, by Sicilian author Andrea Giostra, with Georgian actor and author Gabriele Napoleone Elbano ... and with a play by Marco Massimiani "Ypocrites" ...
MTDD: Natalia, is there something we haven't mentioned yet that you would like to share with our readers?
NS: My big dream came true: I was on the Red Carpet at the Venice Film Festival with the short film "Human's angels" by Emanuela Del Zompo with the protagonist, Rosanna Gambone, a disabled actress who unfortunately flew away ... I would like to remember her with great love and affection ... and I would like to dedicate a song "Heaven" sung in Russian to her ...
MTDD: I am very sorry for the death of this actress and I offer you my deepest condolences for the loss of her.
Ho about the readers who might wish to follow your activities and come to see one of your shows, how can they stay updated or contact you?
NS: They will be able to follow me through my website natalia_simonova.com, on Instagram as nataliasimonovaactress, and FB as NATALIA Simonova.
MTDD: Thank you Natalia for participating in this interview. I will be delighted to have you as my guest again in the future.
NS: Thank you very much, dearest Maria Teresa. It was a pleasure and an honor to be interviewed by a woman so full of talent, culture and so much humanity and generosity of soul. I always say when you sow love, you always reap it, even where you least expect it.
Thank you with all my heart.