AR: You’re a native Muscovite. Do you have any favorite places in the capital that you want to return to again and again?

Daria: My childhood and youth were spent near the Patriarch's ponds, in Presnya. Studying at the Conservatory, means being on Bolshaya Nikitskaya street every day, and at the Maurice Thorez InYaz on Ostozhenka Street (the Maurice Thorez InYaz is Moscow State Linguistic University). All these places are my favorite and very close to me. I’ll also add the park of the Novodevichy Monastery and the cozy streets of Kitay-Gorod, and the clean ponds. This is old Moscow. It’s really important for me to feel the city and its history. It’s a huge dose of inspiration.

AR: What is your source of inspiration?

Daria: Sometimes a spontaneous conversation with a passionate person is inspirational. The energy coming from someone who is fascinated by their work is a miraculous power. But it doesn’t happen so often, so I really appreciate live communication, and I try to make it exceptionally inspiring, motivating and just human. Otherwise, I can’t do it, and I immediately lose interest in both the conversation and the other person. I can be inspired by a good movie, article or a book. In fact the thoughts of people, expressed in different forms and genres, which are able to shed light on your present day and give you the strength to act. Nature inspires me. Traveling to new places, music that is written and recorded with love. Human voice that comes from the heart inspires me. I’m an auditor, I immediately hear the thoughts of a person, their state, and their inner world.

AR: What emotions did you experience for the first time on the Bolshoi Opera stage?

Daria: Responsibility and excitement accompanied me until the last second before I had to go on stage. Saying it was scary is to say nothing. Before 5 seconds the coulisse opened I said to myself: “You can keep worrying and shaking but the audience came here to get pleasure and positive emotions – from the music, the play, the voices and the plasticity. Therefore turn your worrying into courage and agonizing joy into the fact that you and your embodiment of the role will decorate a performance on the best stage in the world. Go ahead, sing, be in great music and make people happy.” This attitude helped me to achieve what I wanted with brilliance but also it remained with me for the rest of my life.

AR: Do you have any pre-performance rituals to relieve stress and tune in to the right mood?

Daria: Of course, but they depend on where I am, who I perform for and what repertoire I have. I will leave my personal rituals personal, but if we’re talking professional techniques, then tuning in to the role or performance of some character part, I often look for the features of my heroine in different subjects. For example, it’s helpful to hold steel objects in your hands to feel the strength and steadfastness of the character and bring strong-willed qualities to the music and the play. You can touch silk fabrics, soft fur, pet a gentle cat for a feeling of greater femininity. These tactile techniques help you to feel more deeply what you need to convey to your listeners with your voice

AR: At the moment, you are giving your concerts online. Tell us about the difference in emotions and feelings.

Daria: By definition, online performances can’t be compared to live concerts. However, at the moment it’s the only format to perform. So I try to turn on my imagination – imagining the audience and seeing the eyes of my listeners, remembering shots from past performances, from favorite halls. Also, I try to perform online when someone close to me is at home. So there is a feeling that at least one person hears your lively and warm voice. Nevertheless, despite the fact that the online form of communication can’t deliver those lively emotions from communicating with an artist, I see how many people have come closer to art, discovered new genres and names thanks to remote online performances of artists. Yes the energy of a living person only transmits in two-dimensional form but the information, emotion, and message still remain and reach the virtual audience. Also, during the difficult period of the pandemic, I considered it my duty to continue to please my listeners and support them with my creativity, mood and optimism.

AR: What gives you the most pleasure in your work?

Daria: A lot of moments bring me pleasure but the most important one is that contact with the audience – it’s a joint experience.

AR: Do you have moments when you want to give up? If so how do you deal with them?

Daria: I don’t think I had such moments for a long time. I’ve been doing what I love for too long and I love what I do too much to “to give up”. But I often ask myself the questions: "Where to go next?", "What local goal should I have to lead to the global goal?" "Am I doing the right thing?" Sometimes if you want to answer these questions, you have to go through a lot of stressful emotions including doubts and self-examination. But it’s a NORMAL process for everyone who chases after their goals and dreams.

AR: Do you have a favorite aria?

Daria: Yes. It’s Nessun Dorma from the opera Turandot (Note: it was written by the great composer Giacomo Puccini for tenor, not soprano). The music is amazing – strong, victorious and inspiring. I will definitely perform my own concert version of it, despite the fact that it was written for a male voice and role.

AR: What stereotypes have you faced in your work?

Daria: Fortunately, I personally have almost never been in such situations. I guess I’m lucky!

AR: In your opinion, what is your biggest career achievement so far?

Daria: I never think about things this way. I believe that the main achievements sometimes consist of small internal victories over yourself. But the prestige of a huge stage, sometimes gives you less emotion than the performance. For example, a democratic audience that is really listening and responsive. But if we talk about some "achievements" I would say: I believe I have learned to go my own way towards a big goal, and I’ve learned to respect myself and other people more.

AR: What advice can you give to aspiring opera singers?

Daria: Stay in shape (laughs) or as the Russian proverb says “Keep your head cool and your voice warm”. I am not an advisor, I don’t really like to give advice, but if you ask, I will say this (from the perspective of the viewer!). Remember the great Russian writer Anton Chekhov, the artist must constantly take care that within them, "everything should be perfect” (person). You should start with your thoughts, goals, and speech. And of course, don’t forget about the importance of self-expression through appearance. Looking attractive and dignified is just as important as singing with a clear intonation and not confusing the words in the songs.

AR: Tell us a little about your style and your favorite jewelry brands.

Daria: For me, in terms of appearance, the integrity of my image and the details that speak about a person in a restrained and narrative way are very important. I am very pleased with the friendship and cooperation with the brands Jaeger-LeCoultre and Piaget, whose products add to this sound to my image – with notes of dignity, grace and restrained chic.

AR: You know many languages. Do you have a desire to learn new ones? If so, which ones?

Daria: I get to know different languages all the time because I have to sing in them. Among them are very exotic languages to me: Chinese, Korean, Serbian, Czech and others. In order to sing in a different language, you need to understand the phonetic base and of course know the literal translation and semantic nuances at least. If I had to choose from the languages that I don’t speak fluetly, yet would like to learn fully, I would say Portuguese and Hebrew.

AR: Why do you specifically do equestrian sports as a hobby?

Daria: I've been riding since I was a child. I love horses, perhaps it’s because according to the Chinese Zodiac I am a metal horse?! (laughs). But, seriously, I got this hobby from my dad and my dad got it from his father and etc. In short, it’s a family tradition.

AR: What is the first thing you plan to do once the self-isolation period ends?

Daria: I will hug my parents, whom I haven’t seen since December 2019.

Person: Daria Davidova @dariadavidoff

Make-up: Slava Sasin Dior Make-up @slavasasin_diormakeup

Clothes: Christian Dior

Location: Photo studio Apriori @aprioriphoto