"Moving to Germany brought my life back to me"
Author: Anssi R. (12.08.02)
Here is a translation of a nice small interview with Tarja, from the Finnish evening paper Iltalehti, 12/08/02.
The front figure of Nightwish, Tarja Turunen, has always been the odd bird of the opera world even to the extent that her own courageous choices have made even simple things complicated. However, after the first study year in Germany, things are going better than ever. The Karlsruhe music academy has got its own rockstar.
- It feels like home for me already, even though the first half year was filled with shock situations. I thought "What have I done", at times I felt like crying and I missed my mother. I think, though, that it is quite the normal thing. Few people move to live in another country just like that, with no problems, Tarja contemplates.
In practice, Tarja has two years to finish her diploma work, but the studying pace just gets more hectic and the upcoming year's break from NW is a necessity.
- It doesn't mean that the band is having two years off. People will be hearing about NW even during this time, and we will make individual gigs here and there, Tarja clarifies.
- The break is really needed. I was really sick the whole of last autumn and when they examined me, they saw that excessive work and stress have driven me to the point that my body cannot take it anymore. I just had to let go of the rhythm and also now I am more aware of what I eat. One has to take care of oneself, Tarja says with the voice of someone who knows what she's talking about.
Taking care of practical things in Germany has proven to be surprisingly difficult, but otherwise she's more than happy with her decision to finish her studies in Karlsruhe.
- For example just opening a bank account is difficult, and getting a cash card with which to pay at shops is almost impossible if one doesn't have about one million euros in the bank account. A "student" is quite a curseword here, and family values are respected. Even highly educated women are at home. When I have told them that both parents go to work in Finland, the Germans have been shocked about the fathers not earning enough to support the family, Tarja smiles.
- Even if I left for Germany with a positive mind, I still was surprised at how well I was received. In Finland it was hard to find people in the same field, with whom to talk about things. At the school I have got really a lot of support, and my own Japanese singing teacher is of the opinion that of course I have to continue to be active in NW as well, Tarja rejoices, but says that she is at the same line with all the other students as far as classical singing is concerned.
- Moving here has brought the positiveness and light of life back to me. It has also freed me again to music and interpretation. I am smiling again after the burn-out. It was a good idea to take some distance to things.
Tarja has felt at home in Germany to the extent that she is even planning moving there permanently - it is good to travel around Europe from there.
- I don't regard it at all impossible to stay in Germany or thereabouts. It is no longer a frightening thought, it seems I survive here too.
- It is so much cheaper to live in Germany, it is worth it. The companies have lower taxation levels, very different from Finland. Even the price of a cup of coffee in Helsinki always shocks me, Tarja recalls.
Tarja's arrival in Karlsruhe music academy has caused a lot of stirring in the small town. There are heaps of fan mail arriving to the otherwise peaceful town, and long-haired dudes are hanging around the academy.
- I am a kind of rockstar here and I am regarded as a person belonging to that field. Yes, all the secretaries at the school have been baffled at the arriving fan-mail. First they were asking who I am, but now they have joined in the feeling.
In the beginning of the summer Tarja made a small classical tour in Argentina and Chile which have already been "conquered" by NW. The very positive feedback from the press and the full concert halls proved Tarja to be hot there --whatever she sings.
- The classical music reviewers were very impressed and interested. It was admittedly a bit strange, when the audience is yelling, screaming and crying in a lied concert just like in a rock concert, Turunen smiles satisfied.