Interview with Carolina Kostner: To play Carmen on ice is a challenge for me
Last Saturday, Italian figure skater Carolina Kostner became European champion for the fourth time in her career. She hasn't won Olympic Games or world championships, but has long been considered the embodiment of artistry in figure skating. "When she is out on the ice, it's like she talks to you," - these words of one of the Russian coaches very clearly reflect the essence of Carolina's skating. Andrey Simonenko, R-Sport agency correspondent, had a little off-ice chat with four-times European champion.
- Carolina, for some reason it seems to me that this victory for you was the most emotional out of all four ...
- Perhaps it's true. You know, now, when I go to competitions, I think, maybe next year I won't be here. I've been skating in championships for so long - these European championships for me are tenth in a row. And I think for me it is not only a great achievement, but also a honor and responsibility. You know why, a week ago, one journalist told me: do you know that you are now on the same list as Irina Slutskaya and Katarina Witt? No one else has achieved it. And these athletes have always been idols for me. And I thought, wow, maybe now I'm someone else's idol, too. An idol cannot go out and skate badly. Must meet their idol status. These are my thoughts right now.
- I've been wanting to ask you for many months, how did you get an idea to make your short program to Shostakovich music? What is this strange choice?
- My choreographer Lori Nichol sent me the music via e-mail and said, just listen, this is something unusual. I listened, and at first I thought, it was awful. These sounds (pictures): "wiiiiii, wiiiii" ... But then I scratched my head and thought, well, I don't know, Lori couldn't send it to me just like that, there must be something to it. I listened to the melody again, and again, and again, and I thought: if Lori and I make a program to this music, it will, at least, be interesting. And I told her: let's try and see how it works out. I generally like to try interesting things. Well, I came to her on the ice, we played this music, and suddenly a bunch of little girls, who were there at that moment, started to dance. We laughed, looking at that - and said to each other: yes!
- What kind of music is easier to skate to: when you have a certain role on the ice, like in 'Carmen", or some abstract piece of music, like Shostakovich?
- For me the main thing is for the music to not be too well known in skating. For this reason, for example, a couple of years ago I skated to "Riders On The Storm" by The Doors. I like to discover something new, not only for audience but also for myself. I would like someday to make a program to "Carmen". But I don't feel ready for it yet.
- But you performed to two very well-known arias from "Tosca" and "Carmen" at the show "Opera on Ice" recently. Which one, by the way, did you like more?
- Actually, I liked them both. They are so different. I think I looked more natural in "Tosca," because I'm so not Carmen. I'm not like the heroine of the opera (laughs). I think you understand what I'm talking about. And for me, it isn't easy to play Carmen - even on the ice, for the two minutes that the program lasts. I would call it a challenge. But you probably know, Stephane Lambiel was the choreographer of this program, and when we were working on it, he went all out - started waving his arms, saying you should do so, this position (shown), then this one. I covered my face with my hands and said, okay, well, I'll try ...
- Are you going to make any other program with Lambiel?
- We didn't plan anything else so far. But I think he's a very good choreographer, he has a great talent for that. In general, Stephane has a very artistic nature, I think he has taste for art. I'm sure he will make a lot of outstanding programs in the future.
- Carolina, now in Russia there is a boom in women's singles figure skating, yet in junior. There is a large number of talented young skaters. What do you think about Adelina Sotnikova, Elizaveta Tuktamysheva?
- I like them very much. Sometimes, by the way, when I look at them, I remember myself at their age. I think: wow, I will soon be twenty-five, and it feels like I was fifteen just yesterday...
- When I look at Sotnikova, I also remember you at 15.
- It's true, Adelina looks like me when I was younger. And Polina Korobeinikova, too. But you know, I'm not implying anything, they are already very good skaters, but to become great champions, they still have so much to go through... I was there, too, ten years ago, when I just entered the international circuit, I had no idea what it would be like... There were so many things to adjust, to adapt to. Somehow I remember a saying: the road of life is never straight forward. When I was younger, I thought that I could be a superhero, do anything. But then my life has proved many times that I'm not a superhero. And eventually I came to the conclusion that you just have to do what you can. Do not fly in the clouds, but stay on the ground. And to fight, fight all the time.
- What do you think about your future rivalry with the young Russian skaters in European and world championships?
- I want to compete with them, of course. But I will be honest: this rivalry doesn't have any special meaning to me because they are like me. They are my competitors just like everyone else.