Sitting in the Green Room of Clonter Opera a few summers ago, the one working computer terminal was occupied by a glamorous, feisty young French soprano. We were a few days into rehearsal; she was adding her new colleagues as friends on Facebook, and was rifling through our mutual friends. She spotted someone she liked, and asked me how I knew him. I ummed and ahhed for a few moments. “Eva, when you get to my age, you’ll remember that you know people, but you won’t always remember how you met them.” She expressed incredulity. I extemporized – “For instance, in a few years time, I’ll know who you are, but I won’t necessarily remember that it was here that we met.” She tossed her mane of black hair, pinned me with a dark-eyed stare and pouted scarlet as only a French woman knows how. “Paul. You will never forget me.”
She was right, I didn’t. And I was wrong. She never got to my age. Eva Ganizate died on Saturday, her 28th birthday, in a cycling accident in France. Her many close friends can and have expressed all that she meant to those who knew her better than I could – follow the link to Natalya Romaniw’s tribute to her below. Eva was a force of nature, a fabulous singer, fiery, committed, with a passion for her art which was deeply felt and only partially tamed. This meant that at times she could be unpredictable on stage; that’s something that could and would have been honed over time; that spark of artistic fire is the one thing that can’t be taught, and the one thing that’s necessary in a true star. Eva was one, and by all who had the privilege to know her, she will be sorely missed. And never forgotten.