John Mansell: Where and when were you born?
Nora Orlandi: I was born in Voghera (Lombardia), Italy on the 28th of June 1933.
John Mansell: What musical education do you have?
Nora Orlandi: I studied at the academy of music in Voghera (Conservatorio).
John Mansell: Did you come from a musical family background?
Nora Orlandi: My mother, Fanny Miriam Campos, was a great lyric singer. My father and my brother were merely passionate for music, while my sister is a singer too. She worked with me as soloist and vocalist in both my two groups: the 2+2 and the 4+4. As for my present family, my husband is my most precious collaborator: he helps me in everything… last September we celebrated 55 years of marriage! I have 2 sons and at least 5 nephews, aged from 7 up to 22.
John Mansell: You began primarily as a singer in a group with Alessandroni. When did you decide to form your own singing group?
Nora Orlandi: To tell the truth the group was mine… and I gave to Alessandroni the possibility to join! He was one of my first vocalists. Subsequently I had the pleasure to work with Massimo Cini, one of my vocalists for 30 years, and also there is Enzo Gioieni, who I have worked and performed with since almost the start of my career.
John Mansell: You have worked with many composers on film scores, who would you say was the most enjoyable to work with?
Nora Orlandi: Every composer or performer I have worked with I have enjoyed collaborating with, my collaborations have always been undertaken with enthusiasm and positivity, independently from the composer or the film. Passion is something you have inside and I merely offered it to everyone that called me to work.
John Mansell: What was your first film score, and how did you progress from a performer to a composer?
Nora Orlandi: In 1953–54, at the age of 20, I composed my first film score: “Non Vogliamo Morire”. I really don’t remember the day I became a singer professionally: it is too far away!
John Mansell: Do you conduct all of your own music, or do you sometimes have a conductor?
Nora Orlandi: No, on the contrary: my scores have always been directed by someone else more famous than me… for example Paolo Ormi and Robbie Poitevin. Besides I was busy with many other projects, and did not have enough time available to conduct my own music.
John Mansell: Do you think enough of your music from film has been released onto LP or CD?
Nora Orlandi: I have never paid much attention to that matter. Soundtracks are only the 30% of my work, the rest was compounded by various performances, TV and radio-phonic shows, advertising spots… Moreover I took part in about 15 San Remo music Festivals.
John Mansell: How do you work out your musical ideas, do you utilise a piano or do you work with a synthesiser?
Nora Orlandi: I utilise neither a piano nor a synthesiser. I compose without any instrument and only at the end I check what I wrote (generally with a piano): only Mozart could write without checking!
John Mansell: How many times do you normally watch a movie before you start to get any fixed ideas about where the music will be placed and what style of music you will employ?
Nora Orlandi: Most of the times you must ask expressly to watch the film. Often it is sufficient to watch some parts of it, only one time, to understand the more suitable musical style. The music must be a “sound photography”, parallel to the images; it depends really on each individual project.
John Mansell: How long did you normally get to work on a film score; maybe you could use THE SWEET BODY OF DEBORAH as an example?
Nora Orlandi: It depends from the kind of the job… I don’t exactly remember how much time I got to work on a singular film score. Perhaps it is too difficult to quantify it because I could not devote so much time to a sole work. As I have already said, soundtracks are not my priority, even though they are a way of artistic expression that I have a particular passion for myself.
John Mansell: Do you prefer to work on a particular type or genre of movie, or are you happy working on all types of subject matter?
Nora Orlandi: I am happy working on any type of film, because it is always a very interesting artistic experience. As spectator I love very much thrillers… but unfortunately I haven’t had the opportunity to do many of these.
John Mansell: Have you ever had a score rejected, or have had to do a rush job on a film after another score had been discarded?
Nora Orlandi: Thankfully, this has never happened, I am very fortunate.
John Mansell: What do you think of the film music of today?
Nora Orlandi: In my opinion the film music of today is generally good… however, if it is music from yesterday or of today it is always film music: a “light” entertainment! This kind of music isn’t a committed artwork, but a “light” artwork with a specific beauty.
John Mansell: Would you say that you were influenced by any composers in particular, classical or film music composers?
Nora Orlandi: No, not really. For me to write music that is influenced by another composer would be very much like plagiarism, of course it is possible for this to be done unconsciously…
John Mansell: When a soundtrack recording is released on record or compact disc do you have any input into what music will go onto that release?
Nora Orlandi: When one of my soundtracks is released on record or CD, certainly I am very glad, but I’m not interested to intervene in the track’s selection. Once I finished my work of music composition I spend my time with other projects. I’m very busy!
John Mansell: Do you orchestrate all of your scores yourself?
Nora Orlandi: No, I don’t. It depends by the situation, the needs… and, most of all, by the time I can spend in it, so sometimes I work on them myself other times not.
John Mansell: Are you working on anything at the moment?
Nora Orlandi: Personally I’m busying myself with some very interesting teaching projects… But I always take into consideration what people offer to me.
Many thanks to Nora Orlandi. Also many thanks to Valentina of the press office at BEAT, and Daniele De Gemini, who’s help with this project has been invaluable.