interview by Aneta Mackovski
Biljana Staffansson and Ljiljana Jovanovich join me in today’s Lifestyle Lounge to discuss the intricacies of what it means to have a fulfilled lifestyle and their passion for performing. They are twin sisters and coloratura sopranos known to the public as child musical prodigies. Since the tender age of four, Biljana and Ljiljana perform together on stages all over Europe and in many different languages. At the age of nine, they gave their first performance on television with a duet from “The Magic Flute” by Mozart which solidified their powerful presence on the international scene and in the wonderful world of opera and concert performance. Their repertoire includes performances of both opera and concerts from composers such as Mozart, Bellini, Donizetti, Verdi and Chopin, as well as Nordic and other world renounced composers. A highlight of their career is their performance in the presence of King Carl the XVI Gustaf of Sweden and Queen Silvia.
What does the concept LIFESTYLE mean to you?
Biljana: To me, lifestyle means to live a life that fulfills your dreams and aspirations-in my case music and my singing are a very important part of my lifestyle. Also, my father was my idol; both my sister and I live by the words he would often tell us when we would enter into complicated situations in life: “whatever happens around you or inside of you, if it is something unpleasant, smile at it and distance yourself.” I never forget his words and, I remember them when I need the strength to deal with anything intricate in life.
Lljiljana: I am a singer and a pianist, I consider performing a great part of my lifestyle. When I perform I feel conscious of being in the present; this is a feeling that energizes me and brings me immense joy. I also believe we should strive to appreciate and enjoy every moment in life.
Do you aspire to involve your life passions into your daily routine and do you believe that this would further an authentic lifestyle?
Biljana: Yes I do. For me my life is not complete without music and, I definitely have make time in my daily routine to sing and to focus on music. I feel that no lifestyle would be authentic without caring for your passions and the things that make you feel whole and contempt.
Ljiljana: Of course! Throughout our career as a soprano duet, my sister and I have been told that notes on musical paper are dead without our voices. Every time I perform, I feel that I give life to the great musical pieces created by genius composers. I am happy that I am able to channel the joy of art and music to the audience. This feeling is alive in my daily routine because even when I am not performing for an audience I fill my days with singing. I believe that happiness is doing what you love to do, every day!
Where do you look for inspiration and motivation to achieve your lifestyle goals?
Biljana: You can find inspiration and motivation everywhere- in nature, in being with your family and being with your friends. I truly cherish the time spent with my family and friends and this is an endless fountain of motivation and inspiration for me. Traveling is another way for me to get in touch with nature and different cultures which never seize to fascinate me and inspire me to be the best person and singer that I can be.
Ljiljana: My inspiration and motivation comes from my work as an opera singer and from my family and friends. They ground me and support me in my quest to follow my dreams and achieve my goals.
What do you consider to be healthy and gratifying lifestyle and what is your advice in creating and sustaining it?
Biljana: A healthy diet and a balanced inner harmony are crucial to a healthy and gratifying life style. Striving to minimize our daily stress levels is not easy but, I found that yoga and meditation have helped me immensely in achieving my inner peace. Listening to music and singing also are a very important part of my quest for inner peace and happiness. I don’t have a universal recipe, however, everyone has to find the time to achieve his/her own harmony in life. It is time well worth spending with great rewards.
Ljiljana: Being conscious of the present, living in the now, being thankful for what I have, and finding a pursuit that transfers me into a meditative state are my ways of creating a beautiful existence. I am blessed to have a talent with which I can touch other people, singing affords me that meditative state. I try to stay healthy and fit so that I can perform on the highest level. I like the vegan diet and I like to exercise like hiking, swimming, and to do activities that will get me moving and out and about. This combination of creativity, diet and exercise has afforded me a healthy body and mind.
Living in Macedonia is exciting and distinct. Please share your impressions of your favorite places you have visited in Macedonia.
Biljana: Macedonia is one of the most beautiful countries in Europe with spectacular nature and many beautiful churches and monasteries. Of all the places I have visited so far in Macedonia, I would say Ohrid is my favorite place. When I visit Ohrid I feel peace, and the undeniable energy of centuries past. I enjoy visiting the churches and the gorgeous view of Lake Ohrid. Mavrovo, Skopska Crna Gora, Berovo and Shara are absolutely breath taking with their nature and, the lovely native people are ones of the most generous and welcoming people I have met.
Ljiljana: I live in Belgrade and I visit Skopje often as Biljana and I rehearse and work together on our upcoming projects. I truly enjoy visiting Macedonia.