(also Inva Mula-Çako
, born 1963) is an opera soprano
born in Tirana
. Coming from an artistic family, she began her opera career at a very early age. Her father, Avni Mula
, is a famous Albanian singer and composer, born in Gjakova
, a city in The Republic of Kosova
In 1987 she won the "Cantante d'Albania" competition in Tirana
and in 1988 the George Enescu
Competition in Bucharest
. In 1992 she won the "Butterfly" Competition in Barcelona
. She received an award at Plácido Domingo's
contest in Paris
, 1993. A CD
of the event was released.
She later performed in various concerts with the famous tenor at the Opéra Bastille in Paris, and in Brussels for "Europalia Mexico", in Munich, and in Oslo. In 1996 she performed Luigi Cherubini's opera Médée (which was taped for TV) at Compiègne in France. She then returned for Georges Bizet's opera La Jolie fille de Perth (released CD, filmed for TV, and released DVD in Japan) in 1998. After this she recorded Puccini's La Rondine with Angela Gheorghiu for EMI and for 2005's stage production she took Gheorghiu's place in the leading role of Magda during performances in Toulouse and Paris.
Later on, she performed Bizet's Ivan IV concert version, which had its recital debut at Salle Pleyel in Paris, and a live recording was released as CD. In 2001, she was busy in Italy, performing Verdi's Falstaff at the Teatro alla Scala and Rigoletto at the Arena di Verona, both of which were taped for TV then released on DVD.
Mula is a regular performer at La Scala, where she has sung in Lucia di Lammermoor, La bohème, and Manon, among others. She is also a renowned Violetta in La Traviata, and has sung the role in many cities around the world, including Tokyo, Bilbao, Orange, Trieste, and Toronto. In 2007, she performed Adina in L'elisir d'amore at Toulouse.
Her husband Pirro Çako is a well-known singer and composer from Albania, so she used the spelling Tchako rather than Çako. However, after mid-1990 she began using the name Inva Mula, and never returned to the old one.
Brief incursion in the film industry
Mula is perhaps best-known to the American pop culture as the voice behind the Diva Plavalaguna (the very tall, blue space alien singing in the film The Fifth Element
(where she is credited as Inva Mulla Tchako).
In the film (released 1997) she performed an aria
from Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor
(the mad scene), and "The Diva Dance" song. Director Luc Besson
adored Maria Callas
, but her 1950s recording of "Lucia" wasn't clear enough to use on a film soundtrack, so the producer who had just helped Mula record La Rondine
introduced her to Besson. Her vocalizations seem beyond physical possibility, but it was stated in the movie's Special Edition documentary that her voice was not digitally altered (in "The Diva Dance" song however, at a point precisely 1 min. 06 secs., a distinct wind instrument can be heard overdubbing