Romanian soprano Angela Gheorghiu has held a recital at the White House, in the presence of US president Barack Obama and the first lady, Michelle Obama. Gheorghiu’s recital took place on the occasion of the 32nd Kennedy Center Honors Gala, which pays homage to artists who have contributed to American culture. She showed up with a good friend, American soprano Grace Bumbry. The gala was also attended by actors Meryl Streep, Robert de Niro, Sharon Stone and Ben Stiller, director Martin Scorsese, singer Bruce Springsteen, and pianist Dave Brubeck. Gheorghiu is one of the most famous contemporary opera singers, having sung in prestigious venues all over the world. Her voice is said by international critics to resemble a combination of the voices of two famous singers, Maria Callas and Renata Tebaldi. She debuted at the Royal Opera House in London in 1992 with a part in Don Giovanni. In 1994, she debuted in Covent Garden in Traviata, directed by Sir Georg Solti. The show was aired live on the BBC, which cleared its schedule for the performance.