Teatro dell'Opera di Roma
The main opera house in Rome is the Teatro dell’Opera, which is also known as the Teatro Constanzi. The theater was inaugurated in 1880 and was originally named after its founder, Domenico Costanzi. It was financed by Costanzi, who commissioned the Milanese architect Achille Sfondrini, a specialist in the building and renovation of theatres. The original Teatro Costanzi (1880-1926) The theater was built in the neoclassical style and featured ornate decorations, including frescoes and sculptures. Teatro Costanzi quickly became one of the most important cultural institutions in Rome, attracting both local and international audiences. The theater was known for its lavish productions, featuring some of the most famous operas of the time, including operas by Verdi, Rossini, and Puccini. Costanzi was obliged to manage the theater himself. Under his direction, and despite financial problems, the opera house held many world premieres of operas, including Cavalleria Rusticana by Pietro Mascagni on May 17th, 1890. For
May 2023
Alice Lechner
Grace Bumbry
“To strive for excellence, that’s the answer. If you strive for excellence, that means that you are determined. You will find a way to get to your goal, even if it means having to turn down some really great offers. You have to live with that, as you have to live with yourself.” (Grace Bumbry) Born on January 4th, 1937, in St. Louis, Missouri, Grace Bumbry is known for her outstanding renditions of both mezzosoprano and soprano roles and her remarkable stage presence. Bumbry trained in classical piano beginning at age 7 but determined she would become a singer after seeing Marian Anderson in a concert. Encouraged by all who knew her singing, Grace, age 16, won first prize in a local radio contest, which awarded her the opportunity to appear on the then famous “Arthur Godfrey Talent Scout Show”, where she sang “O Don Fatale” from Verdi’s Don Carlo. Grace
May 2023
Alice Lechner
Franco Zeffirelli
Gian Franco Corsi Zeffirelli was an Italian film director, producer, screenwriter, and stage director. He was born on February 12th, 1923, in Florence, Italy, and passed away on June 15th, 2019 in Rome, at the age of 96. His mother died when he was just six years old, and he grew up under the auspices of the English expatriate community and was particularly involved with the so-called Scorpioni, who inspired his semi-autobiographical film Tea with Mussolini (1999). Despite his difficult upbringing, he showed an early talent for the arts, particularly for drawing and painting. During World War II, Zeffirelli served in the Italian army and was captured by the British in North Africa. He spent time in a prisoner-of-war camp in Egypt, where he organized theatrical productions for his fellow prisoners. After the war, Zeffirelli studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence, where he developed his skills as
April 2023
Alice Lechner
Semperoper Dresden
In the Anniversary issue, the Theaters Around the World rubric takes us to Germany’s Saxon capital, Dresden. The city was first mentioned in historical records in 1206, and it quickly became an important center of trade and commerce. In the 16th century, Dresden became the capital of the Electorate of Saxony, a powerful state in the Holy Roman Empire. During this time, the city experienced a period of great cultural and artistic development, with many magnificent buildings and works of art being built and created here. In the 18th century, Dresden became a major cultural center of Europe, with renowned artists, musicians, and writers making the city their home. This period is known as the “Golden Age” of Dresden, and it saw the construction of many of the city’s famous landmarks, including the Zwinger Palace, the Frauenkirche, and the Semperoper. The Semperoper is one of the most famous and important
April 2023
Alice Lechner
Four last songs
What’s on the plate? We have chosen for you another good album that stands out for its interpretative depth, but also for its importance as reference material on the musical market – Rachel Willis-Sørensen’s Strauss: Four Last Songs under the label Sony Music Entertainment launched in October 2022. The album is a stunning recording that captures the essence of the german composer’s music – Richard Strauss. The lush orchestral accompaniment provided by the Gewandhausorchester under the baton of Andris Nelsons provides a perfect backdrop for Willis-Sørensen’s soaring vocal lines. I find the selection of works a successful mix concerning the period when the pieces were composed and in terms of atmosphere and message. The first half is Richard Strauss’s Vier letzte Lieder – Four Last Songs and the second is the closing scene of his final opera, Capriccio. For the second part, the soprano is joined by German bass Sebastian Pilgrim. Drawing on her rich vocal power and emotional range, Willis-Sørensen
March 2023
Maria-Isabela Nica
The Courtesan
Soprano Sonya Yoncheva needs no presentation, as she is well-known throughout the opera world. She is constantly present on the world’s greatest stages, interpreting a large variety of roles, from the Baroque up to the Verismo repertoire, appearing in the world’s most renowned opera houses. She has made numerous recordings, from live operas to collaborations on other artists’ solo recordings, as well as her own stand-alone albums. She has collaborated with numerous production labels, among them Decca, Deutsche Grammophon, and Sony Classical. This time around, the Bulgarian soprano brings forth a creation of her own record label, SY11 Productions, an album called The Courtesan. It was recorded in 2022 in Genoa, with the Orchestra dell’Opera Carlo Felice, under the baton of the maestro Marco Armiliato, and accompanied by the tenor Charles Castronovo in the duets. The works comprised are all from the XIXth and XXth century and they span a
March 2023
Alex Suciu
Drottningholm's Slottsteater
Historical Background Built-in 1766 for Queen Lovisa Ulrika, Drottningholm’s Slottsteater, or the Court Theatre of Drottningholm, is the only 18th-century venue in the world that still uses the original stage machinery and is one of the best preserved theatres from this time in the world. From an international perspective, the theater is a unique building, hiding a playful interior.  The salon has painted marbling, papier mâché consoles and plaster columns. To this day, the stage’s wooden ingenious machinery is still operated by hand. Drums, blocks, ropes, and counterweights make the great machinery work. Around thirty sets have been preserved – a theatrical world for an 18th-century repertoire. The rise, fall and reborn. Drottningholm Palace Theatre’s first period of glory began in 1777 when King Gustav III took over the palace. The big opera premières were often performed here, where a French theatre group and Sweden’s Royal Dramatic Theatre performed. With
March 2023
Antonia Berci
Elisabeth Schwarzkopf
Soprano Elisabeth Schwarzkopf is one of the most celebrated and iconic opera singers of the 20th century. Born in 1915 in Jarocin, Poland, she grew up in a musical family, with her father being a conductor and her mother a pianist. As a child, she sang in choirs and studied the violin, but soon realized her true passion lay in singing. She trained at the Berlin Hochschule für Musik, studying with Lula Mysz-Gmeiner and later with Maria Ivogün, learning a wide range of styles and techniques. Her first professional engagement was at the Berlin State Opera, in 1941, where she became an immediate sensation. She made her operatic debut as the Countess in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro. Her voice was described by the critics as a “velvet glove” – a combination of warmth and power that captivated audiences. She sang many of the great roles of the German repertoire,
March 2023
Maria-Isabela Nica
Aleksandra Szmyd
Aleksandra Szmyd is a rising star in the world of classical singing and has already received several awards for her vocal achievements. Aleksandra Szmyd, graduate of the Music Academy in Cracow in the class of Prof. Ryszard Karczykowski and the Musik und Kunst Privatuniversität der Stadt Wien at the faculty of Opera Master’s Programme in the class of Prof. Lina Watson. She graduated summa cum laude from both higher schools, also realized a post-graduate program at the Universität fur Musik und darstellende Kunst Wien, in the class of Prof. Claudia Visca. In February 2022, she won 2nd prize at the bel canto competition: „Competizione dell’Opera”. In August 2021, she became laureate and prize winner of the special award of the XII Elena Obraztsova International Opera Competition in St. Petersburg, than in December 2021, laureate and prize winner of the International Competition „City of Pisa”-Tribute to Titta Ruffo. In 2022, Aleksandra
March 2023
Bianca L. Nica
Woman. Life. Freedom. - Benefit Concert for Human Rights in Iran
On December 12, 2022, Oper Frankfurt hosted a profoundly unique evening titled “Woman.Life.Freedom”. It was a benefit concert produced by countertenor Cameron Shahbazi in collaboration with Opera for Peace, raising funds for the Abdorrahman Boroumand Center of Human Rights in Iran (ABC), and brightening the international spotlight on a community battling unthinkable darkness. The evening was recorded and available for streaming on IDAGIO. It was recently moved to Deutsche Grammophon’s streaming platform STAGE+ where it will remain available around the world.  This special evening cleverly combined inspirational speeches poetry, video messages and, of course, beautiful music. In addition, the printed programme featured many letters and essays giving context to the situation in Iran and urging us all to pay attention and support those bravely fighting for freedom. Each contribution to the evening’s success was donated voluntarily — and there were many. In fact, we list most of the names of those
February 2023
Bianca L. Nica
Virginia Zeani
This year, Virginia Zeani turned 95 years old. Celebration in West Palm Beach (Florida)- where the wonderful artist has lived since 1980- now a widow- her husband, the famous bass Nicola Rossi Lemeni died in 1991- but with her son’s family, Alessandro Rossi Lemeni. And, of course, a celebration for millions of fans, who continue to appreciate her career and celebrate her life. L’Assoluta Virgina Zeani It was written about Virginia Zeani – starting, it seems, from the statements of La Divina Maria Callas, that she was “the only rival recognized” by her. And that she would have had on stage, both – the “fire” of the soprano Montserrat Caballe, the “simplicity” of Ileana Cotrubaș and the “finesse” of Victoria de Los Angeles, as well as the eyes and brilliance of the Hollywood star Elisabeth Taylor. But more importantly, it was said that she could sing any role in the
November 2020
Luminița Arvunescu




Alice Lechner

Alice Lechner comes from a music-loving family. Her first encounter with the opera universe was at the tender age of six. The grandeur of the stage productions and costumes, the backstage chatter, and last, but definitely not least, the music left her in awe, beginning with Mozart’s Don Giovanni. The overall feeling that opera awakens in anyone who gets a glimpse into this part of artistic eternity, that each and every day passes the test of time, was what drew her to stay and be a part of this world. The Opera House of Brașov became her second home, and the people who worked there were her second family.

Since then, Alice has devoted her spare time to maximising her musical knowledge through instrumental studies, studying both piano and violin for a short time. In the following years, her number one passion stepped out of the limelight and graciously gave way to Law Studies.
Since 2018 she has been studying Law at “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University in Iași.

Her passion for opera, even if it is no longer her top professional priority in terms of career, it has most definitely become her priority during her free time. Wanting to experience the best of both worlds and extend her musical horizons, she regularly attends opera performances throughout Romania and abroad.
With OPERA Charm Magazine, Alice aims to nurture her creative side to help it flourish and bloom and to discover, alongside the magazine’s readers, the fascinatingly complex world of opera.

Currently, she is an LL.M. in Business Law at “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University in Iași.

Oana Zamfir

Oana Zamfir is a second year MA student at the “George Enescu” National University of Arts, at the Department of Musicology.

She studied violin for 12 years at the “Stefan Luchian” High School of Art in Botosani, later focusing on the theoretical aspects of music. In 2019 she completed her bachelor studies in Musicology as a student of the National Academy of Music “Gheorghe Dima” in Cluj-Napoca. Her research during 2018-2019 brought to the forefront elements of the archaic ritual within works of composers who activated during the communist period, giving her the opportunity to start a research internship at the “Carl von Ossietzky” University in Germany. In this context, she recorded conversations with members of the Sophie Drinker Institute in Bremen, and had access to documents directly from the Myriam Marbé archive.

Since 2019 she has been a teacher of Music Education and Theoretical Music Studies, making full use of interactive methods in the musical training of students and working, at the same time, with the children’s choir founded in the first year of her activity.

Her interests include pursuing a degree in interior design in 2020.

Alexandru Suciu

Alexandru Suciu inherited his passion for art growing up in a family of several generations of musicians. He began his musical studies at the “Augustin Bena” School of Music in Cluj, where he studied piano and guitar. Even though his main study direction was philological, his passion for music prevailed. He began his academical journey at the Faculty of Letters of the “Babeș-Bolyai” University, studying Comparative literature and English. He continued by studying Opera Singing at the “Gheorghe Dima” National Music Academy. He also graduated the Musical Education section, followed by Artistic Directing at the Musical Performing Arts department.

His multidisciplinary education opened the doors towards research, which is seen both through his participation in national and international conferences and symposia, such as the Salzburg Easter School PhD-forum, organized by the Salzburg Universität or the Silesian Meeting of Young Scholars, organized by the Institute of English at the University of Silesia, as well as the collaboration with Opera Charm Magazine.

During his student years, he won several prizes, including the Grand Prize at the “Paul Constantinescu” National Musical Interpretation Competition, the Romanian Composers and Musicologists’ Union Prize at the same competition, the First Prize and the Schubert Prize at the “Ada Ulubeanu” Competition.

He further developed his artistic skills by specializing in courses and masterclasses held by personalities such as Vittorio Terranova, Giuseppe Sabbatini, Marian Pop, Ines Salazar, Riccardo Zanellato, Paolo Bosisio, Valentina Farcaș and Manuel Lange in contexts such as the Internationale Sommerakademie für Operngesang Deutschlandsberg, Corso Internazionale di Canto Lirico I.M.C. Licata or the Europäische Akademie für Musik und darstellende Kunst Montepulciano. Besides his activity on-stage, he currently teaches Opera Singing Didactics, and Pedagogical Practice within the Department for Teacher Education and Training at the “Gheorghe Dima” National Music Academy.

Cristina Fieraru

Cristina is a 24 year-old Romanian soprano & a student at the National University of Music Bucharest, where she pursues the MA program in Vocal Performance.

She made her debut in Pamina from “Die Zauberflöte” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart at only 19 years old at the Bucharest National Opera House, as a member of the Ludovic Spiess Experimental Opera Studio. Over the years she made her debut in roles such as Contessa d’Almaviva (Le nozze di Figaro), Mimì & Musetta (La Bohème), Alice Ford (Falstaff), Erste Dame (Die Zauberflöte) in her university’s opera productions.
Her passion and experience extends in the field of choral music, too.

She has been part of our dream team since the fall of 2021. For a good period of time she took care of OPERA Charm’s social media and took you on the monthly journey through the history of opera through our Legends rubric – and a few times through the Theaters around the World rubric.

Her little soul rubric – from 2021 to present – is definitely the Conductors of the Future, where, every month, she gives you the chance to meet a young star of the world of conducting and, of course, to find out what’s the most charming feature of opera in these artists’ views.


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