Jochen Schönleber

It is not enough to be a good singer; you must make almost daily reminders about yourself and your qualities.


by Alex Suciu
August 20, 2023
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If you are intrigued about the thought process that stands behind organizing and running an opera festival, read on and you will find out in the following pages. Jochen Schönleber has been the manager of Rossini in Wildbad for 34 years now, also taking on the role of the director of all the major productions. We talked with him about artistic quality, the impact social media has on artists today, choosing unconventional venues for shows within Rossini in Wildbad, as well as the festival’s young artists programme, the Akademie.


After early film work, humanities studies at the Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen and scholarships at the Istituto Italiano per gli Studi Filosofici in Naples, in 1985/86 he became an assistant to Yuri Ljubimov at the Staatstheater in Stuttgart and Karlsruhe and to Beckett's collaborator Helfrid Foron in Tubingen 1986; he was also the production manager at the Landeskunstwochen in Tübingen. From 1987 to 1993 he was responsible for the International Concert Programme and for chamber opera productions in Sindelfingen and also held the position of artistic director at the Theaterkeller. Since that time he has been active as a director in thefields of spoken and musical theatre,Schönleber became artistic director of the ailing Rossini Opera Festival in Wildbad in 1992 and has developed the festival since into a world-renowned experimental site for bel canto talents, works by Rossini, unknownworks and the entire bel canto repertoire. He initiated a number of world premieres and first performances, including two works by Wolfgang Rihm, Stockhausen, Kagel, Schnebel, Carlucci, Taralli and others. However, modern first performances of classical bel canto works were particularly numerous, including works by Rossini, Meyerbeer, Mercadante and Pacini , Generali, Mayr, Pavesi and many others. Schönleber has also been the founding director of the BelCanto Academy since 2004. He has produced numerous CDs of the bel canto repertoire, especially for the classical label NAXOS. Schönleber attracted numerous young bel canto talents to Bad Wildbad, such as Agata Bienkowska in 1998 or Pavol Breslik in 2000, who became a soloist for a CD recording from the choir. The establishment of the BelCanto Academy in Bad Wildbad in 2004 created the opportunity to promote numerous young top talents: In the founding project of the Academy, the young Joyce DiDonato sang Cenerentola under Alberto Zedda. The recording at the NAXOS label is still considered a reference recording. DiDonato, Zedda, Pratico, as well as Kurt Widmer, taught in this project, in which the Bavarian Theater Academy August Everding took part with a group of students. The academy was joined by Olga Peretyatko, Michael Spyres, Jessica Pratt, Diana Haller, Serena Saenz, Marina Viotti, Sara Blanch and many more. visited, whose careers Schönleber promoted. Several of the above were awarded the festival's International BelCanto Prize. Schönleberteaches regularly at the BelCanto Academy and has given courses at the Opera Studio of the University of Alcalà and the Escuela de Canto superior in Madrid, at the Accademia del Maggio musicale Firenze, at the Academy Concertante Barcelona and at the Tongji University, Shanghai

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Dear Mr Schönleber, thank you for having accepted our invitation! Your part in the Rossini in Wildbad Festival is crucial for it to work properly. You have multiple roles within the inner workings of the festival, but the most visible ones are those of Intendant and director. What does it mean to lead a festival […]

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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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