When did you decide to become an opera singer?
I first decided to become an opera singer while singing in the choir of Transylvania Philharmonic in Cluj, my hometown, listening to wonderful musicians and singers, and watching brilliant conductors performing and making music together.
You began your musical journey as a pianist… how it helped in your career as a singer and your experience as a musician?
It is paramount, in my view, for the development of an international opera singer to have a solid musical education. Being a pianist aided me in that way, providing all the theoretical and practical background of a classically trained musician.
Romania is a land of great voices. Who are your models from the past and today?
Indeed, Romania does have a lot of great voices, perhaps also because it is a land that houses multiple cultures and talents. I would say I am a person who has paid attention to a lot of singers and teachers and was able to “steal” and take from each of them things that work for me as a singer and as a person, thus being able to use these elements to find my path.
The bass voice is connected to Verdi, and one of your first roles was Sparafucile in Rigoletto: what do you think of the roles that Verdi created for the basses?
I feel that singing a Verdian bass role is quite challenging and rewarding at the same time, as he feels to be one of the composers who have demanded the most out of this voice type. Verdi’s arias are predominant in my repertoire because his roles are remarkable from a musical aesthetics standpoint, and my voice meets most of the requirements needed to perform such roles.
Do you think the “voce Verdiana” is a legend, or it exists, and what are its characteristics?
Yes, I do believe it exists. As far as a verdian bass is concerned, I think the composer had a unique approach to writing music, demanding many different elements from his singers – voice, timbre, register, legato, strength, intention, lyrics, etc. In Verdi’s composition, the mature bass voice shines in all its glory. And since the bass voice is a low register, thus low-frequency voice, everything slows down and is centred not around its virtuosity but its natural, bold character.
Last year you won a special prize for the Best performance in Verdi’s repertoire and the award of Internationale OpernWerkstatt at the Viñas Competition: what were the emotions for these two great achievements, and what do you think about singing competitions? Do you recommend young singers to do this experience?
All the emotions that a person experiences during a trial are a great challenge, not unlike Tamino in Die Zauberflöte. I am convinced that all of the 557 of us were doing our very best, still, these great contests are like a test to see who are those who manage to remain within the confines of art as such when faced with such a high-level jury and such immense pressure.
I wholeheartedly recommend young singers to participate in singing competitions because I believe nothing provides a great opportunity for growth and progress before, during and after a competition than attending such high-pressure and high-level events.
You recently sang the leading role of Le luthier de Crémone by Jenő Hubay: tell us something about this experience.
First of all, it was a great privilege for me to be able to sing during these challenging times after a four-month hiatus. The musical style of Hubay’s operatic world is quite eclectic, thus raising certain vocal challenges. One has to provide both the lyrical segments sung in a higher register and pay attention to the articulation of words during those musical fragments with a more dramatic accompaniment.
My next projects are: the title role of Don Pasquale in Cluj at the Hungarian State Opera in February of this year, Carmen‘s Zuniga at the Hungarian State Opera in Cluj in April, followed by the role of the Doctor in Pelléas and Mélisande at Budapest, in May; and Un carceriere in Puccini’s Tosca, at the Salzburger Festspiele, three Master-Classes with renowned singers and vocal coaches, as well as concerts within the Young Singers Project 2021.
Thank you very much, dear Alexander!