Nina van Essen

I think it’s important to realize that nobody else can tell you what step is your next one and why it’s good for you.


by Cristina Fieraru
August 20, 2023
Read the entire



of opera charm magazine


We know how much you enjoy all our encounters with the future opera stars & today we are overjoyed to bring into your attention one of the most promising artists of nowadays, the amazingly talented mezzo-soprano Nina van Essen! Just after winning the Concorso Lirico Internazionale di Portofino, where she was honored with the First Prize and the Best Female Voice Prize, Nina accepted Cristina Fieraru’s invitation for a Charming beginnings interview. In this interview they approached all the important aspects of this particular journey. Nina shared her thoughts on how hard it can be breaking through & becoming successful nowadays and also answered some questions that “haunt” us nowadays, such as “is the voice enough in order to have a successful career?”, or “is the beauty of a woman a threat or a challenge in this industry?”. We know that you are as curious as we are, so make yourselves comfortable and enjoy! Meanwhile, don’t forget to follow her on her social media accounts and support her along this beautiful journey.


Nina van Essen has been part of the ensemble of Staatsoper Hannover since 2019. Some of her roles performed there are Hänsel from Hänsel und Gretel by Humperdinck, Rosina from Barbiere di Siviglia by Rossini, Mercédès from George Bizet’s Carmen, Messagero/Proserpina in Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo, Ruggiero from Händel's Alcina, Piacere from Händel's Il Trionfo, Romeo from Vincenzo Bellini’s I Capuleti e I Montecchi and Orfeo in Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice, Cherubino and Dorabella from Mozart’s classics Le nozze di Figaro and Cosi fan tutte. Nina has worked with some of the world’s leading stage directors, for example, Lydia Steier, Immo Karaman, Barbora Horáková, Tatjana Gürbaca Elizabeth Stöppler, and Julien Chavaz. Other engagements include collaborations with Oper Leipzig, Serie Grote Zangers, ASKO Schönberg Ensemble, ZaterdagMatinee at Concertgebouw, Grachtenfestival, Nouvel Opéra de Fribourg, The Dutch National Opera &Ballet, together with world-leading conductors like Anthony Hermus, Reinbert de Leeuw, Kenneth Montgomery, Alexander Joel, Alessandro Bonato, Michele Spotti, Sir Mark Elder, Boudewijn Jansen, Marc Albrecht and more. Her extensive concert repertoire includes Mezzo/Alto solo parts in Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, Mozart’s Mass in C minor, Rossini’s Petite Messe Solenelle, and orchestral song cycles such as Les nuits d’été de Berlioz and Ravel’s Trois poèmes de Stephane Mallarmé. Masterclasses Nina received from, amongst others, Peter Berne, Meinard Kraak, Alain Garichot, Angelika Kirchschlager, Nadine Secunde, Claron McFadden, Ira Siff, Anna Bonitatibus and Pietro Spagnoli. In the ninth edition of Concorso Lirico di Portofino in Italy, Nina won the first prize ánd the best female voice award, in the International Vocalist competition in 's-Hertogenbosch Nina won the audience prize, the Annett Andriessen concert prize (tour in China) and an engagement with the Residentie Orchestra. Nina was a finalist in the Tenor Viñas Competition in the Liceu Barcelona. Nina graduated cum laude from the Dutch National Opera Academy, where she was taught by Sasja Hunnego. For this program she received a scholarship from the Miluška Duffková foundation. In the context of an Erasmus Exchange she studied in France, Lyon at the C.N.S.M.D, where she worked with singing teacher Soprano Francoise Pollet.
Nina received her Bachelor degree summa cum laude, with distinction at the Royal Conservatoire of The Hague, the Netherlands. Nina is world-wide represented by Artista International, Franziska Hunke and mainly works with vocal teacher Neil Semer.

Read more

Read less


Dear Nina, we are thrilled to have you here and to welcome you in our big charming musical family! Thank you for accepting our invitation and congratulations for your triumph in the CLIP! I would like to start our conversation from the very beginning, where does your love for opera come from and who inspired […]

Your access is restricted because you don’t have a subscription or your subscription doesn’t include this type of content.
Already have an account?
Buy one of our subscription to get access to our exclusive content


Diana Skavronskaya
God blessed me to be a lyric soprano, and my voice has a very rich and beautiful timbre. I can convey the intensity and vulnerability of my character with ease. That being said, I rather like tragedy roles.
November 2023
Alice Lechner
David Costa Garcia
It's not just about the voice; you need to learn to be a good actor, understand the music, know how to read music, etc.
November 2023
Cristina Fieraru

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.


Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consetetur sadipscing elitr, sed diam nonumy eirmod tempor invidunt ut labore et dolore magna aliquyam erat, sed diam voluptua. At vero eos et accusam et justo duo dolores et ea rebum. Stet clita kasd gubergren, no sea takimata sanctus est Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consetetur