Sascha Goetzel

The most important aspect is developing a unique artistic voice and a genuine passion for music.


by Alex Suciu
August 17, 2023
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One of the conductors who successfully splits his time and attention between conducting symphonic works and opera, Mr. Goetzel lets us in on insights regarding such topics as his involvement with the RLIOF (Rame Lahaj International Opera Festival), where he is an honorary board member, the differences and similarities of conducting works belonging to the two aforementioned genres. He also shares his view on the most important aspects regarding a conductor’s career today, and the challenges an up-and-coming conductor faces.


Born and raised in Vienna, Goetzel trained as a violinist and began his studies with Richard Österreicher in Austria and Jorma Panula at the Sibelius Academy. He furthered his education in the United States, working with Seiji Ozawa, Riccardo Muti, Andre Previn, Zubin Mehta, and Bernhard Haitink. In addition to attending the Music University in Graz and Brooklyn College, Goetzel was a Fellow at the Tanglewood Music Festival for two summers. His previous posts include Principal Guest Conductor of the Kanagawa Philharmonic (2013-2017) and the Orchestre Symphonique de Bretagne (2012-2015), as well as Principal Conductor of the Kuopio Symphony Orchestra, in Finland (2006-2012). In 2014, he made an electric debut at the Vienna State Opera conducting Le Nozze di Figaro, which led to six return engagements—productions of FledermausLa BohèmeDon GiovanniRigoletto, Magic Flute and Rosenkavalier. Goetzel has also appeared at the Mariinsky Theatre, Zürich Opera House, Tokyo Nikikai Opera Company in Tokyo’s Bunka Kaikan, Opéra de Rennes, Wiener Volksoper, and Opéra de Montpellier. Goetzel and the Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra have released several award-winning albums on the Deutsche Grammophon, Onyx, and Warner labels featuring works by Turnage, Tchaikovsky, Berlioz, Bizet, Rimsky-Korsakov, Respighi, Hindemith, and Schmitt.   Committed to music education and an advocate for the arts in general, Goetzel is also Co-Founder and Chief Creative Director of the Vienna Art Network, a new digital platform supporting independent musicians and artists; Artistic Director of Music for Peace (El Sistema-Turkey); a conducting mentor at Dirigentloftet, a program in Norway focused on developing young conductors; and Director and Co-Founder of Opera by the Fjord, an innovative academy and festival for aspiring singers and instrumentalists in partnership with the Bergen National Opera. During his 11 season tenure as Principle Conductor and Artistic Director of the Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra, he contributed significantly to the ensemble. His imaginative programming, award-winning recordings, and widely praised performances—including tours to the Salzburg Festival, BBC Proms, Royal Concertgebouw, Vienna’s Musikverein, Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, and Hong Kong Arts Festival—are among his notable accomplishments. Next to his Music Director positions with the ONPL in France and NYO- Canada, Goetzel currently holds the Principle Guest Conductor position of the Sofia Philharmonic and applies his same gifts as an orchestra builder, improving the caliber of the ensemble and burnishing its reputation. Goetzel has appeared a number of prominent orchestras—the NHK Symphony Orchestra, Munich Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Dresden Philharmonic, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre National de France, Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire, as well as the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Tonkünstler Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo, Orchestre National de Bordeaux-Aquitaine, and Radio Symphony Orchestra of Vienna—collaborating with major soloists, among them Daniil Trifonov, Joyce Di Donato, Yuja Wang, Maxim Vengerov, Julian Rachlin, Anna Netrebko, Renee Fleming, Brandon Marsalis, Ian Bostridge, and Murray Perahia, among many others.

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Dear Mr. Goetzel, thank you for having accepted our invitation! This month the Rame Lahaj International Opera Festival (RLIOF) will take place. As an honorary board member of the festival, how would you describe your role and the influence you hope to have on the festival’s direction, especially in light of its aim to enrich […]

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Alice Lechner

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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