Carmen at Wiener Staatsoper


by Bianca L. Nica
March 14, 2022



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Once again, we want to thank Wiener Staatsoper, OPERA Charm Magazine’s newest friend, for hosting us on this special night! We felt and proud to be able to attend this performance of Tosca performance on the February 28th, staring the tenor VITTORIO GRIGÒLO, the Russian soprano  ELENA STIKHINA and the baritone ROBERTO F RONTALI – a performance concluded with a very touching moment, an example of artists that put their artistry in the service of the world, an example of solidarity!

The success of Margarethe Wallmann’s production, with Nicola Benois’ sets and costumes, has stood the test of time since 1958 and it was a delight to watch it in an almost full theater, finally, after Wiener Staatsoper has finally lifted the restrictions regarding the health situation imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic situation for its audience. The staging that has garnered interest on account of its symbolic allure, of the impressive number of renowned artistic personalities who have appeared in front of the Viennese audience in this production and of the gorgeous costumes, continued now, in this February-March 2022 series of performances, its outstanding nights with the presence of the tenor VITTORIO GRIGÒLO & the Russian soprano ELENA STIKHINA in her Viennese role debut.

VITTORIO GRIGÒLO, full of energy, pathos, as sparkly as ever in one of his signature roles, Mario Cavaradossi – a role that suits better than repertoire range that the tenor is about to reach by debuting Don José on the same stage, the one of the Wiener Staatsoper on April 1st, a performance that we’re very much looking forward to seeing! Grigòlo is always a certainty of beautiful singing – a bit out of norms at times, but it that’s part of his charm, isn’t it? – and great stage involvement, acting skills and charisma. And the Viennese public enjoyed this temperament of the tenor fully, considering the over 10 minutes standing ovation!

ELENA STIKHINA, acclaimed on the stages of the Metropolitan Opera in New York and Royal Opera House, among many other important theaters in the world. proved herself to be a wonderful Tosca for her 2nd performance ever on the stage of the Wiener Staatsoper. In the first act, lovely, almost naive and delicate,  but very precise in her singing, Stikhina showed the entire range of colours her voice is capable of across the third acts, slicing through the orchestra with ease in the most dramatic moments of the opera. Bravissima Tosca, definitely one of the best ones of our times!

 Regarding Scarpia, ROBERTO FRONTALI could have brought more of the character feature on stage, his cynicism & cruelty, considering the generous score that the composer puts in the service of the villan, but there’s nothing we can say about Frontali’s singing – well centred, confident, persuasive, as the baritone is a veteran of this role. Frontali avoids many of the interpretative cliché, a choice that I personally admire. 

Completing the cast, there were MARTIN HÄßLER (Angelotti), WOLFGANG BANKL (Mesner), ANDREA GIOVANNINI (Spoletta), ATTILA MOKUS (Sciarrone), ILJA KAZAKOV (Un carceriere). On the podium, the great M° MARCO ARMILIATO guided the magnificent orchestra of Wiener Staatsoper, one of the best orchestral ensembles in the world, managing to take good care of the unleashed Grigòlo and his very passional singing! 

For the standing ovations, Grigòlo showed up in front of his public wearing a T-Shirt with the message NO WAR, both with the flags of Ukraine and Russia. He hugged Stikhina, one of the very few Russian singer still performing in Europe after Russia’s attacks towards Ukraine, visibly overwhelmed by emotion. Wiener Staatsoper changed its lighting system on its facade, writing PEACE instead of the usual titles of the operas performed or of the special guests. So, from the very first step into the opera house we felt embraced by this energy. The words E non ho amato mai tanto la vita! of Cavatadossi’s aria have never been louder and clearer for any of us. 

This is the aim of the art, of the live performance!

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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