“The Virginia Zeani Royal Opera Festival” brings top european music industry reps and acts to Romania

Romania announces the third edition of “The Virginia Zeani Royal Opera Festival”, which will take place in Târgu-Mureș, Cluj and Reghin, Romania, May 31 – July 7, 2019. The festival will gather top representatives from the European opera industry for The Voice Competition L’Assoluta Virginia Zeani, and also for concerts and high-profile special events, held in three of the most charming and picturesque cities in Transylvania. Events are programmed in the breathtaking Palace of Culture from Târgu-Mureș, at the Hungarian Opera of Cluj-Napoca or at The Culture House of Reghin.

Hailed as an incomparable actress with a golden voice, Nelly Miricioiu is among the guests of the International Opera Festival Virginia Zeani’s Third Edition. La Scala, Covent Garden or Metropolitan Opera of New York are only some of the prestigious stages on which Nelly Miricioiu regularly appeared. International renowned soprano and teacher, Nelly Miricioiu was universally acclaimed for her sound, beautifully constructed technique and exceptional theatrical stage presence. Nelly Miricioiu is gaining a reputation as one of the most desired and respected voice teachers – in demand in the UK and internationally. Alongside her own busy private teaching schedule, she is a mentor for the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and a regular visiting professor with the London Masterclasses.

Along with soprano Nelly Miricioiu, the festival announces internationally renowned guests from the UK, Germany, Italy, Turkey or Hungary, including Peter Mario Katona – for over 20 years Director of Casting at The Royal Opera House Covent Garden. Katona has built a reputation as one of the most experienced and respected casting directors working today and he has given important early career opportunities to a number of the world’s leading opera singers. Among those who confirmed their presence in Romania is Larisa Gergieva – a major cultural figure in vocal music internationally, artistic director of several cultural institutions in Finland, Russia, Ukraine and North Ossetia. Larisa Gergieva is Artistic Director of the Mariinsky Academy of Young Opera Singers, the State Opera and Ballet Theatre of the Republic of Northern Ossetia-Alania (Vladikavkaz) and the Digora State Drama Theatre. Among invited guests is also the artistic counselor of the Norwegian National Opera, Pal Christian Moe, Director of Casting for numerous opera theaters of the world, such as the National Opera in Paris, Chicago or Munich. Moe served as artistic administrator at the Paris Opera and spent half a decade in Hamburg at Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft, where he was executive producer and director of vocal productions.

Also confirming her presence in Târgu-Mureş is the Head of Artistic Administration of the Hungarian State Opera, Emese Soós. She was part of the managing teams for major European festivals, from the Haydn Festival in Fertőd, to the Contemporary Music Days in Balatonföldvár. She spent ten years managing the Budapest Jewish Summer Festival and coordinated the communication departments of some high-profile cultural institutions, such as the Hungarian State Opera House and the Miskolc National Theater.

The Principal Conductor of the Third Edition of the Virginia Zeani Festival is Vladimir Lungu. He is a permanent collaborator of the Romanian National Opera of Cluj-Napoca, professor at the Dokuz Eylül State Conservatory of Izmir and permanent collaborator of the State Opera House of Izmir. Throughout his career, musician Vladimir Lungu has worked with many of the world’s leading art personalities, from Argentine tenor and conductor José Cura, to the Russian-American violinist Alexander Markov.

 “The Festival came to life from our desire to pay tribute to Virginia Zeani’s personality, whose artistic journey reveals a sublime percourse, an impressive career that reveals the destiny of a thirteen-year-old, who started up a modest life in a Transylvanian village. She became an adored diva on the greatest stages of the world, receiving the title of ’’prima donna assoluta’’. The voice competition L’Assoluta Virginia Zeani offers young artists the opportunity to face a jury of international caliber, comprised of personalities representing some of the most important theaters in the world. At the same time, they have a rare opportunity to refine their own vocal interpretation under the guidance of great artists who are leading the Festival’s Masterclasses. The performances on the festival’s stage over its two previous editions prove our desire to achieve artistic productions of the highest level, meeting the expectations of a most demanding public and providing beautiful moments to the wider audience”, says musician Péter Kolcsár, Artistic Director of the Festival.

“We invite you to enjoy together the pristine experience offered by Virginia Zeani Royal Opera Festival in 2019, while becoming the most important supporters of Mureș’s county classical music project”, says Marian Jurgiu, general manager of the Festival


THE VOICE COMPETITION. Young artists from Iran, Australia, South Korea, Serbia or Armenia compete this year in the prestigious “L’Assoluta Virginia Zeani Royal Voice Competition” for the Grand Trophy that, by the courtesy of the Royal House of Romania, bears the coat of King Michael I of Romania. The voice competition L’Assoluta Virginia Zeani offers young artists the opportunity of confronting a jury of international caliber, composed of personalities representing the most important theaters in the world and at the same time, the rare opportunity to refine their own vocal interpretation under the guidance of great artists who are leading the Festival’s masterclasess.

The Royal Opera Festival “Virginia Zeani” is organized by the “Together on Top” Association, in partnership with the Prefect Institution – Mures County, the Mures County Council and the Town Hall in Targu Mures. The event has won a prestigious place among the first three most important competitions of the lyrical scene hosted by Romania and takes a symbolic bow to the career of Transylvanian born VirginiaZeani, one of the most important sopranos of the world. At 93, soprano Virginia Zeani currently lives in Florida, the United States of America.

ABOUT VIRGINIA ZEANI. Virginia Zeani is the soprano whose voice fascinated the world’s most demanding critics during the golden age of the opera history. One of the stars of the lyrical scenes of the 1950s and 1970s, Virginia Zeani is an artist who, through grace and sensibility, doubled by education, has maintained among the most important personalities of the lyrical world during 30 years of brilliant artistic career. For 25 years she was the ‘Prima Donna Assoluta’ of the Opera Theater in Rome. As a singer, she was known for her dramatic intensity and the beauty, wide range, and suppleness of her voice which allowed her to sing a repertoire of 69 roles ranging from the heroines in belcanto operas by Rossini and Donizetti to those of Wagner, Puccini and Verdi. She maintained her reputation during the age of the great divas of the lyrical world, Callas, Tebaldi, Caballé, Birgit Nilsson. Virginia Zeani, fascinated the world. Either in the delicate role of Violetta in La Traviata or as Mimi in La Boeme. Maria Callas herself once said that Virginia Zeani is the only lyrical artist of the world who can give her real emotions. Virginia Zeani encouraged artists as Luciano Pavarotti and Plácido Domingo at the beginning of their career. To start the musical education with Aureliano Pertile, then to sing with Beniamino Gigli, FerruccioTagliavini, Giuseppe di Stefano, Richard Tucker, up to Luciano Pavarotti and Placido Domingo means to cross the glory of an outstanding era of the human voice, that of the greatest opera singers of the time. She was admired by the legendary conductor Arturo Toscanini – the illustrious master of the famous Maria Callas. She also enjoyed the friendship of Renata Tebaldi and Magda Olivero, among other musicians, like Beniamino Gigli, Mario del Monaco or Franco Corelli.

Virginia Zeani was decorated for Cultural Merits by The King Farouk of Egypt and she also sung to his extravagant engagement ceremony, applauded – among others – by the Prince Ali Khan and his legendary sister, Princess Fawzia. She contributed to the beginnings of the New Zealand Opera Schooland. For nearly 30 years, she has been an emeritus professor at the University of Indiana, United States. Virginia Zeani has been honored with more than 50 national and international awards during her career. Among them, the title of Doctor Honoris Causa awarded by the National University of Music in Bucharest and the Babeş-Bolyai University of Cluj-Napoca. In 2011, The Romanian Royal House honored Virginia Zeani, as a reward for conspicuous and special merits, with the “Nihil Sine Deo” Order, granted by the King Mihai I of Romania.



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