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The 'Hariclea Darclée' International Voice Competition and Festival

Wednesday, 7 August 2013 , ora 11.01

The master classes provided by the soprano Mariana Nicolesco within the 'Hariclea Darclée' Festival took place between 29th July and 4th August; the festival is organized every two years, alternating with the International Voice Competition. More than 70 young interpreters from countries such as Italy, France, Spain, Armenia, the United States and Romania registered for these master classes. At the end of the series of events, the soprano Mariana Nicolesco offered us some details regarding the activities organized in Brăila:

The 2013 edition of the Master Classes ended at its highest point. The exhilarating lyrical marathon that closed this year's edition of the master classes I provide in Brăila and in which scores of young talents from Romania and other countries and continents participated lasted over five hours. The audience applauded them with delight all evening, whether there were individual performances, duets, quartets or in concert; I was the one who introduced, supported and even asked them to resume some passage in order to get even closer to perfection. I reminded everybody the words that I had recently uttered at the Paris reunion, as UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador: 'If the most beautiful and noble mission is that of imparting the secrets and mysteries of the art I had the chance to decipher and acquire, let me pronounce here a verb that in Romanian expresses what I wish to say more exactly than any other equivalent in the languages I happen to speak: a preda - 'the perfect definition of the process of transferring knowledge and, consequently, tradition'.

It is in the name of this ideal that scores of young talents from both Romania and abroad came to Brăila; the audience could see that they were all happy, the feeling of satisfaction being emphasized by enthusiastic applause. After the appreciative speech delivered by Mr. Radu Boroianu, Minister-Secretary of State to the Ministry of Culture and National Patrimony, it was my pleasure to award the Honorary Diploma and the Darclée Medal to Romanian artists who distinguished themselves in their art: the tenor Corneliu Fânățeanu - contacted by phone and extremely moved - and the tenor Vasile Moldoveanu - present on stage and also thrilled, just like all the artists who received these awards in previous years; they are brilliant examples for those taking the first steps on the lyrical stage. Accompanied on the piano by Peter Colcea and Alexandru Petrovici, the young interpreters shone in a wide repertoire, the slightest voice or tempo error being penalized on the spot with a lot of sympathy, to the audience's delight.

Besides the great opera repertoire, we had the chance to show the young artists at their best in the most various musical domains. Songs and a typical dance interpreted by the artists come from Armenia, led by Armine Vardanian; a famous Italian canzonet Funiculi, Funicula, known by everyone and sang by the mezzo-soprano Giussepina D'Arienzo who came from Salerno, near Naples; jazz music magnificently interpreted by the soprano Silvia Micu, accompanied by the baritone Alexandru Constantin and - surprise! - by a remarkable jazz pianist, the new manager of the Brăila Theatre, Lucian Sabados. All the interpreters of opera music enjoyed a huge success: Marcelina Krolicka from Poland and her husband, David Beucher from France, Shuang Fang from China, Melanie Campbell from the USA and our compatriots - Alida Barbu who shone in an aria from The Telephone by Menotti, that she discovered and studied in Brăila these days, Emanuela Pascu, Adrian Dumitru and, of course, Adela Zaharia and Bogdan Taloș who one year ago went from Brăila directly to the Deutsche Oper in Berlin.

With this feeling of general delight took place in the last days not only the master classes, but also the other events, such as the Verdi-Wagner celebration, having as centerpiece the lecture given by Dr. Stephan Poen, and illustrated by the Wagnerian interpretations of Maria Slătinaru, Eugenia Moldoveanu, Cornel Stavru and Magdalena Cononovici, contacted by phone from the stage in Brăila and warmly applauded by those present. Then there followed four arias from Wagnerian masterworks, that I interpreted. The evening ended with a wonderful recital of the young artists.

Within this formidable cultural forum, unique in the world, the young artists also took part in a splendid ceremony dedicated to Petre Ștefănescu Goangă, in the house where the great baritone was born (today, a museum renovated with European funds) and where a selection of opera arias interpreted by him could be heard, as an illustration of Stephan Poen's words; thus, those present could find out that it was no other than George Enescu who guided Bebe Goangă's first steps in his career. I used this opportunity to remind everyone of the great tradition from which Petre Ștefănescu Goangă comes: his family practically built the Raly Theatre where, in 1881, Hariclea Darclée made her debut and where, starting with 1995, more than 2,100 talents from 47 countries and 5 continents came in order to fulfill their dreams in the sacred art of singing.

Andreea Chiselev
Translated by Mihaela Olinescu and Elena Daniela Radu
MTTLC, The University of Bucharest