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Happy Birthday, Dan Paul Dumitrescu !

Friday, 31 January 2014 , ora 8.16
Dan Paul Dumitrescu, base, has been a member of the Vienna State Opera since the year 2000. It is on that stage that he made his first appearance in many important parts. In the 2013-2014 season he will play in parts, such as, Grenvil, Rochefort, Graf de Grieux, Sparafucile, Commendatore, and, this evening (31st January, 2014), he will interpret Pimen, from Boris Godunov, on stage in Vienna.

Dear Mr Dan Paul Dumitrescu, a warm new year's blessing to you, may it bring you much joy! We've known you have been in Vienna for some time now, but it seems 2014 brings you many good tidings. Tell us about a few of your projects with the Opera...

Firstly, thank you for the warm greeting. Secondly, it is true, 2014 seems to be a busy year indeed. My first performance this year was in Don Giovanni, alongside Rolando Villazon and Hibla Gerzmava, under the batton of Alain Altinoglu. Now, on my very birthday, I am going to sing in Boris Godunov, as Pimen. Coming up in February is Manon de Massenet, where I will be interpreting the part of the Graf des Grieux, having Ramon Vargas, tenor, and Inva Mula, soprano, as stage partners, and the Frenchman Frederic Chaslin as our conductor. After that there is the American tour, stretching from New York toCarnegie Hall, where I will be playing the soldier in Salome. In April I will be singing with my colleague Valentina Naforniță and the great baritone Leo Nucci. In May, Norma will be staged in five concerts starring Edita Gruberova. I will be playing Orovezo and the season will end in June, probably with the Tales of Hoffman. It is shaping up marvellously and it is going to be six months packed full of beautiful parts.

You are going to be competing against yourself, and at an international level that most of your younger colleagues aspire to reach. What does it mean, for a singer, to be on stage at the Vienna State Opera?

It is at once a difficult question and a difficult assignment for the one on stage, at the Vienna State Opera. This stage poses a great challenge. Firstly, you come to face an orchestra called Wiener Philharmoniker - Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. It is renowned throughout the world and one of the best orchestras in the world. You come face to face with conductors from across the globe, with ever so many vocalists... and then you have to be in your best shape, always. Your performance has to be, constantly, of the highest rank. You cannot allow your standards to drop under a certain point. You have to be ever in prime condition. That is, of course, very difficult, since the opera singer is only human after all, and he gets, like any man, his share of good days and bad days. But it is the technique that has to be so good, as to allow one to cope in any circumstance.

Mr. Dan Paul Dumitrescu, if you were speaking to some of your younger colleagues, what advice were you to give them? What does this calling actually imply? How would you guide their first steps?

I think it is all about each person's upbringing. This kind of work cannot be easily done. You can't just get up one morning, listen to something on the radio and start singing. It is a bit more complicated than that. You need many years to train your voice, to read a lot, to listen to a lot of music. It is vital that you listen to a lot of music. And, surely, this build up of experience cannot be done overnight. Obviously, the world is changing. Now we live in an age of instant gratification; no time to wait. No more time spent, like in the old days, waiting on a part until it's well done, as we, singers, often put it. Everything needs to be done fast. But even so, things need to be considered very wisely. A singer always needs to sing that which suites him best, so that he may go on singing for a longer period of his life.

Today is a special day for you, one I trust allows for day-dreaming. What is your goal in life?

I believe that, career-wise, I have got everything I could have wished for. Surely, I would much appreciate being able to sing something by Philip on this, the Vienna State Opera stage. Things will happen, nevertheless, and I trust that when they do happen, they will do so, like everything else in my life, in due time. I digress: some of the best things in my life happened to me around the time of my birthday. For years on end, around this date of 31st January, many good and splendid things have happened to me. My career aside, I most definitely wish for a quiet, beautiful, slow-paced life, with the latter not always feasible. I wish to spend it around my family, surrounded by all those that know me and, in one way or another, cherish me and care for me.

We now join your friends and loved ones, on this joyous occasion and always, in wishing you, once again, a happy birthday, lots of joy and may all your dreams come true!

Irina Hasnaș
Translated by George Mihăiță and Elena Daniela Radu
MTTLC, The University of Bucharest