Bogdan Baciu: My opinion is that one should not only have the proper voice for a certain role, but also the naturalness & credibility on stage.

The Romanian baritone BOGDAN BACIU studied with Marius Vlad Budoiu at the Gheorghe Dima Music Academy in Cluj-Napoca. He won numerous prizes in national and international competitions, including the 3rd prize in 2008 at the Romanian National Lied Competition and in 2010 the 3rd prize at the prestigious Hariclea Darclée International Singing Competition. During his university studies and in the Düsseldorf opera studio, he attended master classes with Mariana Nicolesco, Deborah Polaski, David Cyrus, Thomas Allen. He collaborated with some of the world’s greatest conductors including Valery Gergiev, Riccardo Frizza, Stefan Soltesz, Axel Kober, Antonino Fogliani, David Crescenzi, Donald Runnicles, Omer Meir Wellber, Kent Nagano, Asher Fisch, John Fiore and others. His repertoire includes roles such as Papageno (Die Zauberflöte), Don Giovanni, Figaro (Il Barbiere di Siviglia), Dottore Malatesta (Don Pasquale), Marcello (La Bohème), Silvio (I Pagliacci), Escamillo (Carmen), Ping (Turandot), Enrico (Lucia di Lammermoor), Harlequin (Ariadne auf Naxos) or Heerrufer (Löhengrin). The 2021-2022 season finds him singing Escamillo (Carmen) at Teatro Massimo Palermo, Marcello (La Boheme) at Semperoper Dresden, Der Geisterbote (Die Frau ohne Schatten) at Bayerische Staatsoper Münich as well as his debut as Germont (La Traviata) in Düsseldorf and at the Deutsche Oper Berlin. In November 2022, he makes his long-awaited debut at the Royal Opera House London, in the role of Marcello in La Boheme by Giacomo Puccini.

Dear Bogdan, thank you for accepting our invitation. It’s such a pleasure to chat with you! In the 2019/2020 season, you were supposed to make your Royal Opera House debut as Silvio from I Pagliacci, but due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it was canceled. Last month, you made your ROH debut as Marcello from La Boheme, alongside your Romanian colleagues Stefan Pop, Simona Mihai, and Zoltan Nagy. How was your experience in London? How did the British public welcome you?

Thank you for inviting me. The pleasure is all mine. As you pointed out, yes, I was supposed to make my ROH debut in 2020, with the role of Silvio from Leoncavallo’s I Pagliacci. At that time, I already knew that ROH would close its doors but I got the final answer only two days before the rehearsals began. So at least I did not fly to London. Nevertheless, as compensation for the I Pagliacci loss, for the season 2021-2022, I was offered another role that I particularly love, Marcello from Puccini’s masterpiece, La Boheme. I was very happy, especially when I found that two of my dear and wonderful colleagues from Cluj-Napoca, Stefan Pop, and Zoltan Nagy, would be in the same cast as Rodolfo and Schaunard. We know each other for almost twenty years now and we shared the stage many times. I also had the chance to meet another great Romanian singer, Simona Mihai, who interpreted Musetta. We were four Romanians in the same cast! It was an honor, a joy and I think it was for the first time in the ROH. The experience in Covent Garden was great. I met so many nice people, from the assistant director to the Italian language coach: they were all positive and professional. From the very first moment, I felt a good energy and the vibe that everyone had. I am not exaggerating when I say that the public was absolutely overwhelming. I think that it was the most enthusiastic public that I have ever sung for. At each show, we felt the energy that the public would send back to us. 

Recently you made your debut as Giorgio Germont in La Traviata at Düsseldorf. How do you decide that you are ready for a certain role and, from that moment on, what is the preparation process?

It is no secret that I tried to push my Germont debut as late as possible in my career. My opinion is that one should not only have the proper voice for a certain role, but also the naturalness and credibility on stage. There are so many cases of La Traviata, in which the son appeared older than the father. Or, sometimes Germont would move like a young man, or, Alfredo would have a more dramatic voice than his father … So based on this, I made this debut when I turned forty. Regarding the approach to a new role, it is quite simple. First of all, I make sure that vocally, it is appropriate for my voice. I try the arias, the duets, or other big parts from the role and I decide if it’s ok or not for my voice. Then, as I already said, I have to decide if I can impersonate the character. If all these conditions are met, then I start the preparation. Of course, I try to read as much as possible about the piece and specifically about my role. I use the libretto, sometimes Wikipedia, I read the book that the libretto is based on (if there is any), sometimes I watch a movie about the subject, and last but not least, I watch videos with productions of that title that could help me understand better my role.

Read the entire interview here, in the 9th/2022 issue of OPERA Charm Magazine.


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