Zoltan Nagy: Opera still manages to touch people. You’re never indifferent. It awakes or opens a universe of feelings. I could cry each time I hear Traviata’s Addio del passato or Gioconda’s Suicidio. As well as I can laugh every time on Rossini’s masterpieces, or close my eyes and enjoy Wagner’s Overture of Meistensinger.

Zoltan Nagy started his international career as the youngest ensemble member of the Vienna State Opera. Recognized by opera critics for his strengths in both dramatic and comic roles, he is regularly invited to perform as a guest artist in many of Europe’s leading opera houses. Zoltan’s most requested role is Escamillo (Carmen), a role he has performed in over 12 productions in theatres like Bilbao (ABAO), Teatro Massimo di Palermo, Teatro Grande di Brescia, Teatro Ponchielli di Cremona, Teatro Sociale di Como, RTE Orchestra in Dublin, Romanian National Opera Bucharest and Cluj, the Shaanxi Grand Opera House in China, the State Theatre of Nuremberg, among others. As a permanent guest soloist of the Hungarian State Opera, Budapest, Zoltan has been invited to perform the role of Guglielmo (Cosi Fan Tutte), Silvio (Pagliacci), the title role in Kodaly’s Hary Janos, and Schaunard (La Bohème), a title he has performed at Oper Leipzig, Opera de Nice, Singapore Symphony Orchestra (in concert), Vlaamse Opera Antwerpen, and Opera Ghent among others. Zoltan made his Bolshoi Theatre of Moscow debut with the role of Count Almaviva (Le Nozze di Figaro). He has sung Haraschta (The Cunning Little Vixen) at the Hamburg State Opera, Dr Falke (Die Fledermaus) at Teatro Verdi Trieste, Calchas (Iphigenie en Aulide) in Athens, Schmied (Egk’s Peer Gynt) in Theater an der Wien, where he also had the privilege to join Edita Gruberova for her gala concert. Zoltan made his debut as Alberich (Siegfried) at Teatro Campoamor in Oviedo. He sang Marcello in a new production of La Bohème at Teatro Comunale di Sassari, portrayed the role of Dulcamara in a new production of L’Elisir d’Amore at the Romanian National Opera, and was invited to give masterclasses at the Xi’an University of Music in China. Count Tomski was a role debut in a new production of Tchaikovsy’s Pique Dame at the Opera Festival Heidenheim accompanied by the Stuttgarter Philharmoniker. Zoltán returned to Oviedo for a new production of Götterdämmerung where he performed the role of Alberich. He sings the role of Theseus in the Essen Philharmonic’s CD live recording of Bohuslav Martinu’s Ariane directed by Czech conductor Tomas Netopil, released in 2016 on Supraphon.
Zoltan has worked with conductors such as Marco Armiliato, Pinchas Steinberg, Ulf Schirmer, Renato Palumbo, Fabio Luisi, Marc Minkowski, John Wilson, Alejo Perez, Tomas Netopil, Guillermo Garcia Calvo, Leo Hussain, Marcus Bosch among others. Some of the stage directors Zoltan has collaborated with are: Peter Konwitschny, Damiano Michieletto, Inga Levant, Stefano Poda, Calixto Bieito, Paris Mexis, Thorsten Fischer, Georges Delnon, Maurizio Scaparro, and Immo Karaman. He has collaborated with the Vienna Philharmonic, Robert Schumann Philharmonie, RSO Vienna, Vienna Symphony Orchestra Singapore Symphony Orchestra, National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra of the Romanian National Radio, Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra among others. Zoltan studied at the Gheorghe Dima Music Academy in his hometown Cluj-Napoca under Professor Gheorghe Roşu. Upon graduation, he received a full scholarship to study at the prestigious Mozarteum University in Salzburg for a Masters degree in voice performance with Professor Boris Bakow. He has won prizes at various singing competitions including the Romanian National Song Competition, the Hariclea Darclee International Voice Competition, and “Debut”, the European Opera Singing Competition in Germany. In 2012 Zoltan participated in the Salzburg Festival’s Young Singers Project, and was then selected to sing in the Festival’s production of Das Labyrinth. Recent engagements included two new production of La Wally and Jenufa at Theater an der Wien, a new production of The Raise and Fall of the city of Mahagonny in Parma. Future higlights of his saison include a debut at Regio Torino as Escamillo, a ROH debut in La Bohème as Schaunard and a debut at Komische Oper Berlin in the Love of the three oranges as Leander.

Dear Zoltan, I’m so glad to meet you, this time in Italy! And I am very much looking for- ward to your house debut at Teatro Regio di Parma! What has been your relationship with the Italian theatres throughout your career and what does this event mean to you?
In my nearly 15 years of international career I have been lucky enough to be part of some wonder- ful productions all over the world starting with Vienna until Singapore, but singing ocasionally in Italy, becomes each time on of the highlights of my season. My first ever concert accompanied by an orchestra abroad was actually in Palermo when I was 22. Since then I was dreaming about singing one day at Teatro Massimo which was closed for renovation those years. Several years later my dream came true and I was indeed portraying the role of Escamillo in that amazing opera house… I always used to say, that a part of my heart is in Italy. I’ve also worked on several occa- sions at Teatro Verdi in Trieste, one of them was a very funny production of Die Fledermaus (Dr. Falke) with the late Gianluigi Gelmetti conducting who I was very fond of. I have beautiful memo- ries of Sardegna where I’ve done a new production of La Bohème as Marcello, and later a Pagliacci as Silvio. Singing at Teatro Regio in Parma is an absolut honor for me not only because of the enormous tradition that surrounds this opera house but also because of the fact that I am a guest artist in a very unusual production that should make history in Parma.

Tell us more about this opera, about the role that you’re about to perform and the produc- tion that will be on stage at Regio di Parma this month (April)?
Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny is an opera, although I like to call it rather music theater/ music play… composed between 1927-1929 by Kurt Weill on Bertold Brecht’s libretto, where I will interpret the role of Trinity Moses. When I first saw the score, I said to myself… “oh, I’ll deifinitely need some time to learn this music and get used to certain rhytms“. I’ve seen it challenging but I ended up having great fun singing this part and enjoying Weill’s geniality. The opera was a scandal on its premierere in Leipzig in 1930, presenting the decandece of the society which is more then actual nowadays where money is everything. I hope the audience will be receptive, of course, one should not expect a coservative staging for this type of music. I’m sure everyone will leave the the- ater whistling the Alabama song at the end of the performance… and realizing hopefully how en- joyable this music is.

Read the entire interview here, in the 3th/2022 issue of OPERA Charm Magazine.

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