In these weeks we had the pleasure to interview the young bass Alexander Köpeczi, one of the most promising operatic voice of the new generation. He recently played the title role in Le luthier de Crémone by Jenő Hubay at the Hungarian State Opera in Budapest, and he will shortly debut the title-role of Don Pasquale in Cluj-Napoca (Romania) and he will play Un carceriere in Tosca at Salzburg Festival with an all-star cast.
When you decided to become an opera singer?
I have first decided on becoming an opera singer while singing in the choir of Transylvania Philharmonic in Cluj, my hometown, and listening to wonderful musicians and singers, watching brilliant conductors performing and making music together.
You begun your music journey as a pianist… how it helped in your career as a singer your experience as a musician?
It is paramount in my view for the development of an international opera singer to have a solid musical education. Being a pianist aided me in that way, providing all the theoretical and practical background of a classically trained musician.
Romania is a land of great voices, who are you models from the past and from today?
Indeed, Romania does have a lot of great voices, perhaps also because it is a land that houses multiple cultures and talents. I would say I am a person who has paid attention to a lot of singers and teachers, and was able to “steal” and take from each of them things that work for me as a singer, as a person, thus being able to use these elements to find my own path.
The bass-voice is really connected to Verdi and one of your first roles was Sparafucile in Rigoletto: what do you think of the roles that Verdi created for the basses?
I feel that singing a verdian bass role is quite challenging and rewarding at the same time, as he feels to be one of the composers who have demanded most out of this voice type. The reason why Verdi’s arias are predominant in my own repertoire is the fact that his roles are remarkable from a musical aesthetics standpoint and and my voice meets most of the requirements needed to perform such roles.
Do you think the “voce verdiana” is a legend o it exits, and what are its characteristics?
Yes, I do believe it exists, and as far as a verdian bass is concerned, I believe the composer had a unique approach to writing music, demanding many different elements from his singers – voice, timbre, register, legato, strength, intention, lyrics, etc. I think in Verdi’s composition the mature bass voice shines in all its glory. And since the bass voice as such is a low register, thus low frequency voice, everything slows down and is centered not around its virtuosity, but its natural, bold character.
Last year you won special prize for the Best performance in Verdi’s repertoire and the prize of Internationale OpernWerkstatt at the Viñas Competition: what were the emotions for these two great achievements and what do you think about singing competions? You recommend young singers to do this experience?
All the emotions that a person experiences during a trial, a great challenge, not unlike Tamino in The Magic Flute. I am convinced that all of the 557 of us were doing our very best, still, these great contests are like a test to see who are those who manage to remain within the confines of art as such when faced with such a high level jury, and such immense pressure. I wholeheartedly recommend young singers to participate in singing competitions, because I believe that nothing provides such a great opportunity for growth and progress before, during and after a competition, than to attend such high pressure and high level events.
You recently sang the leading role of Le luthier de Crémone by Jenő Hubay: tell us something about this experience.
First of all, it was a great privilege for me to be able to sing during these challenging times, after a 4 month hiatus. The musical style of Hubay operatic world is quite eclectic, thus raising certain vocal challenges, as one has to provide both the lyrical segments sung in a higher register, and pay attention to the articulation of words during those musical fragments that have a more dramatic accompaniment.
What are your next projects?
My next projects are: the title role of Don Pasquale in Cluj, at the Hungarian State Opera in February of this year, by Carmen’s Zuniga at the Hungarian State Opera in Cluj in April followed by the role of the Doctor in Pelléas and Mélisande at Budapest, in May; and Un carceriere in Puccini’s Tosca, at the Salzburger Festspiele, three Master-Classes with renowned singers and vocal coaches, as well as concerts within the Young Singers Project 2021.
Thank you Alexander Köpeczi and Toi Toi Toi