A soprano drammatico d'agilità of supreme mastery

and a stalwart in the art of singing




Accolades for Nicolesco and Muti in Don Giovanni at La Scala



Mariana Nicolesco was born in Romania where she studied the violin, graduating with the Bruch Concert and starting immediately after her vocal studies at the Cluj-Napoca Conservatory. Having won a scholarship at the Conservatorio di Santa Cecilia, she went to Rome to study with Jolanda Magnoni who soon discovered the real nature of her voice, a major liryc soprano born to become a drammatico d'agilità and at the same time a soprano d'agilità drammatica. Later she studied with Rodolfo Celletti in Milan and Elisabeth Schwarzkopf. On completing her studies at the Conservatorio di Santa Cecilia, she won the Rossini International Voice Competition organized by the Italian Radio Television, RAI. The doors of the most prestigious opera houses in the world were opened to her.


The soprano was frenetically applauded in the most renowned opera houses, Teatro alla Scala in Milan where she featured for the first time in the world premiere of Luciano Berio's La Vera Storia and later in many new productions, recitals and concerts, the Metropolitan Opera in New York, in Munich, San Francisco, Vienna, Paris, Hamburg, Chicago, Barcelona, Dresden, Tokyo, Berlin, Monte Carlo, Rome, at the Salzburg Festival and the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro. She appeared in major productions by Giorgio Strehler, Patrice Chéreau, Luca Ronconi, Jean-Pierre Ponnelle, Franco Zeffirelli, Pier Luigi Pizzi, Jonathan Miller, under the direction of Carlo Maria Giulini, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Riccardo Muti, Seiji Osawa, Lorin Maazel, Peter Maag, Filippo Patanè and Colin Davis. She performed in the most famous concert halls, Carnegie Hall in New York, Royal Festival Hall in London, Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome, Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Musikverein in Vienna and the Great Conservatory Hall in Moscow.

In 1991, she sang to great acclaim for the first time in her life in her native country after a twenty one year absence. In 1993, she featured in a memorable concert at the Romanian Athenaeum, celebrating the National Philharmonic Orchestra's 125th anniversary and, in 1998, its 130th anniversary. People in their thousands come to the Civic Centre and the Esplanade of the Danube in Braila to welcome her at every recital and concert she gives in support of the Hariclea Darclée International Voice Competition she created to honour the memory of the legendary soprano Hariclea Darclée, the first interpreter of Puccini's Tosca, born in that city in 1860. In the years between one edition of the contest and the next, she conducts Master classes for the laureates.



(La Boheme)





(La Traviata)




Her arresting personality captivated audiences around the world ever since her first Violetta in La Traviata, with Thomas Schippers conducting a Giancarlo Menotti's production in Florence . She sang the role more than two hundred times. Other roles in her Verdi's repertoire include Gilda in Rigoletto, Desdemona in Otello, Leonora in Il Trovatore and Amelia in Simon Boccanegra also recorded on CD.


She sang in concert and recorded on CD the world premiere of Meyerbeer's cantata Gli amori di Teolinda as well as Ravel's cantatas Alyssa and Alcyone. Her Mozart performances include Donna Elvira (Don Giovanni) under Sawallisch in Munich and Muti at La Scala, Cinna (Lucio Silla) at La Scala, Vitellia (La Clemenza di Tito), Elettra (Idomeneo) under Ozawa in Tokyo and Salzburg. She also starred at La Scala in the baroque repertoire: L'Orfeo by Luigi Rossi and Fetonte by Niccolo Jommelli.



With Bellini's Beatrice di Tenda at La Fenice in Venice, Mariana Nicolesco established herself as a true soprano drammatico d'agilità in the belcanto repertoire. Her recording of this opera is considered a landmark in Bellini's discography.


Other belcanto achievements are her performances in Donizetti's Maria di Rohan, Roberto Devereux, Anna Bolena, Maria Stuarda, her belcanto recitals and galas at La Scala in Milan, Carnegie Hall in New York or Moscow 's Great Conservatory Hall.

She sang at the first Christmas Concert televised worldwide from the Vatican and watched by one billion people. She starred at the world premiere of Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki's masterpiece, Seven Gates of Jerusalem, dedicated to the 3000 year anniversary of the Holy City, Lorin Maazel conducting. The soprano part was composed for her voice.

A set of 3 CDs Mariana Nicolesco in Romania and a video-cassette with the fame title were recently released with a selection of arias recorded live in concerts or recitals in her native country in the last ten years.



Mariana Nicolesco lent support to Romanian orphanages and to the promotion of young artists of exceptional talent. In New York, she created The Romanian Atheneum International Foundation Inc. which helped restore the Atheneum's organ and the magnificent 1888 Romanian Atheneum Concert Hall in Bucharest. The Foundation and Mariana Nicolesco have donated a Steinway grand concert piano. In Brasov she organized in 1993 the first National Festival and Romanian Song Competition  and in Venice, she organized the first National Festival, the Romanian Song Competition and, in Venice, The Gran Gala UNESCO-UNICEF Romania.


Mariana Nicolesco is an Honorary Member of the Romanian National Council for the Protection of the Child and of the Romanian National Committee for UNICEF, an Honorary Citizen of Bucharest, Cluj-Napoca, Brasov and Braila, President of the Darclée Foundation and Honorary President of the Hariclea Darclée International Voice Competition which was held in 2005 from July 19 to 31, celebrating 10 years of great music, style and art since its creation by the great soprano. It is the most important music event ln Romania and one of the most important worldwide. Mariana Nicolesco offered the Romanian young artists and public a great and fantastic school of art and magnificent opportunities to the young artists.


Mariana Nicolesco is a Ph.D. in Arts from the Cluj-Napoca Academy of Music, Doctor Honoris Causa of the same Academy, Honorary Professor and Doctor Honoris Causa of the Transilvania University in Brasov, Honorary Member of the Romanian Academy and a member of the Honorary Committee of the International Yehudi Menuhin Foundation.


She was made a Grand Officer of the National Order the Star of Romania and Officer of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Government. She received the UNESCO Medal for Artistic Achievements and was awarded the title of UNESCO Artist for Peace. She is a Commander for the Order of the Star of Italian Republic. She was proclaimed The Most Successful Woman in Romania. In Berlin, she was proclaimed Musician of the Year for her extraordinary performances and for everything she does for the young generation. A great voice for the Renaissance of Culture”.

A recent study shows that, in the long history of the Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Mariana Nicolesco is the soprano who appeared in the most prime assolute.

In 2005, commemorating 50 years since the great Romanian composer passed away, Mariana Nicolesco presented in world premiere concert George Enescu's Complete Songs. A s a result of the great success of the evening, transmitted by the Romanian national TV programs, Mariana Nicolesco and her young friends were invited for a Gala Concert dedicated to Enescu's Songs at the World Exhibition in Japan.


Audio files *

Audio 5 I Pagliacci Qual fiamma avea nel guardo sung by Mariana Nicolesco

Audio 6 Aida Numi pietà sung by Mariana Nicolesco

Audio 7 Tosca Vissi d'arte sung by Mariana Nicolesco

Audio 8 La Traviata Addio del passato sung by Mariana Nicolesco

Audio 9  Anna Bolena – Al dolce guidami castel natio sung by Mariana Nicolesco


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Is the Great soprano Mariana Nicolesco a soprano drammatico d'agilità, lirico-spinto or lirico-drammatico? Like the voice of the divina Callas and that of the historical Pantaleoni (Verdi's first Desdemona), Nicolesco's voice is multiple. Three voices in one: lirico-spinta, lirico-drammatica and drammatica d'agilità, the last superimposed on the first two. She is able to adopt any of the three fully, depending on the role and composer she interprets.


Nicolesco seems to take on most features of a soprano drammatico d'agilità in operas by Donizetti, Bellini, Verdi and Mozart. In the roles of historically supposed young composers of the new school with Puccini and Catalani in the forefront, the voice beautifully displays most features of a soprano lirico-spinto. There is one prominent exception: in Verdi's La Traviata, which is her ‘cavallo di battaglia' (war horse), she is a lirico-drammatico with so much expression. What does allow her to be so versatile?


The Romanian soprano has a superb voice, technique and style. Her pianissimi are languid, her mezzavoce is captivating, her timbre is sensuous and carnal, the upper register is glorious and the Italian diction is perfect declamation. She is an absolute master of crescendo, namely, attacking a note pianissimo and amplifying the sound slowly and gradually up to forte with an extraordinary breath control. To achieve all of this, she has a supreme mastery.


(j.f. and m.b.)


Acknowledgment - Accolades in gallery


Lorenzo, a registered user of gallery, writes:

Bravissima e grazie Mariana Nicolesco


Mariana Nicolesco has an imperious and vibrant timbre.
She colours her performance with nuances of drama and vehemence.
She has a great passion in singing and an assured technique.
Mariana Nicolesco's voice, full and fluent , has a certain tragic elegance of tone.

Teatro alla Scala ti chiama ancora.
Grazie Divina per tutte le tue fantastiche produzioni alla Scala e al Teatro dell' Opera di Roma.
Ci ricordiamo tutti della tua fantastica Traviata.
Bravissima in tutti i punti di vista.


Francesca, a registered user of gallery, writes:


What an incredible performance!


I'm very glad to hear again the fantastic voice of Mariana Nicolesco.

Mariana Nicolesco has that extremely rare capability of reducing her large voice to a couloured , menacing murmur from which the totaly of the voice suddenly erupts with magnificent immediacy and great energy.

We all love you great Mariana Nicolesco.




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