The Hariclea Darclée International Voice Competition, and the
artistic events it brought along, has surpassed all our hopes and expectations,
from absolutely all points of view. The triumphal reception of these events
proves once again that we have a huge artistic potential as well as a public
expecting only exceptional performances.
H. E. Daniel, Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church
Mariana Nicolesco is God's blessing for the Romanian Nation.
Anna Blefari, Ambassador of Italy
I've come to Braila due to the echoes of the Hariclea Darclée International
Voice Contest, to Mariana Nicolesco's concerts, and to the Masters Classes
she organizes in this city, so close to beauty by its architectural value, by
its cultural past and by its celebration of the art of singing. I come from the
country that has created the lyric art, is devoted to it, and where Mariana
Nicolesco shaped her talent before conquering the Italian theaters and world-wide
recognition. The Master Classes she offers to the exceptional talents that
she has revealed in this voice nursery that is Romania, as well as to the other
young people who come from all around the world, are a cultural achievement of
Sorin Bottez, Ambassador of Romania (r)
Out of nothing, Miss Mariana Nicolesco has created a phenomenon which, I
dare say, is the most prestigious artistic edifice in Romania after the December
Josef Hussek, Artistic Director, Salzburg Festival
I know of no other voice competition that attains in all its events a level as high as the one dedicated to Hariclea Darclée's memory in Braila,
and I think that the explanation consists in the extreme intensity of the event
in all regards. This is more than a usual voice contest, it is at the
same time a competition, a Master Class and a true music festival. This
is what makes it incomparable and unique.
Alberto Triola, Teatro alla Scala, Milan
At Braila, during the Darclée Contest, everything is possible: an
unexpected encounter, a surprise, a mistery. The most extraordinary thing is
that everywhere you meet the smile of somebody that, as far as yesterday was a
stranger and who is today a new friend, and that, every moment, music discloses
a new talent, willing to devote itself to the world, to everybody, to each of
us. All these moments, that we live with the gratitude of those who can
appreciate such a privilege, are due to the mistery of music, which - every
other year - brings us together in warm Braila, under its ever surprising sky,
along the langourous flowing Danube, which seems to bring to us this music from
afar, from forgotten ages.The artistic, musical, cultural events Mariana
Nicolesco promoted in these two weeks are spectacular. The competition was
exciting, triumphal. I came back to Milan stronger than before: in the world of music there still are possibilities to work with passion, dedication, love for
the theatre, the music scores, the young artists, the voice!
Radu Gabrea, Movie Director
The Darclée Foundation and its soul, Mariana Nicolesco, have written a page of
history in Romanian art and culture. Everything was extraordinary. A miracle
with no equivalent in today's world.
Marco Balderi, Conductor, Florence, Member of the International Jury
Nowadays there are four great voice competitions in the world: Belvedere
in Vienna, Maria Callas in Athens, Luciano Pavarotti in
Philadelphia and Hariclea Darclée in Braila. None of the first three
compares with what Miss Mariana Nicolesco has created in this charming city.
Clauspeter Koscielny, Director of Orpheus, Berlin, member of the
Jacques Fournier, Music Critic, Paris, member of the International Jury
I have lived in Braila the days of the most wonderful, harmonious, and
entrancing Voice Competition in our lives, under the spell of Mariana Nicolesco,
the most fascinating President alive. With my whole admiration, and
true love, I am for ever a most devoted friend.
I don't know of any other Queen of the Art of Singing, like Mariana Nicolesco,
who wishes to and succeeds in transferring to the young singers, with such generosity,
the mastery of interpretation and the capacity to express the feelings of the
opera characters at such a high level.
Nicolae Herlea, President of the International Jury
The great hospitality of Braila, Mariana Nicolesco's formidable and
brilliant personality, the beauty of Bellini's and Verdi's music, and of so many
other wonderful composers, to which so many new voices gave life and expression,
made me proud of being a witness of and a party to one of the most beautiful
accomplishments of today's Europe.
In these moments imbued with the emotion of the Gala Concert of the Laureats,
summit of Mariana Nicolesco's prestigious achievement I think of the great
generosity with which the great artist discloses to them some of her own
incomparable mastery of singing, and some of the brilliant warmth of her
personality. What Braila gave me in human and spiritual range is like a new
Stanislaw Kotlinski, Professor, The Music Academy in Gdansk, member of the
I want to congratulate you for this contest, which has become such an important event in the music life of your country
and of the whole world, with so many young people competing, willing to "make
music" with you, in your country. All are welcomed with the same great open
heart by the indefatigable Mariana Nicolesco, ever ready to stand by everybody,
to help, to give friendly advice.
Ioan Holender, General Director of Vienna State Opera House
Dear President, Dear Mariana, I am sorry but I cannot be absent here, during
the last preparations for the opening of the new season in Vienna, so I cannot
come to Braila. I wish great succes to you, and to the imposant competition that
you have organized with so great an enthusiasm, and with so much generosity
towards the young artists.
Ludovic Spiess, General Director of Bucharest National Opera
On the eve of the opening of the Braila grandious event, the Hariclea
Darclée International Voice Competition, I wish you, with all my heart,
utter succes to the benefit of Art, and of the young musicians who will be stars
tomorrow. Great succes to the best of the best! I am with you with my heart and
Dumitru Avakian, Music Critic
The Competition, and the Festival Concerts meant to honor Darclée's
personality highly surpass the framework proper of the voice contest initially
programmed. Which is a perfect illustration of the saying according to which
"It's the Man who hallows the place". Mariana Nicolesco, with her energy,
imagination, organizing ability, inductive capability knows how to create "an
event". A ferment of operatic events on the main stages of the world, she
perpetuates a spirit of interpretation that combines dramatic, musical, and
performing skill among the younger generation of lyric artists. With them, opera
- as a genre - has chances to survive.
Lorenzo Fratini, Chorus Master, Trieste
True singing-schools are ever harder to find in the world. Mariana Nicolesco
miraculously continues here the great traditions of lyric art, of singing.
René Seghers, Musicologist, Amsterdam, author of a fundamental work in
progress about Hariclea Darclée
Mariana, go on, just like you have so far, with this absolutely unique
Braila was an amazing, interesting experience, incredible, emotional, challenging, insightful and fascinating.
Anthony van der Heijden, President of Ion Tiriac Bank
Let's pray that one of these promising young people might become another
Hariclea Darclée or another Mariana Nicolesco some day.
Sandu Mazor, Ambassador of Israel
Hariclea Darclée means for me the past and the future. Mariana Nicolesco
means the present and the future, that is to say, discovering new talents
and guiding them onto a career, worthy of the renown of the two Divas. Together
with my wife, and with several friends that came for that particular purpose from
Israel, I want to thank Mariana Nicolesco for the wonderful moments that made us
forget for a while that life also has less fortunate aspects.
Marco Medved, Pianist, Milano
I have come to this so very hospitable city without knowing much about what
I was to experience, but animated by great curiosity. Two weeks later I am a
different person, with a different professional - and particularly human -
Alexandru Farcas, General Director of Romanian Opera, Cluj-Napoca
The Darclée Contest reaches the highest standards of interpretation, more than many other similar events. In Braila one can
assimilate and consolidate, all we know about the wonderful art of singing. It
is to Mariana Nicolesco that we owe this feeling of joy and communion. The Great
Lady of world lyric art knew how to stimulate all our energies in order to
relish such moments.
Elena Zottoviceanu, Music Critic
Present at every Darclée edition, I consider this Contest, and
everything about it, as one of the most beautiful artistic events I have ever
witnessed. It is the triumph of youth, of talent, and of a great artist's
generosity, willing to grant the coming generations some of her inspiration.
Thank you, Miss Mariana Nicolesco.
Costin Tuchila, Music Critic, Radio Romania
The Hariclea Darclée International Voice Competition represents to me
an extraordinary occasion of knowing new talents, of verifying my own
intuitions, of getting to trust the destiny of lyric art in the third millenium.
A huge joy for both the participants and all of us and to those who made it
possible. My warmest congratulations!
Oana Andra, Mezzosoprano, Great Darclée Prize 1995
I never experienced such an event, marvellous, unforgettable.
Ramona Eremia, Soprano, Great Darclée Prize 1997
You were all wonderful, and I am so happy that I had the opportunity to be
with you, at this edition of Hariclea Darclée International Voice
Contest. I thank you, and I congratulate you with all my heart.
Luca Pisaroni, Bass, Italy, Special Prize of the Jury 1997
My infinite gratitude to this extraordinary artist which is Mariana Nicolesco.
Through her art and her humanity she is able to transmit with a unique efficiency
the very essence of opera. I will never forget what I learned from Mariana Nicolesco.
From the bottom of my heart I thank you, beautifull Donna Elvira.
Tatiana Lisnic, Soprano, Moldova Republic, First Prize 1999
I am so grateful for having the opportunity to be so close to Miss Mariana Nicolesco,
who shows us, to me and to my collegues, the way to perfection.
Nicoleta Ardelean, Soprano, Third Prize 1999
Those days where extraordinary for me, I found myself, I last myself and I found
myself again in music. Thank you, with all my heart, Miss Mariana Nicolesco.
I will never forget you.
Roxana Briban, Soprano, Great Darclée Prize 2001
I owe to Miss Mariana Nicolesco my vocal accomplishments in these last
years, as well as my self-confidence. I can't find the words to thank her for
the love that the Great Artist showed me, and to all those to have asked for her
Camelia Clavac, Soprano, First Prize (ex-aequo), 2001
I have attended the Hariclea Darclée International Voice Contest
since 1997. This year, finally, after so many emotions, and so many sensational
events I had lived, a miracle occurred and I have been awarded the First
Prize. Braila, and Miss Mariana Nicolesco's confidence in my abilities, mean
everything to me.
Francesco Meli, Tenor, Italia, Second Prize (ex-aequo), 2001
Huge is this evening's emotion, due to all those that encouraged me, and
showed me affection and love. I have come to Romania to stand for a contest, and
destiny wanted me to sing, for the first time, in an unforgettable performance
of La Traviata.
Anna Mayilyan, Mezzosoprano, Armenia, Special Prize of the Jury, 2001
How could I not thank you for this warm atmosphere, so very important to the
artists called to explore and express the depth of human soul?
Octavian Vlaicu, Bas, Darclée Foundation Prize 2001
For this wonderful city, for its extraordinary people, for those who made
this fantastic competition possible, where everyone is a winner all my love.
Part of my soul remains here forever. Especially for the Diva, Mariana
Nicolesco, who changed totally my life, with infinit respect, admiration and
affection for her fantastic personality.
Iulia Merca, Mezzosoprano, Great Darclée Prize 2003
I would like to thank from the bottom of my heart all those, who created
this competition, especially to the distingueshed artist Mariana Nicolesco, the
soul of the events. It is a important day for me, my star shined tonight. I
would like to express my immense happiness and the honour of being here tonight.
Mihaela Maxim, Soprano, Great Darclee Prize 2005
Getting The Great Darclee Prize was for me a fantastic surprise. I wouldn't imagine that an event, a recognition like this would give me souch an energy and determination which are now my starting point in the long path to the hights of art and I hope to confirm the thrust of the Great Lady Mariana Nicolesco. Without her I would certainley not be here today.
Aurelia Florian, Soprano, ex-equo Great Darclée Prize 2007
To participate at the Hariclea Darclée International Voice Competition and Festival is everyone's dream in my generation. To win the Competition, as it happened to me this year, is an accomplishment I can not believe came true.
Georgeta Grigore, Soprano, ex-equo Great Darclée Prize 2007
Only in this wonderful atmosphere with its very high standards, brought by Mariana Nicolesco, one can give his or her best, opening so an unexpected horizon of new chalanges, of new performances.
Bogdan Mihai, Tenor, First Prize 2007
The Hariclea Darclée International Festival and Competition are the landmarks of todays Romanian culture, as Mariana Nicolesco established it from the very beginning.
Cesar Sanchez, Tenor, Mexico, Second Prize 2007
Dear Miss Nicolesco, it is amazing how someone like you can be so accessible and so devoted to promote artists and share your knowledge with everyone. Thank you.
Edith Borsos, Soprano, Great Darclée Prize 2010
We are lucky, the participants in the Hariclea Darclée Festival and International Voice Competition, for being part of unforgettable moments and benefitting from the knowledge offered to us. While an important Prize brings happiness, I will always keep in mind the words of Maestra Mariana Nicolesco: "Today's triumph does not guarantee tomorrow's success". Thank you Hariclea Darclée. Thank you Mariana Nicolesco!
Alvaro Lozano Gutierrez, Baritone, Great Darclée Prize 2010
It was for me a great joy meeting the members of the Jury of the Hariclea Darclée International Voice Competition, all experts in their own field, Masters like Nicolae Herlea and Mariana Nicolesco, pillars of the universal history of opera.
Adela Zaharia, Soprano, Great Darclée Prize 2012
I was tonight again the eyewitness of the miracle named Hariclea Darclée Festival and International Voice Competition,
which will remain for ever in my mind and above all in my heart. Thank you for the honour granted to me, for the wings you gave
me in a crucial moment of my life. Thanks again and many, many new glorious editions of the Contest!
Ioan Hotea, Tenor, Great Darclée Prize 2015
My dear Lady,
The Festival and Hariclea Darclée International Voice Competition have given me great joy, given the high level of the contest, with so many valuable competitors, in front of a prestigious Jury, as well as, of course, the joy of winning the Hariclea Darclée Grand Prize.
I shall also say that it was a unique experience for me to be given the opportunity to interpret the role of Nemorino alongside an Adina who is my girlfriend in daily life. A lot of work, but the results made it all worthwhile.
I would like to say thank you to Miss Mariana Nicolesco, without whom nothing from what happened in the last two wonderful weeks would have been possible. I am sure that all the young artists participating in the competition owe her deep gratitude for everything they have learned from her and for what they have experienced thanks to her.
I embrace you with a lot of love!
Adrian Dumitru, Tenor, Great Darclée Prize 2015
It is a special joy and honour for me to be one of the laureates of this extraordinary festival and competition founded by the great Lady of singing, the soprano Mariana Nicolesco, mentor and supporter of so many generations of young artists, from whose generous guidance I have also benefitted.
With deep gratitude.
Traian Basescu, President of Romania
Thanks to the extraordinary personality of soprano Mariana Nicolesco, to her international renown and to her professional and human generosity, Braila offers, with the distinguished guests and the young competitors registered in the Canto Competition, a vibrant homage to the legendary Hariclea Darclée.
I am happy to say that in the first year of Romania as a member of the European Union, with the program Sibiu - Cultural Capital of Europe and the George Enescu Festival, Braila celebrates with the Hariclea Darclée International Voice Competition, the European dimension of our culture.
On the occasion of the Concert - Master Class she offered in Sibiu, Cultural Capital of Europe, Mariana Nicolesco, a great voice of our time, received from Dieter Topp, President of the European Cultural Forum the prestigious Kultur Preis Europe: The Europa Medal for her "artistic accomplishments, for her role as a mentor of the new generation and for her successful efforts in bringing Romania to Europe and Europe to Romania". In past the prize was bestowed on personalities such as Johannes Rau, former President of Germany.
Actor Radu Beligan, after the performance dedicated to Donizetti's Queens: It was a sublime evening. I have never experienced such an event.
Dr. Stephan Poen, Doctor in musicologie, Jerusalem
Another triumphant edition of the Hariclea Darclée Festival and International Voice Competition has come to an end as a glorious lesson of humanity and art, in the tradition established by luminary artists of the importance of Hariclea Darclée and Mariana Nicolesco.
Victor Roncea published in Ziua a full page dedicated to Mariana Nicolesco, Ambassador of the Romanian Culture
Costin Popa, Music critic
«The first performance ever of Donizetti's Parisina d'Este at the Bucharest National Opera with the laureates of the Darclée Competition is in fact the merit of the distinguished soprano Mariana Nicolesco who, once more, deserves recognition for the multitude of qualities she has accustomed us with in the last several years: her research for lost or forgotten titles in the archives, her capacity to inspire and promote new projects, the making of appropriate castings, the guidance in style and technique. In one word she is the soul of every initiative related to exceptional events. Starting with the young talents she discovered at the Darclée Competition she founded, with her Master Classes, where they benefited from her knowledge and mastery in the art of singing, she succeeded in offering the public unforgettable moments. Through everything she does Mariana Nicolesco appears as a true builder of musical life, who fulfills her illustrious career at the highest world level.»
Andrei Plesu, Philosopher, Writer
Mariana Nicolesco appeared for the first time on a Romanian stage in 1991, after being declared by the world press Prima Donna Assoluta, Queen of La Scala, The Lady of Belcanto, Diva Divine, A Monument of Belcanto. After such appreciations over the years, she could have lost her mind, becoming a statue. Accomplished on the artistic and human level, she had nothing to add to a brilliant career and to a solid biography. What could have been a (simple?) apotheosis became a founding act. In 1995 Mariana Nicolesco created the Darclée Competition (...). What the institutions, the schools and the state cannot do, is done by a single person, mobilizing, her time and personal resources, which are, it is true, uncommon resources, of talent, generosity, prestige, credibility. This is the Mariana Nicolesco Solution (...). In Romania, there still are literary, philosophical, theological, mathematical "voices" that nobody hears. What is missing, in each case, is the Mariana Nicolesco vector.
Iulian Ene, student
In the name of many Braila natives working in Romania or abroad I would like to thank you for everything you are doing for culture, art, music, for our country, for our city and for the memory of the soprano who conquert the entire world, Hariclea Darclée. You will remain for ever in our harts, Miss Mariana Nicolesco, we love you. You are for us the hope in our future, through you we will continue to believe in a beautiful Romania. We wish you many happy years and we want you always around enchanting us. You are one of the marvels of Romania.
Zoltan Nagy, bas-baritone
Dear Miss Mariana Nicolesco,
As I mentioned by phone, I am sending the two images representing you, which I captured at the Hamburgische Staatsoper. I was so happy to see them and they were like an inspiration for me before entering on stage. It was my debut in Hamburg, in the role of Haraschta in Janacek's Das Schlaue Füchslein, which ended up being a triumph. I remembered our first encounter, the moments spent together at the Darclée International Voice Competition and Festival, at the Romanian Song Competition in Brasov, at your Master Classes, as well as the dozens of concerts at home, in Palermo, Lausanne... Very pleasant recollections, some very difficult moments also, and the most important period in my artistic formation. You guided my first steps, severe but loving, attentive, daring, euphoric... I felt that I belonged to something, at a time when in Cluj I would not have had such a fortune. You recognized my talent, my determination to work. I knew only a few things at the time, but you motivated and inspired me enormously. And I proved that I can have many accomplishments. I recall that rehearsal at the Romanian Atheneum which lasted until well after midnight. You scolded me terribly. I did not speak Italian... I was lost. We worked about 45 minutes only on the recitative of Don Basilio's aria La Calunnia, a role that became emblematic for me. I promised you then that, one day, we will communicate in three foreign languages... and here I am. I learned them all. Wherever I sing in the world, whoever listens to my recordings, I receive congratulations for my extraordinary diction in all languages. We have known each other for almost 12 years and I remember everything, exactly as you do. And above all I remember everything you thaught me, everything you offered me, everything you did for me and for several generations. I admire you and I love you.
I am pleased to sing again for the Braila public. I am happy to participate with my talent, and with the knowledge I have acquired, at the 20th anniversary of the Darclée International Voice Competition and Festival. An event that is unique in the world. With love, Zoli
Irina Bokova, the UNESCO General Director
It was a great pleasure to meet you at our annual UNESCO Reunion in Paris on June 30th and July 1st, a Reunion which proved to be, once again, a testimony of the fruitful cooperation between our Organization and its Honorary and Goodwill Ambassadors.
In this context, I would like to express here my gratitude for your personal engagement in favor of the young artists, and to present my congratulations for your implication and permanent help offered to the Hariclea Darclée International Voice Competition that you created in 1995.
I am pleased, therefore, to award the Patronage of UNESCO to this prestigious manifestation, which in 2015 celebrates twenty years of existence.
Renewing my wishes for success and thanking you again for promoting the values and ideals of UNESCO, I assure you, Madam, of my distinguished consideration.
Cordially, Irina Bokova
Fragment from the letter dated August 8th, 2014, from Mrs. Irina Bokova, the UNESCO General Director, to Mrs. Mariana Nicolesco, confirming the Patronage of UNESCO for the Hariclea Darclée International Voice Competition, as decided in Paris on July 1st, 2014.
Ioan Vulpescu, Minister of Culture
With the occasion of the Jubilee Edition 2015 of the International Voice Competition Hariclea Darclée, Braila, July 28th- August 9th
The Diploma of Excelence
Is awarded to the soprano MARIANA NICOLESCO for the 20 years of Triumph and Glory of the Art of Singing in the Rally Theatre, where - through the joy of the accomplished mission of imparting towards more than 2500 young talents form 50 countries and 5 continents the magic and tradition of opera - she has made an incomparable and unique contribution to honor the memory of her legendary predecessor Hariclea Darclée.
The Minister of Culture
Dr. Ioan Vulpescu
Flavio Trevisan, Stage Director and Eugenio Girardi, Stage Designer
Dear Mariana and Radu,
Back in Milan, we are full of nostalgia, we are missing you. It was such a beautiful experience, which enriched us so much! You were wonderful, like always, superb hosts of that unique event. Everything was at such a high level, and we have to say that, deeply involved as we were, and in spite of the permanent attention and serenity of our appreciations, we felt sincere regret for every artist who didn't get to the next stage of the competition.
A simple thank you cannot express the joy we experienced at being with you during those days which passed so fast.
Mariana, with your fascinating personality, with your elegance and intelligence, you conquered everybody and we have seen, all of us, how much the public loves and admires you.
Once again, many thanks for the journey on the Danube, please find here two pictures in which we are together on the boat.
To Radu, a personality of such vast culture and of unmatched class, our thanks for the enchanting discussions with which he delighted us.
We cover you with kisses and with a great love - as you have also shown us.
With the affection of Flavio and Eugenio
Liana Sega, Journalist
I have posted a message on Facebook because everybody has to know about the miracle that happened in Braila thanks to the Diva Divine.
It was delightful to witness the two final events of the Jubilee Edition 2015. I left enriched, more beautiful, more in love with Hariclea Darclée and her personification, the Lady of the Art of Singing, Mariana Nicolesco.
Two magic evenings, which have bewitched all who were privy to the splendors born, like magic, at the sign of the exceptional artist.
I enthusiastically look forward to the next edition of the Hariclea Darclée Festival and International Voice Competition.
Lots of love, Liana
In his volume Altri canti di Marte, the Italian musicologist Paolo Isotta comments upon the recording of Verdi's opera La Traviata, brought out in the U.S.A. as part of the series Historical Performances: "Mariana Nicolesco was extremely young at this first performance of the masterpiece, and this is one of the most beautiful Traviatas I have ever heard. The pure timbre, the perfect canto technique, mastery of musical colouring and - what is more - of the pianissimo, the sculptured articulaton of the Italian language, lyrical transfiguration: all these features make Mariana's Traviata a dignified equal of those interpreted by Claudia Muzio, Magda Olivero, Maria Callas, Renata Tebaldi.
Miraculous, also, is Mariana's interpretation of Bellini's opera Beatrice di Tenda."
Essayist Sever Voinescu writes in Evenimentul Zilei: Mariana Nicolesco, the Romanian Song and the feeling of longing: "The 2016 edition of the National Romanian Song [Lied] Festival and Contest took place a short while ago.
With this Festival, Mariana Nicolesco not only brings to the foregreound the art of the Song [Lied] in general, but she concentrates on the Romanian Song [Lied]. To my knowledge, nobody in Romania is doing anything that might be deemed comparable.
The cultural feats performed by Mariana Nicolesco - who returned to Romanian artistic life 25 years ago, after a brilliant international career - are absolutely impressive. Three years ago, after attending the 2013 edition of the Festival, I wrote the following in this very same column: "The truth is that, for many years now, Mariana Nicolesco, as a patron of culture, has been working against the grain of - sometimes even in spite of - the times. Going counter to the popular wisdom according to which you have to adapt to the period you live in, Mariana Nicolesco possesses the force to transcend it. In times of destruction, Mariana Nicolesco builds; in the midst of disenchantment, she believes, and she takes on responsibilities when others evade them. Mariana Nicolesco has great faith in involvement and in consistency. She is right, every time, showing that nothing can withstand the force of courage, talent and perseverence. Mariana Nicolesco proves, with grace and earnestness, with humour and with a refined intelligence, that conjuncture never beats art. Mariana Nicolesco has taken upon herself a high mission in Romanian culture, and she is carrying it through admirably."