Hariclea Darclee - efigie


Hariclea Darclee



Mariana Nicolesco

President of the Darclée Foundation
President of the Jury

Soprano Mariana Nicolesco has been acclaimed in the most renowned opera houses, such as Teatro alla Scala in Milan, where she featured in the world premiere of Luciano Berio's La Vera Storia, and later in many new productions, recitals and concerts, at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, in Munich, Vienna, Paris, Chicago, Hamburg, San Francisco, Barcelona, Madrid, Zurich, Roma, Florence, Venice, Parma, Torino, Palermo, Bologna, Trieste, Strasbourg, Bruxelles, Dresden, Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka, Berlin, Monte Carlo, Philadelphia, Miami, Washington, Boston, Houston, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Toronto, Pretoria, Caracas, Rio de Janeiro, at the Salzburg Festival, the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro, the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, the Martina Franca Festival, the Casals Festival in Puerto Rico, where she appeared in major productions by Luchino Visconti, Giorgio Strehler, Patrice Chéreau, Luca Ronconi, Jean-Pierre Ponnelle, Franco Zeffirelli, Pier Luigi Pizzi, Jérôme Savary, Margarita Wallmann, Jonathan Miller, under the direction of Carlo Maria Giulini, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Riccardo Muti, Seiji Ozawa, Lorin Maazel, Peter Maag, Giuseppe Patané, Daniel Barenboim, Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Alberto Zedda, Colin Davis, Georges Prêtre. She has performed in the most prestigious concert halls, Carnegie Hall in New York, the Royal Festival Hall in London, Accademia Santa Cecilia in Rome, Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Musikverein in Vienna, Salle Pleyel in Paris or the Great Conservatory Hall in Moscow.

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

Mariana Nicolesco 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. She also recorded Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro and Puccini's La Rondine and scored a great success as Liu in Turandot and Mimi in La Boheme also by Puccini, as well as Nedda in Leoncavallo's I Pagliacci or as Marguerite in Gounod's Faust, Tatiana in Tchaikovsky's Evgheni Oneghin, Donna Anna in Dargomyzhsky's Stone Guest, Tsarina Marina in Dvorak's Dimitrij, as well as her creation in Berio's Un Re in ascolto.

Her Mozart roles include Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni with Sawallisch in Munich and Muti at La Scala, Cinna in Lucio Silla again at La Scala, in Chéreau's production, Vitellia in La Clemenza di Tito in Bologna, Peter Maag conducting, Elettra in Idomeneo with Ozawa in Tokyo and Salzburg.

Mariana Nicolesco also took part in the renaissance of the baroque repertoire at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan, with L'Orfeo by Luigi Rossi and Fetonte by Niccolo Jommelli, both staged by Luca Ronconi.

She has established herself as a true soprano drammatico d'agilità in the great belcanto repertoire, with her interpretation of Bellini's Beatrice di Tenda at La Fenice in Venice. Her recording of this opera is considered a landmark in Bellini discography. Other belcanto highlights include her interpretation and recording of Donizetti's Maria di Rohan, her Elizabeth I, Queen of England, in Roberto Devereux, her Anna Bolena, Maria Stuarda and her Belcanto Recitals and Galas at La Scala, Carnegie Hall and Moscow's Great Conservatory Hall.

Invited by Pope John Paul II, she sang in the first Christmas Concert televised worldwide from the Vatican and watched through Mondovisione TV by one billion people.

Mariana Nicolesco starred in the world premiere of Krzysztof Penderecki's masterpiece Seven Gates of Jerusalem dedicated to the 3000 years of the Holy City, conductor Lorin Maazel. The soprano part was composed for her voice.

Born in Romania, Mariana Nicolesco graduated with the Bruch Violin Concerto and, immediately afterwards, she commenced her vocal studies at the Cluj-Napoca Conservatory. Winning in a national competition a scholarship at the Conservatorio Santa Cecilia she went to Rome to study with Jolanda Magnoni, and later on with Rodolfo Celletti in Milan and Elisabeth Schwarzkopf in Zumikon. Finishing the Conservatorio Santa Cecilia, she won the Rossini International Voice Competition organized by the Italian Radiotelevision, RAI, which widely opened for her the doors of the most prestigious opera houses.

After a twenty-one year absence, she sang, at long last, in 1991 for the first time ever on a stage in her native country, in a Recital at the Romanian Atheneum. She offered again, in 1993, a memorable concert at the Romanian Atheneum, celebrating the 125th anniversary of the National Philharmonic Orchestra, and in 1998 for its 130th anniversary.

Over ten thousand people would come to the Civic Center of Braila to welcome her at every recital she gives to support the Hariclea Darclée International Voice Competition, an event that she founded to honour the memory of the first interpreter of Puccini's Tosca, born in that city on the Lower Danube. More then 2900 candidates from Romania and other 50 countries and 5 continents have attended this contest, considered as one of the most important in the world. She succeeded in attracting an enthusiastic and numerous public also to the concerts of the young talents that she is happy to join on stage and who have brilliantly appeared in Mozart, Rossini, Donizetti, Verdi and Puccini opera performances. In the years between an edition of the contest and the next, she offers Master Classes to the laureates.

Back in Romania she decided to lend her support to Romanian orphanages and to the promotion of young artists of exceptional talent. She created in New York The Romanian Atheneum International Foundation Inc. This non-profit organization, established to perpetuate a rich cultural tradition, helped with the restoration of the magnificent 1888 Romanian Atheneum Concert Hall in Bucharest. The Foundation restored the Atheneum's organ and has donated a Steinway grand concert piano.

A set of 3 CDs Mariana Nicolesco in Romania containing a selection of arias recorded live in concerts or recitals in her native country were released with great success. Later on was published her 3 DVD set Mariana Nicolesco from the world stage to Romania.

Mariana Nicolesco is an Honorary Member of the Romanian Academy. She is an Honorary Member of the Romanian National Council for the Protection of the Child and of the Romanian National Committee for UNICEF. She is also Honorary Member of the Mihai Eminescu International Academy, Honorary Citizen of Bucharest, Cluj-Napoca, Brasov and Braila, President of the Darclée Foundation and of the Hariclea Darclée International Voice Competition. She obtained the first scientific title in Romania of Ph. D. in Arts, at the Cluj-Napoca Academy of Music and is Doctor Honoris Causa of the same Academy, Professor Honoris Causa of the Babes-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca, Doctor Honoris Causa of Transilvania University in Brasov. Member of the Honorary Committee of the International Yehudi Menuhin Foundation.

Mariana Nicolesco was granted the National Order of the Star of Romania in the rank of Grand Cross "for her exceptional achievements, as a sign of high appreciaton for her entire career" and was made Officer of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Government. She has also received the UNESCO Medal for Artistic Achievements. She is Commander of the Order of The Star of Italian Solidarity.

She created in 2003 in Brasov the National Festival and Romanian Song Competition and presented The Grand Gala UNESCO-UNICEF Romania in Venice, acclaimed by the Italian press with headlines such as The Splendors of Romania.
Mariana Nicolesco was designated by Capital magazine The Most Successful Woman in Romania.

At the 150th celebration of the world premiere of Verdi's La Traviata, she was honoured in the United States, with Virginia Zeani, as a great interpreter of the role of Violetta Valéry. On that occasion, she presented Verdi's masterpiece interpreted by the Romanian laureates of the Darclée Competition.

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

For her "extraordinary performances and for everything she does for the young generation" she was proclaimed in Berlin Musician of the Year: «A great Voice for the Renaissance of Culture».

In 2005, commemorating 50 years since the great Romanian composer George Enescu passed away, Mariana Nicolesco presented in world premiere, for the George Enesco International Year proclaimed by UNESCO, his Complete Songs, interpreted by the laureates of the Romanian National Song Competition she created in Brasov. As a result of the great success of the evening, broadcast by the national TV, Mariana Nicolesco and her young friends were invited for Gala Concerts dedicated to Enescu's Songs in Japan, at the Aichi World Exhibition as well as in Nagoya and Tokyo, in Prague, Paris, Rome and New York. Enescu's Complete Songs were released on that occasion on CD and DVD. Shortly afterwards, exceptional echoes appeared in the international music magazines, from Orpheus in Berlin to Amadeus in Milan.

In the same year she was made UNESCO Artist for Peace "in recognition of her commitment to musical heritage, artistic creation, dialogue between cultures, and of her contribution to promoting the ideals of the Organization".
She is an UNESCO Honorary Ambassador.

She was also a Member of the Jury of the International Music Competition Schubert and Modernity at Graz University of Music and Art.

In 2006, celebrating The International Mozart Year Mariana Nicolesco was invited by Lausanne Opera and Conservatory to give Master Classes to students and young artists from Switzerland, Italy, France, Argentina, England and Romania.

In January 2007 she received in Palermo the Medal of Sicily on the occasion of the integration of Romania in the European Union, offering in the Chiesa del Gesu a Concert with several young talents from her native country.

Mariana Nicolesco inaugurates a series of Master Classes at the newly created International Voice Academy of the University of Cardiff.

She appeared on the cover of Orpheus opera magazine, published in Berlin, with the title: «Mariana Nicolesco – Europe sings with us», along with an important article dedicated to the Hariclea Darclée International Voice Competition.

November 2007: Mariana Nicolesco Gala – Master Class with the laureates of the Hariclea Darclée International Voice Competition in Thalia Theatre, for the program Sibiu – European Capital of Culture.
On that occasion, the President of the European Cultural Forum conferred Mariana Nicolesco the Special Award Kultur Preis Europa: “A great voice of our time Mariana Nicolesco receives 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 February, 2008 The Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church, Daniel, awarded Mariana Nicolesco the Honorary Diploma of the Omenia International Foundation "for creating in Romania a Voice School of the highest European level, for her humanitarian activity, for promoting humane values, tolerance and reconciliation". The event took place on the occasion of an Extraordinary Concert at the Romanian Atheneum in Bucharest offered by Mariana Nicolesco and the laureates of the Hariclea Darclée International Voice Competition.

In 2009: triumph of absolute premieres in Romania of Gaetano Donizetti’s Parisina d’Este and Gemma di Vergy coordinated by Mariana Nicolesco, at the Bucharest National Opera, and later on at the Pelesh Royal Castle in Sinaia and during the Darclée Festival.

She offered Song Master Classes (Lied) in 2010, giving the young interpreters the opportunity to work with the best-known Romanian composers of songs, while the evenings were dedicated to Song Recitals.

The 2010 jubilee edition, marking the celebration of 150 years since Hariclea Darclée's birth and 15 years since the creation of the Hariclea Darclée International Festival and Voice Competition, was a true apotheosis, the artists evolving, as always, under the prestigious baton of Maestro Marco Balderi.

In the well-established tradition of the Master Classes and aiming at a deeper understanding of feelings expressed by the human voice through the art of singing, phoniatrist and musicologist Dr. Stephan Poen lectured in 2011 about soprano Mariana Nicolesco's interpretations at Milan's Teatro alla Scala and at RAI Roma of Franz Liszt's creations (celebrating the 200 years since the birth of the composer), and of Gustav Mahler's, commemorating the centenary of his passing away. The event was followed by a Recital of the young artists.

At the end of the Gala of Laureates of the Hariclea Darclée International Voice Competition 2012, the renowned Italian opera director Flavio Trevisan came on stage offering Mariana Nicolesco a priceless gift of historic and emotional significance: the tiara worn by Hariclea Darclée for the world premiere of Puccini's Tosca at Teatro Costanzi in Rome in January 1900, and later on by Maria Callas at Teatro Carlo Felice in Genova in March 1954. Callas had given the tiara to her young friend, the future Maestro Flavio Trevisan: «There is nothing more legitimate than that this wonderful crown, which belonged once to Queen Hariclea Darclée, and afterwards to Queen Maria Callas, should now go to Queen Mariana Nicolesco», he said, prompting the audience's ovations and tears.

At the Paris Reunion of the UNESCO Honorary Ambassadors in 2014, Mariana Nicolesco obtained for the Darclée events the UNESCO High Patronage, in recognition of their importance as part of the world cultural heritage.

The same year she was a Member of the Jury of China International Vocal Competition with 430 competitors from 41 countries.

The fundamental principles, rigorously respected since the first edition in 1995 and up to now, make the Hariclea Darclee Festival and International Voice Competition as well as the Master Classes equal to none in the world, as was recently stated even by the prestigious Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera in an article regarding the events dedicated to Hariclea Darclée - The First Tosca entitled: Constantin Brancusi, George Enescu, Mariana Nicolesco: the Cult of a Country for its Glories.

2015 Jubilee Edition of the Hariclea Darclée International Voice Competition: The Ministry of Culture awards soprano Mariana Nicolesco the Diploma of Excellence for the 20 years of Triumph and Glory in the Art of Singing, transmitting the magic traditions of opera music to young talents from 50 countries and 5 continents, which represents a matchless and unique contribution to honoring the memory of her legendary predecessor, Hariclea Darclée.

In 2017 she was invited by the University of Shenzhen in China, to offer Master Classes with the theme Masters – Disciples.

After the Benefit Gala with Laureates of the Hariclea Darclée International Voice Competition in support of children in need, she receives the Diploma of Ambassador of Queen Mary of Romania Foundation.

In 2018 the Chisinau Academy of Arts awarded her the title of Doctor Honoris Causa. On this occasion, Mariana Nicolesco spoke about "Celebrating the Centennial of the Great Union by the Sacred Art of Singing".

She also got in 2018 the Honorary Diploma and the Medal celebrating the Centennial of the Great Union and the 650 years since the first documented mention of Braila

At the 2019 Reunion in Paris of the European Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters, commemorating 500 years since Leonardo da Vinci passed away, its President, Jean-Patrick Connerad Chaumes awarded the Diploma of Academician to Mariana Nicolesco, “brilliant personality of world opera and mentor of the new generations aspiring to reach perfection in music”

At a glamorous reception in Monte Carlo, in the presence of many celebrities the luxurious magazine ARC was launched, featuring Mariana Nicolesco on the cover, where she is Donna Elvira in Mozart’s Don Giovanni. The title is Mariana Nicolesco Voice of a Star, Presence of a Star, while the interview with her, over 34 pages, is illustrated with photos representing her in performances in the world’s great opera houses or with personalities like Yehudi Menuhin, Salvador Dali or His Sanctity Pope John Paul II

She receives in 2020 The Constantin Brâncoveanu Award "for her entire exceptional career"

In the Colocvii Dunărene Revue of the Center for Danube Studies of the Romanian Academy, 2021, appears the article Mariana Nicolesco - A „cover” name:
We are now expecting the Jubilee Edition of the Hariclea Darclée International Voice Competition… We miss those festive days, the song and the smile that dominated the whole city when words were heard in so many foreign languages, when the Danube Esplanade became too small because Mariana Nicolesco's disciples sang on stage... We miss the endless applause, the thousands of flowers, the fireworks, the splendor of that period! And we miss, first of all, Mariana Nicolesco!!!

In his Critic (and Sentimental) Dictionary of Lyric Artists which appeared in 2021 at Akakia Publishing House, Costin Popa writes:
The impact with the art of the famous soprano is overwhelming, Mariana Nicolesco fascinates and seduces instantly, her thrilling personality shines with the first sound. Her power of communication and captivation of the public is truly huge, yet it does not remain a goal in itself, as the only attractive and spectacular dimension, but it draws its essences from the absolute mastery of the Belcanto style (a rara avis nowadays)


Mariana Nicolesco Mariana Nicolesco Mariana Nicolesco
Mariana Nicolesco
Violetta Valéry
in Verdi's La Traviata
Metropolitan Opera, New York
Mariana Nicolesco
Donna Elvira
in Mozart's Don Giovanni
Teatro alla Scala, Milan
Mariana Nicolesco
Queen Anna Bolena
in Donizetti's opera
Bayerische Staatsoper, Munich