Just returned less than a week ago from the Tenor Viñas International Competition, where he successfully represented Romania, bringing home the Award for The Best Verdian Interpretation, the bass Köpeczi Sándor from Cluj tells us about his experience in this contest, but also his previous and future artistic path, in an interview given for the collection Small Talk with… by Jurnal de Soprană. I am very proud of this interview, first of all because it is done with a colleague whom I have always looked up to with admiration, who is more than a singer, he is an exceptional man and musician, and then, because we have in front of us an exponent of the next generation of top international opera singers, without any doubt.
Köpeczi Sándor graduated Piano and Canto classical specializations at “Gheorghe Dima” National Music Academy, in Cluj-Napoca, being currently a student in the 2nd year of a Master’s degree in Canto specialization at the same institution. He debuted on the international stage as a vocal soloist in 2014, at the world premiere of the contemporary opera Bizánc (Kalil) by Selmeczi György, a show that was part of the Miskolc Opera Festival, Hungary. Since then, his lyrical repertoire has been enriched with roles such as Sparafucile (Rigoletto), Old Jew (Samson and Dalila), Commander (Don Giovanni), Sacristan (Tosca), Bartolo (The Marriage of Figaro), Ferrando (Il Trovatore), Colline (La bohème), José Castro and Billy Jackrabbit (La Fanciulla del West), Lodovico (Otello). Speaking of the vocal-symphonic repertoire, Sándor performed Requiem by Mozart, Requiem by Dvořak, Requiem Parastas by Marțian Negrea, Faust’s Damnation by Berlioz. In October 2019, he was invited to perform in the Kálmándy30 Gala, which took place in Budapest, a concert conducted by János Kovács, winner of the Liszt Ferenc Award.
He is currently a soloist at the Hungarian State Opera in Cluj-Napoca. During the 2019-2020 season, he will play the role of Il Re in Aida by Giuseppe Verdi and Osmin in Die Entführung aus dem Serail by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart at the Budapest Opera House.
Dear Sanyi, congratulations again to you and thank you for deciding to keep us updated with your evolution during the 57th edition of the Tenor Viñas Contest, from which you returned today with the Award for The Best Verdian Interpretation. What thoughts and expectations did you have before the contest and which of them proved revelatory?
When I signed up, I realized that I was taking a path that could go very well or not, because in any contest there is, to some extent, the sense of a lottery. Immediately afterwards, I realized that a very important factor was the way I built my repertoire. For registration, the competition rules provided that each participant’s repertoire should be made up of 6 arias, in 3 different languages and 3 styles. One of them was interpreted in the preliminary phase, and the rest of five, in the three stages in Barcelona. From my point of view, looking at regulations and performance, the contest looks to reward a balanced singer, who has the opportunity to punctuate each requirement, both in terms of the text and languages, vocal technique and stylistically speaking, scenic appearance, and, last but not least, the vocal stamp. Most of the participants eliminated during the semi-finals, even though they had confirmed their potential in the previous stages, were inconsistent in execution, either had difficulties in terms of language and diction, or approached a repertoire that the jury considered inappropriate for their voice, for the respective moment of the contest.
I chose the Osmin aria from Die Entführung aus dem Serail by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart for the first round. I knew that in this aria everything is based on attitude, vocality, ambitus and, above all, the grave D. Like the high notes for tenors, if this sound is convincing, success is guaranteed. For the second step, I opted for an aria that would give me the confidence that I would pass to the next stage, along with a completely opposite aria from a character’s stand. In this case, A te l´estremo addio… Il lacerato spirito from Simon Boccanegra by Giuseppe Verdi and Pif, Paf, Pouf from Les Huguenots by Giacomo Meyerbeer. I really wanted to reach the final, and for this moment I chose La Calunnia from Il Barbiere di Siviglia by Gioacchino Rossini and Come dal ciel precipita from Macbeth by Giuseppe Verdi.1