Biographie / biography

Slovak bass Jozef Benci graduated from Bratislava Conservatoire in 1997 and continued in his studies at the Bratislava Academy of Music and Drama, and the Janáček Academy of Music in Brno (Czech Republic). He finished his studies in the class of Sergei Koptchak at the Bratislava Academy in 2003. As a student, he already received acclaim in international singing competitions at home and abroad. In 1997, he was awarded the 3rd Prize at the International Cavaler Carl Vender’s Singing Competition in Bratislava and he did Laureates’ concert series in Italy.

Two years later, he received the 2nd Prize at the Antonín Dvořák Competition in Karlovy Vary (Karlsbad, Czech Republic), in August 2001, the Special Prize granted by Foundation Darclée in the Concursului International de Canto Hariclea Darclée in Braila, Romania and in September 2001 he won the prestigious International Singing Competition of George Enescu in Bucharest. In February 2006, he won the Kammeroper Schloss Rheinsberg International Competition for young singers in Berlin.

He started his singing career in 1998 as a guest soloist of the Slovak National Theatre Chamber Opera in Bratislava. In September 2002, he was engaged as a soloist of the State Opera Banská Bystrica. Here, he gained his first experiences while portraying the roles of Attila, Zaccaria (Nabucco), Colline (La Boheme), Kecal (The Bartered Bride), Basilio (Il barbiere di Siviglia) and others. In January 2004 he made his stage debut at the Slovak National Theatre Opera House in Bratislava in the role of Zaccaria (Nabucco). His Zaccaria was highly acclaimed by both the critics and the audience. In January 2007 he became the soloist of this leading Slovak opera scene. In Bratislava he also expanded his repertoire: Watersprite (Rusalka), Kecal (The Bartered Bride), Ferrando (Il Trovatore), Grande Inquisitore (Don Carlo), Tom (Un Balllo di Maschera), Dulcamara (L´Elisir D´Amore) Sulpice (La fille du regiment), Don Alfonso (Lucrezia Borgia), Sarastro (Die Zauberflote), Mephistopheles (Faust), Giorgio (I Puritani), Pimen and the title role of Boris Godunov.

In May 2003, he interpreted the bass part of 9th Symphony by Ludwig van Beethoven with the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra broadcasted live with EBU. In May 2004, he sung at a gala that commemorated the occasion of the Slovak Republic’s entry to the European Union. He appeared in a gala concert of the leading Slovak opera stars at the International Festival Montmartre en Europe in Paris, he sung at the Central European Music Festival, Zilina in 2003 (Bach’s Easter Oratorio), and in 2007 (solo recital) and at the 2009 International Music Festival in Cesky Krumlov (Watersprite in Rusalka). He also performed in other opera and concert performances both in his native Slovakia and in the Czech Republic, Luxembourg, France, Romania, Italy, Austria, Poland ,Germany, China and Japan.

In 2011 he received critical acclaim for the role of Kecal in a concert version of Smetana's "The Bartered Bride", conducted by Jiri Belohlavek and performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra in London's Barbican Hall. This performance was later released on a CD by Harmonia Mundi. He featured in a 2012 BBC radio recording of Antonin Dvorak's "The Jacobin", in which he performed the role of the Count's Burgrave . This performance was also conducted by Jiri Belohlavek

In November 2011 he extraordinary and successful presented for Bratislava Music Festival for together vocal´s recital with coloratura star soprano Edita Gruberova with who he operated in this festival and concert´s performance of opera Lucrezia Borgia by Donizetti. He also performed this opera in Budapest.

In April 2012 he studied and performed bass part of famous Requiem by Verdi with a conducting legend Nello Santi.

In September 2012 he sang with Edita Gruberova in Tonhalle in Zürich and in September 2013 sang with Edita Gruberova performances of opera Anna Bolena by Donizetti.

In 2014 he recorded Glagolitic Mass (original version – world premiere recording) by Leoš Janáček, conducted by Tomáš Netopil.

In summer 2014 he sang in opera festival Sankt Margarethen role Ramphis from opera Aida by Verdi.

In october 2014 he sang in big opera production Elektra by R. Strauss, conducted by Ch. Dutoit on festival in China.

From 2012 he is permanent guest in Hungarian State Opera in Budapest and in June 2015 he was on tour in Japan.


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