Biographie / biography

The Slovak bass opera singer Jozef Benci graduated from the Bratislava Conservatoire in 1997 and continued 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 at 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 after which he performed the Laureates’ concert series in Italy.

Two years later in 1999, he received the 2nd Prize at the Antonín Dvořák Competition in Karlovy Vary (Karlsbad, Czech Republic). In August 2001 he became the laureat of the Special Prize granted by Foundation Darclée in the Concursului International de Canto Hariclea Darclée in Braila, Romania. 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 Carlos), Tom (Un Balllo di Maschera), Dulcamara (L´Elisir D´Amore) Sulpice (La fille du regiment), Don Alfonso (Lucrezia Borgia), Sarastro (Die Zauberflöte), Mephistopheles (Faust), Giorgio (I Puritani), Pimen and the title role of Boris Godunov.

In May 2003, he interpreted the bass part of the 9th Symphony by Ludwig van Beethoven with the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra broadcast live with EBU. In May 2004, he sang 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 sang 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 from 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 performed outstandingly successfully at a vocal recital with coloratura soprano star Edita Gruberova at the Bratislava Music Festival with whom he also appeared at the very same festival for the performance of the opera Lucrezia Borgia by Donizetti. He also performed this opera in Budapest.

In April 2012 he studied and performed the bass part of the famous Requiem by Verdi with a conducting legend Nello Santi. He appeared on stage on multiple occasions with Edita Gruberova, for example in September 2012 at the Tonhalle in Zürich and in September 2013 for the performance of the opera Anna Bolena by Donizetti.

In 2014 he performed for the world premiere recording of the original version of Leoš Janáček’s Glagolitic Mass which was conducted by Tomáš Netopil. Additionally, in the summer of that year he made an appearance at the opera festival Sankt Margarethen in the role of Ramphis from the opera Aida by Verdi. Later in October he sang in a big opera production of Elektra by R. Strauss which was conducted by Charles Dutoit at a festival in China.

He’s been guesting at the Hungarian State Opera in Budapest since 2013 and in June 2015 he was on tour in Japan.

In April 2016 he appeared at the premiere of the opera Fidelio by L. v. Beethoven in the role of Rocco and in May 2016 he performed the premiere of the opera Simon Boccanegra by G. Verdi in the role of Fiesco at the Slovak National Theatre in Bratislava.

In April 2017 he had a successful premiere of the opera La Juive by F. Halevy in the role of Le Cardinal de Broghni which was directed by Peter Konwitschny and in January 2018 he performed at the premiere of the opera Sadko by N.R. Korsakov, where he assumed 2 roles – the Viking guest and the King of the Sea, at the Slovak National Theatre.

In September 2018 he interpreted Dvorak's very successful oratorio named St. Ludmila in Prague with the Czech Philharmonic conducted by Jakub Hruša. Later in October 2018 he performed the Glagolitic Mass by Janacek at the Berliner Philharmonie and in the same month he portrayed the character of Il Grande Inquisitore for the premiere of Verdi’s opera Don Carlos at the Slovak National Theatre in Bratislava.

In January 2019 he assumed the role of Phillipe II from Verdi’s opera Don Carlos and in March 2019 he interpreted Don Alfonso from Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte at the Slovak National Theatre in Bratislava

Stand 2022


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