'The Carmen of the 20th Century' Sings for the National Day of Romania

03/12/2015 @ Romanian Cultural Institute, 1 Belgrave Square, SW1X8PH

Legendary mezzo-soprano Viorica Cortez, hailed as "the Carmen of the 20th Century", is this year's star of our traditional Gala Recital dedicated to the celebration of the National Day of Romania. The great singer will be joined by pianist Alina Păvălache for a  blissful programme of great operatic arias along with songs by George Enescu and Achim Stoia.


The event is organised in partnership with the Romanian Embassy in the UK and is part of the Enescu Concerts Series, the all-year programme offered by the Romanian Cultural Institute in London and the Enescu Society.


The unmistakable voice, the scenic temperament, the baffling vastness of her operatic and vocal-symphonic repertoire are key elements that draw the unique career of mezzo-soprano Viorica Cortez, which unfolded on all great stages of the world. Renowned critic Sergio Segalini named her "Diva assoluta" and, throughout 1970s and 1980s, she was universally described as "Carmen of the 20th Century". Viorica Cortez started her international career in 1964 after winning the Grand Prix in the Toulouse Competition. Immediately followed the Grad Special Prize Kathleen Ferrier in Holland (1965) and the Gold Medal in the George Enescu International Competition in Bucharest (1967).  Toulouse meant a series of great and rapid debuts in roles such as Dalila, Carmen, Amnneris, Eboli, Charlotte and Azucena, the backbone of a lifetime dedicated to music. The most important lyrical theatres in the world such as Metropolitan Opera in New York, Teatro Alla Scala in Milan, Gran Teatre del Liceo in Barcelona, Staatsoper in Wien or the Opera Garnier in Paris, invited her to sing alongside other great artists of the moment: Franco Corelli, Carlo Bergonzi, Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo, Monserrat Caballé and many, many others. The Répertoire Opera writes: "The moment Royal Opera House Covent Garden offered Viorica Cortez the title role in Carmen by Bizet, one of the greatest and most beautiful mezzo-soprano voices of the second half of the 20th Century could be heard".  The Daily Telegraph titled: "Cortez Miraculous" and the Evening News on 29th of November 1968: "Carmen to life – that’s Viorica". Besides her glorious operatic apparitions, Viorica Cortez had a rich concert and cameral activity presented in equally  prestigious halls all over Europe: the Royal Albert Hall in London, Scala in Milan or Carnegie Hall in New York. Still very active,  the mezzo-soprano is the President of the George Enescu Society in Paris and, since, 2014 she has been presiding the jury of the George Enescu International Vocal Art Competition in Paris, founded together with pianist Alina Pavalache and soprano Leontina Văduva. Together with pianist Alina Păvălache, Viorica Cortez presented George Enescu’s complete works for voice and piano all over the world.


After her debut  with the National Philharmonic Orchestra of Moldova in Iasi, Romanian pianist, soloist and accompanist Alina Păvălache has performed works by Mozart, Weber, Beethoven, Schubert and Liszt on the most important stages in Romania with the National Philharmonic Orchestras of Bucharest, Brasov, Cluj, Timisoara and the Romanian Radio-Television Orchestra.  The pianist has been living in Paris since 1990 where she has continued to have a successful concert pianist and accompanist career.  She was invited to perform throughout Europe and was appointed professor at the Russian Conservatory Serge Rachmaninoff in Paris. At the same time, she has continued to study with great masters such as Dalton Baldwin, Janine Reiss, André Gorog and Jacques Rouvier. Alina Pavalache has worked with the conductor John Eliot Gardiner for L’Enlèvement au Sérail by Mozart at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris and has recorded with the mezzo-soprano Viorica Cortez The Seven Songs of Clement Marot by  Enescu for France 3 Television and Romanian National Television. Alina Păvălache has performed Enescu's Sonata op. 24 No. 1  for a series of concerts in France and abroad including the George Enescu National Museum in Bucharest. Since 2006, the musician has been the artistic director for the Rencontres Musicales Magnoac, whose honorary president is the actor Francis Perrin.


When: Thu, 3 December, 7pm

Where: Romanian Cultural Institute in London, 1 Belgrave Square, SW1X 8PH

Free entrance. Please book your ticket on Eventbrite.

Please note that the seating is unreserved.