I May Count Myself As Having Been Born Under A Lucky Star

As early as my years of instruction, while at The Academy of Music in Bucharest – as part of the group of the grand and incomparable professional singer and mentor Constantin Stroescu (Enrico Caruso's partner in Boston, 1915, in Leoncavallo's "Pagliacci") – destiny has granted me highly renowned conductors from Romania and from outside her boundaries who coached me in the lyrical art, opera, in the symphonic – vocal genre and in oratorio.Since my very student years, I have performed under the directing hand of illustrious conductors like JEAN BOBESCU, CONSTANTIN BOBESCU, ALFRED ALESSANDRESCU, IOSIF CONTA, MIHAI BREDICEANU, and others. At age 25, I initiated the unabated litany of international competitions for vocal music: in Warsaw (the Great Prize), Zwickau (former GDR – the Schumann Prize), Salzburg (the Great Prize W. A. Mozart, in the bicentennial year of the birth of the soul-stirring and peerless MASTER, 1956), then, in Geneva (the Great Prize), Toulouse (the second prize), in Vienna (the Haydn – Schubert Prize in 1959), Bucharest (the Great Prize in the contest "George Enescu"), Holland – den Bosch (all four great prizes), subsequently, the contest "Queen Elizabeth" – Brussels (1966, first prize, the male contestants' section), lastly, "The Ribbon of the Masters of the Lied", in Hanover – Hamburg, 1968.These prizes caught the attention of major opera houses, of impresarios, of the great conductors. As early as 1956, in Salzburg, SIR GEORG SOLTI suggested a "Rigoletto" staged in Bologna, as well as a concert under his august directorship, to be held at the Salzburg Festival.In Bucharest, I made my début in October 1956, at the National Opera, in "Figaro's Wedding", under the guidance of a great musician and excelling explorer into the aesthetic depths of music, ALFRED ALESSANDRESCU. Then followed Verdi's "Traviata" performances, with an orchestra fronted by the unforgettable JEAN BOBESCU.Thereupon – invitations to significant opera halls in Europe, and, later, the United States Canada, South America, Central America, China, Japan, and the Asian South-Eastern region. There were 61 countries on 5 continents, where the word of God – music – has guided my footsteps. There were over 80 capitals and 320 cities (Romanian ones included) of performances.Where there were no opera halls, I sang in concert halls – symphonic-vocal music and preeminently, lied. This has been my best card: I have not attempted to segregate the lyrical genre down to its vocal subcategories, to which I would then subscribe according to my capacities. On the contrary: vocal music has represented for me an all-ruling, unyielding entity I have delved into completely. I have performed at the Teatro alla Scala – Milan, at the Staatsoper in Vienna, at the Palais Garnier, i.e. at the Opera in Paris, at the Bolshoi Teatr in Moscow, in Bucharest and Budapest, in San Francisco, Rio de Janeiro, Tokyo, etc., etc. I have had world-famous co-performers – all the great singers in the world, and I have given concerts under illustrious conductors: TULLIO SERAFIN, NICOLA RESCIGNO, RICCARDO MUTI, LORIN MAAZEL, GEORGES PRÊTRE, ZUBIN MEHTA, ERICH LEINSDORF, SIR GEORG SOLTI, SIR JOHN BARBIROLLI, and a great many others.In Bucharest, "the baptism of lyrical art" was given by JEAN BOBESCU, IOSIF CONTA, ALFRED ALESSANDRESCU, and, forthwith – in 1957 – EGIZIO MASSINI, the illustrious Italian-born Romanian conductor. This – in the realm of opera.In the symphonic-vocal genre, the first person to give me an impetus was the acclaimed GEORGE GEORGESCU, guiding me through each and every phrase of Gustav Mahler's "Chants of the Wandering Apprentice". Verily, after this episode – March 1957, I became a wandering apprentice: one who was constantly studying and making progress and who was roaming the roads of the entire globe, as a standard bearer to a golden generation at the Romanian Opera House in Bucharest.In recounting and writing of such illustrious figures, I come to understand that I have been in the heart of Our Lord. Without having been overwhelmed by them, the renowned conductors under whose direction I have sung or whose baton I have observed from my seat in the opera house or concert hall, opened the royal gates of universal music. But for God – and, withal, but for them – my self-discovery would have been a delusion. This journey has been perpetually fecund. The Glory of the Maker enchants and orders the Universal Laws, which are the laws of NATURE. Only thus can we exist as human beings and, from among us, are called the "CHOSEN".They have always seconded me: I have perpetually seconded them – always have I shown my gratitude for THEIR MUSIC, perpetually expressed through the medium of Culture, Docility, Wisdom, Awareness, and Character.Maestro GEORGE GEORGESCU, in his art of conducting, swayed, as a genius, between clarity and trance – in MUSIC, this analytic universe.In the Master's spirit, when he was conducting, I have discovered the fundamental makings of Music: the harmonic and the transcendental component. And, in everything, I found eloquence, limpidity, and intellectualism. His gestures were demure, classical; nonetheless, every movement expressed the will and urge to attain the sublime.Never will I forget the VIth Symphony, "the Pathetica" (Tchaikovsky), conducted by the Maestro. Many have deemed him to be austere and trapped by inflexible musical boundaries. Horrendous error. Behold: Tchaikovsky and Richard Strauss, Mahler and Beethoven were always replete with pathos and passion.Second to him, on the podium of the Athenaeum – the more lyrical and pensive CONSTANTIN SILVESTRI, indisputably endowed with the Grace of God.At the Opera House, Egizio Massini fascinated me. I instantly realized what he wanted and wherefore.It is a crucial matter that the conductor pursue the soloistic parts, and that the balance be determined and inspired by the orchestral accompaniment. These, Maestro EGIZIO MASSINI understood to perfection. His musical directorship proved to be a rich and valuable experience; when he realized an animating, flawless conjoint of the two parties, of singer, instrumental soloists and the rest of the orchestra.He was an undisputed Master in creating moments of great tenseness, great drama, with the orchestra. This, nonetheless – in alternation with passages of profound and consoling lyricism – in the musical discourse of passages. By his mediation, I have fathomed Music in a better way. Always.In him, the vigor and precision of the gesture were cardinal.Nonetheless, at the same time, vigor became the inexorability with which he impeccably solved difficult points internal to a score. With noble and perfect maturity, he ceaselessly pondered over the basal components essential to the musical act, and to the conducting act, implicitly: over lucidity and vibrant pathos, over everything, an expression of the sublime harmony contained in music.EGIZIO MASSINI gave proof – and this is always significant – of an ever-growing emotional and accurate explicitness in the interpretative concept of the oeuvres he has conducted.For, the challenge for MASTERSHIP is in itself a bit of a poetic, almost mythical, endeavor.In this manner, EGIZIO MASSINI constantly set out on an accurate circumscription of excessive convention and realism in the orchestral or stage performance.He converted musical conducting art into a permanent inspiration.Thus, he has constantly and consistently unraveled MUSIC, with his (Latin) impetuousness, imagination and inspiration.From him, I have learned enormously. I loved him and felt that he appreciated me, that he held me in great affection for what I was doing. Lyrically, I have perpetuated his message.I have been a blessed one and, by him, have better come to grasp the role of wisdom, intuition, equilibrium and lucidness – but also, that of the alternating pathos, also, of the role of incessant work, of in-depth research, of submission and of culture.He had a cardinal contribution to my shaping as an artist – as an opera, lied and oratorio performer.I miss HIM!!!May 2003

by Dan Iordăchescu