Masquerade – Zita Szemere and Gergely Biri's aria recital (24 January 2021)

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On 24 January 2021, the young couple, soprano Zita Szemere and tenor Gergely Biri gave an aria recital on the Sándor Hevesi Stage of the Eiffel Art Studios. Their programme included works by Mozart, Donizetti and French composers. Their performance was streamed live from 8:00 p.m. on Facebook and Origo.

Junior Prima Award winner soprano Zita Szemere earned her degree at the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music in 2014.  Her singing teacher and mentor was Magda Nádor, but she has also attended master classes held by the likes of Sylvia Sass, Nicolas Clapton, Éva Marton and Júlia Hamari. She has been a student of renowned opera singer Ildikó Komlósi for three years. She achieved notable successes even in her university years, winning the 7th National and 2nd International József Simándy Prize in her category, before debuting at the Szeged National Theatre as Gilda in Verdi's Rigoletto in 2012. It was the success and recognition she earned for this performance that opened the door to appearances in the same role at venues such as the KlassikFestival Schloss Kirchstetten classical music festival in 2013. She made her debut at the Hungarian State Opera as Norina in Don Pasquale in 2014. Her repertoire includes operas by Mozart and Donizetti as well as pieces by baroque, romantic and contemporary composers.

Music took on a crucial role in the life of Nyíregyháza-born tenor Gergely Biri from a young age. After earning a degree in opera performance in 2017, he continued his voice studies privately with opera singer Éva Bátori. Having taken part in master classes with Béla Perencz and Timothy Bentch, he is currently working under the guidance of Kossuth Prize-winning opera singer Ildikó Komlósi. He won first prize both at the Mihály Székely Singing Competition in 2016 and theEmil Petrovics Singing Competition in 2017. He made his debut at the Hungarian State Opera in the role of Nemorino in the Transylvanian tour of L'elisir d'amore, where he was partnered with Zita Szemere. His principal roles include include the major roles from the lyric tenor repertoire: Tamino (Die Zauberflöte), Don Ottavio (Don Giovanni), Calandrino (Mozart’s L'oca del Cairo, ossia Lo sposo deluso), Ottó (Bánk Bán) and Acis (Acis and Galatea). He also regularly appears as a soloist at concerts.

Artistic directors of the performance: Katalin Kovács and Katalin Lázár
Pianist: Sámuel Csaba Tóth
Hosted by: Szilveszter Ókovács

Programme:

Gounod: Roméo et Juliette – Juliette's aria from Act 1 ("Je veux vivre dans ce rêve") – Zita Szemere
Lalo: Le roi d'Ys  – Mylio's aria from Act 3 ("Vainement, ma bien-aimée") – Gergely Biri
Mozart: Die Entführung aus dem Serail – Blonde's aria from Act 1 ("Durch Zärtlichkeit und Schmeicheln") – Zita Szemere
Mozart: L'oca del Cairo, ossia Lo sposo deluso – Calandrino's aria from Act 1 ("Dove mai trovar quel ciglio") – Gergely Biri
Verdi–Liszt: Paraphrase de concert sur Rigoletto, S. 434 – Sámuel Csaba Tóth
Offenbach: Les contes d'Hoffmann – Olympia's aria from Act 1 ("Les oiseaux dans le charmille") – Zita Szemere
Donizetti: L'elisir d'amore – Nemorino's romance from Act 2 ("Una furtiva lagrima") – Gergely Biri
Donizetti: L'elisir d'amore – Adina and Nemorino's duet from Act 1 ("Ó, itt vagy hát, bájital") – Zita Szemere and Gergely Biri

The performance can be viewed HERE.

Photo by Valter Berecz