István Berczelly pursued his vocal studies under the guidance of Rezső Feleki, László Jámbor and Miklós Szabó. Between 1965 and 1970, he was a member of the Csokonai National Theatre in Debrecen, where his first major role was as the title character in Mozart's Don Giovanni. He signed with the Opera in 1970 and has remained a member ever since. He has sung nearly every major baritone and bass role in the opera repertoire.
Audiences at the Opera have had the chance to see him in such roles as Count di Luna (Il trovatore), Renato (Un ballo in maschera), Iago (Otello), Zaccaria (Nabucco), the Grand Inquisitor (Don Carlos), Hermann (Tannhäuser), Wotan (Der Ring des Nibelungen), Pogner (Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg), Klingsor (Parsifal), Gunther and Hagen (Götterdämmerung), The Dutchman (The Flying Dutchman), Bluebeard (Bluebeard's Castle), Mosè (Mosè in Egitto), Pizarro (Fidelio), Samson (Szokolay: Samson), Miklós Gara (László Hunyadi), Petur and Endre II (Bánk bán), the Speaker (Die Zauberflüte), Boris (Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District), Simon Boccanegra, Háry János.
He has often taken the stage as an oratorio singer and has made several recordings.
Awards and recognitions:
Kossuth Prize (2020)
Knight's Cross of the Hungarian Order of Merit, civil division (2017)
Mária Sudlik Memorial Award (2016)
Gundel Art Award (2010)
Eternal member of the Company of Immortals (2010)
Artist of Excellence (2006)
Artist of Merit (1996)
György Melis Award (1996)
Gusztáv Oláh Commemorative Plaque (1996)
Bartók–Pásztory Award (1992)
Ferenc Liszt Award (1987)
Mihály Székely Commemorative Plaque (1986)