Culture Minister expresses regret over death of baritone Nicolae Herlea

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The Minister of Culture expresses regret over the death of baritone Nicolae Herlea, reads a release of the institution remitted to AGERPRES.

Photo credit: (c) Romulus Boanca / AGERPRES ARHIVA

"Whoever had at least one chance to meet the artist was for sure impressed with his exceptional modesty, which only characterizes such persons for whom reaching an ideal does not represent an aim in itself, but the spiritual fulfillment of the most noble belief in beauty, good and honour. He always showed an immense respect for art and for the artists. This is, in a few words, who the great lyrics artist Nicolae Herlea was," reads the document signed by Minister of Culture Gigel Stirbu.

He also referred to Nicolae Herlea's vocal gift: "Beyond the awards that, from a young age, have paved his way to world fame, perhaps the main path he followed in his strive for perfection was represented by his own hard work for achieving artistic mastery, for adding technical polish to his voice, about which he confessed he felt it was 'a gift from God'. Out of respect for this gift he received, and also fully aware of the message entrusted to him and loving his vocation of lyric performer, the maestro has managed to climb with an impressive rapidity the stairway to global success," shows the document.

"Nicolae Herlea is for Romania what Chaliapin has meant for Russia," — these are iconic words capturing the exact image of a great personality surrounded by a legendary aura.

Baritone Nicolae Herlea passed away on Monday at the age of 86, after a long suffering, the Bucharest National Opera informs in a release to AGERPRES.

"The artists of the Bucharest National Opera and the entire staff of the institution express their deep sorrow at the loss of an extraordinary singer, who brought fame to the most important lyrical stage of our country, representing one of the greatest cultural values of Romania," the release reads.

Born in Bucharest, Nicolae Herlea graduated from the Conservatoire.

He made his debut on the stage of the Bucharest National Opera in 1951, playing Silvio in the "Pagliacci" Italian opera by Ruggero Leoncavallo, at the old theatre "Regina Maria." He was the leading baritone of this opera until his retirement.

Beyond his outstanding career in Romania, Nicolae Herlea sang on the stages of the world's most prestigious operas: La Scala in Milan, the Metropolitan Opera in New York, the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, the Berlin Opera, Covent Garden in London or the Paris Opera.

Famous artists such as Placido Domingo, Roberto Alagna, Herbert von Karajan, Nicolai Ghiaurov and other legendary lyrical singers considered the Romanian artist "a singer with one of the warmest and most beautiful voices."

Over the past few years, Nicolae Herlea has been the chairman of the jury of the Hariclea Darclee International Canto Contest in Braila, where he used to advise and encourage the most talented Romanian young singers. AGERPRES

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