Max Emanuel Cenčić

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Max Emanuel Cenčić
Cencic 13.jpg
Max Emanuel Cenčić

(1976-09-21) 21 September 1976 (age 45)

Max Emanuel Cenčić (born 21 September 1976) is a Croatian countertenor, as of 1994 based in Austria.[1] He was a member of the Wiener Sängerknaben.

Early career as a boy soprano[edit]

Born Max Emanuel Cenčić in Zagreb, he started singing at a very early age, earning fame in his native Croatia at the age of six after singing the Queen of the Night's coloratura aria "Der Hölle Rache" from Mozart's Die Zauberflöte on Zagreb television. From circa 1987 to 1992, Cenčić was a member of the Wiener Sängerknaben, touring and recording with them. Recorded performances, in which Cenčić was either treble soloist of the Sängerknaben or an independent male soprano, include Handel's Messiah, Haydn's Die Schöpfung, and Mozart's Requiem, alongside countertenor Derek Lee Ragin). Cenčić can also be heard as the leading treble soloist with the Wiener Sängerknaben in numerous recordings of liturgical and secular music on the Philips label. A particular highlight from his recordings with the Sängerknaben is a performance of the vocal version of Johann Strauss II's Frühlingsstimmen, a remarkable feat of vocalism for a boy soprano. Cenčić was educated at Downside School in Somerset between the ages of 14 and 16.[2]

Post-Sängerknaben career as a male soprano[edit]

From 1992 to 1997, he pursued a solo career, singing soprano although his voice had already broken. Following considerable success as a male soprano (including widely acclaimed performances as Amore in Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice), he took a sabbatical from performance, during which he re-trained his voice as a high countertenor. He made his debut as a countertenor in 2001. Prior to adapting his vocal technique to the countertenor range, Cenčić made a series of recordings of operatic arias and Lieder for a private record label. These recordings have been sporadically available through Arcadia, the online shop of the Wiener Staatsoper.


Following his re-training as a countertenor, Cenčić has enjoyed a successful career that has taken him around the world. He is noted for a series of dramatically varied portrayals, including the female role of Saint Alexis' wife (Sposa) in Stefano Landi's 1631 opera Il Sant'Alessio, with William Christie and Les Arts Florissants. Cenčić also appeared in the role of Perseo in the serenata Andromeda Liberata, attributed to Antonio Vivaldi but of dubious authorship, both in a world tour and a recording on the DGG Archiv label with Andrea Marcon and the Venice Baroque Orchestra.

Cencic made his debut at the Vienna State Opera on 28 February 2010, in the role of the Herold in the premiere of Aribert Reimann's opera Medea. He sang three additional performances of the role at the Staatsoper in November and December 2010.[3]

A studio recording of operatic arias by George Frideric Handel, notably containing music composed for the mezzo-soprano castrato Giovanni Carestini, was released on the EMI/Virgin label in the UK on 1 March 2010. In 2015 Decca released a recording by Parnassus Arts Productions of Leonardo Vinci's Catone in Utica co-produced by Cenčić, in which he sang the role of Arbace.

Cencic appeared as Nerone in Monteverdi's L'incoronazione di Poppea for the Opéra de Lille in 2012, with Sonya Yoncheva as Poppea, Tim Mead as Ottone and Emanuelle Haïm conducting Le Concert d’Astrée. In 2017, he performed the same role in the production for the reopening of the Staatsoper Unter den Linden in Berlin, staged by Eva Höckmayr, conducted by Diego Fasolis, alongside Anna Prohaska as Poppea.[4][5] He has also staged operas, notably Handel's Arminio, in which he also played the title role, at the Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe in 2016[6]




  • Handel: Arminio, Max Emanuel Cencic, Juan Sancho, Lauren Snouffer, Owen Willetts, Aleksandra Kubas-Kruk, Gaia Petrone, Armonia Atenea, George Petrou, Karlsruhe, CMajor, 2017
  • Vinci: Artaserse, Philippe Jaroussky, Max Emanuel Cencic, Valer Barna-Sabadus, Franco Fagioli, Concerto Köln, Diego Fasolis, Warner Music Group Germany, 2012
  • Monteverdi: L'incoronazione di Poppea, Philippe Jaroussky (Nerone), Danielle de Niese (Poppea), Anna Bonitatibus (Ottavia), Max Emanuel Cencic (Ottone), Les Arts Florissants, William Christie, Virgin, 2012
  • Monteverdi: L'incoronazione di Poppea, Sonya Yoncheva (Poppée), Max Emanuel Cencic (Néron), Ann Hallenberg (Octavie), Tim Mead (Othon), Paul Whelan (Sénèque) & Amel Brahim-Djelloul (Drusilla), Le Concert d'Astrée, Emmanuelle Haïm (conductor) & Jean-François Sivadier (stage director), Virgin, 2013
  • Stefano Landi: Il Sant' Alessio, Philippe Jaroussky, Max Emanuel Cencic, Alain Buet, Xavier Sabata, Damien Guillon, Pascal Bertin, Terry Wey, Les Arts Florissants, William Christie, Virgin, 2007


  1. ^ BBC music magazine,British Broadcasting Corporation, 1994, v3 1-6, p. 8: "Max Emanuel Cenčić, an Austrian singer of Croatian descent, was born in 1976. He showed a precocious talent, performing the Queen of the Night's arias from The Magic Flute at the age of six in Zagreb."
  2. ^ "Interview de Max-Emanuel CENCIC". Des'Lices d'Opéra. Retrieved 4 November 2017.
  3. ^ Wiener Staatsoper schedule - Max Emanuel Cencic.
  4. ^ "Kritik - Berliner Staatsoper Unter den Linden / Niemand ist vor Amor sicher". BR (in German). 11 December 2017. Retrieved 12 December 2017.
  5. ^ Waltenberger, Ingobert (11 December 2017). "Berlin / Staatsoper: L'incoronazione de Poppea. Premiere". Der Neue Merker (in German). Archived from the original on 12 December 2017. Retrieved 12 December 2017.
  6. ^ Roeber, Martin. "Händel-Festspiele: Cencic rehabilitiert Oper "Arminio"". Musik Heute. Retrieved 15 August 2018.

External links[edit]