Nicolae Bretan

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Nicolae Bretan (25 March 1887 – 1 December 1968) was a Romanian opera composer, baritone, conductor, and music critic.

Bretan was born in Năsăud. He studied in Cluj, Vienna and Budapest before becoming one of the pioneers of Romanian opera - his opera Luceafărul (1921) is cited as the first opera in Romanian.

Bretan also composed over 200 lieder.

In 1944, Bretan wife's family, who were Jewish, were transported to the Nazi extermination camp at Auschwitz and murdered.

Refusing to become a member of the Romanian Communist Party in 1948, he was not favoured by the Romanian communist regime, who treated the composer as a "non-person". He died in Cluj, aged 81.

Major operatic works[edit]


  • "Luceafărul" (The Evening Star) on Nimbus NI 5463 (1996) (Voineag, Szabó, Casian; Transsylvanian Philharmonic Orchestra/conductor: Béla Hary)
  • "Golem" and "Arald" on Nimbus NI 5424 (1995)(Golem: Agache, Dároczy, Sandru, Zancu; Arald: Zancu, Agache, Voineag, Sandru; Moldavian Philharmonic Orchestra/conductor: Christian Mandeal)
  • "Horia" on Nimbus NI5513/14 (1997) (Cornelia Pop, Buciuceanu, Fânăţeanu; Bucharest National Opera Choir, Bucharest Opera Orchestra/conductor: Cornel Trailescu) (live recording)
  • Requiem (mezzo-soprano, baritone, organ) + selection from "Spiritual Songs" (baritone, piano, organ) on Nimbus NI 5584 (1999)


  • The Oxford Illustrated History of Opera, ed. Roger Parker (1994)
  • Booklet accompanying CD of "Golem" and "Arald" (Nimbus NI 5424 (1995))