Artist of the Week: Eugene Brancoveanu

Romanian Baritone to Bring Acclaimed Rigoletto to San Jose

By Francisco Salazar

This week, Opera San José is set to bring a production of Verdi’s “Rigoletto” with a cast of rising stars and veterans of San Jose including Eugene Brancoveanu.

Brancoveanu is a Tony Award-winning baritone who became a Resident Artist of San Jose during the 2019-2020 season and stayed with the company until 2023. He became a favorite of the company performing such roles as Eisenstein in “Die Fledermaus,” The Father in “Hansel and Gretel,” Count Di Luna in “Il Trovatore,” The Count in “The Marriage of Figaro,” Escamilio in “Carmen,” and Ford in “Falstaff.”

This year, he returns as Resident Artist Emeritus singing one of the most challenging roles in the baritone repertoire. In a recent interview with the baritone, Brancoveanu said, ” This is the fifth time singing Rigoletto, and it’s always like starting from scratch.”

He added, “Certain parts in Rigoletto, Verdi does not like the singers to breathe a lot. So technically speaking it’s always challenging. When I first sang this I was 22 years old back in Romania in 1999. I was neither married nor did I have children. Now I have been married for 20 years and my wife and I have two children so when I get to the moment when I have to sing ‘Gilde e Morta,’ that strikes really differently because I have a daughter of that age. It’s different for someone who is inhabiting or acting an emotion. The emotion has grown bigger and bigger inside and the paternal instincts that I have are beyond powerful.”

Over the years Brancoveanu has been acclaimed for his portrayal with critics stating he has a “powerful baritone” and “By the end of the third act, when he is cradling his murdered daughter in his arms and he lets out the piercing, piteous, primordial cry of a wounded animal, we see a Rigoletto in the full tragic bloom of agony.”


For more on the baritone check these clips of the baritone performing excerpts from “Rigoletto,” “Don Giovanni,” and “Carmen.”


Artist of the Week