Nicolae Herlea, the Romanian baritone who sang Figaro in Rossini’s Barber of Seville more than 550 times, has died aged 86. He performed in all major opera houses with the leading conductors of his time.
Report received: On Feb. 24 Nicolae Herlea, famous Romanian baritone, died surrounded by his family, in Frankfurt, Germany.
Born in Bucharest, Romania, he studied at the local Conservatory, with professor Aurel Costescu-Duca, baritone at the Romanian Opera House. Herlea’s debut took place in 1951, as Silvio in I Pagliacci. From that moment on he became soloist of Romanian National Opera, for 35 years, until his retirement.
Besides his career in Romania he sang in the most important Opera Houses, like MET, Teatro alla Scala, Bolshoi, Royal Opera “Covent Garden”, Paris Opera, Staatsoper Berlin etc.
Famous opera artists who met him declared that Herlea has one of the most beautiful baritone voices: Placido Domingo, Roberto Alagna, Angela Gheorghiu, Herbert von Karajan, Nicolai Ghiaurov…
In the past 10 years he was President of the Jury at the International “Hariclea Darclee” Voice Competition in Braila (Romania). He was publicly celebrated at 85, when he received the “Darclee” Medal. He had also the most prestigious titles of Romania, like “People’s Artist” and “The Star of Romania”.