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Branko Robinšak

Opera Singers / Tenor

Biography

Branko Robinšak was born in Maribor, Slovenia. He studied music at the Ljubljana Academy of Music with Professor Eva Noušak-Houška. Already as a student, he was engaged by the Slovenian National Theater Opera and Ballet Ljubljana, where he made his operatic debut as Tamino in Mozart's “The Magic Flute”. The following summer he was awarded a prize at the  Mario del Monaco Vocal Competition in Treviso.

After graduation from the Ljubljana Academy of Music, he was perfecting his singing at the  Mozarteum in Salzburg with Professor  Sena Jurinac. In 1987 he sang at the Salzburg State Theater under the direction of conductor  Hans Graf, under whose lead Robinšak also made his debut in Mozart's "Idomeneo"  at the Old Opera House in Frankfurt. During the same summer, he made his first appearance at the  Salzburg Summer Festival in many concert productions. In 1988, he created the role of  Ozia in Mozart's early opera  "La Betulia liberata"  on the occasion of the  Viennese Music Weeks, directed by  Ernst Poetgen and conducted by  Walter Hagen-Groll; the production was repeated at the  Salzburg Summer Festival. During his performance in Salzburg, the staging of Mozart's "Don Giovanni", directed by  Joachim Hertz, and some noted concert appearances conducted by  Milan Horvat  (Beethoven's Missa Solemnis, Mozart's Requiem, etc.) have to be mentioned. In the 1989/1990 season, he signed a contract with the Opera House Graz, where he performed the part of  Idamante in Mozart's "Idomeneo" under the artistic lead of  Nikša Bareza, Tamino ("The Magic Flute") and Bénedict "Berlioz's". Beatrice and Benedict ”), conducted by  Jean Person. The artistic collaboration with Nikša Bareza continued at various festivals. In 1991, Branko Robinšak appeared at the  Vienna Summer Music Festival as Don Ottavio, which was considered by critics "a discovery". During the same summer, Robinšak took part in the seminar led by fa famous Italian tenor  Franco Corelli and his wife  Loretta. This represented a turning point in Robinšak's career - from the technical point of view as well as regards the repertoire selection.

After a year of hard studies with the Italian couple, he succeeded in signing a contract for a heavier repertoire in Innsbruck (Stravinsky's "Oedipus Rex"). In 1992, Branko Robinšak sang in Vienna in a concert production of Bellini's opera "Beatrice di Tenda" conducted by  Pinkas Steinberg and with  Edita Gruberova in the title role. The Swiss gramophone company Nightingale Classics AG released a CD of the concert. In 1993, he took his debut as Duca di Mantova in Verdi's "Rigoletto" at the German Theater in Munich. In the following years, he sang this role in various European opera houses. Another guest performance with the Swiss Ensemble Theater in the role of Leicester in Donizetti's "Maria Stuart" has to be mentioned as well. Besides the current performances of the permanent repertoire in 1995, the appearances in Spain (San Sebastian, Bilbao, Madrid) with Dvorak's "Stabat Mater", the appearance with Franz Schmit's oratorio "The Book with Seven Seals", conducted by  Teodor Guschelbauer at the  Nuremberg Summer Festival and the appearance in Teatro Giuseppe Verdi in Trieste also with Dwořak's “Stabat Mater” and conducted by  Julian Kovatschev are worth mentioning. In the same year, the Mladinska knjiga publishing house edited Robinšak's first monograph CD with famous opera arias, accompanied by the Symphonists of the RTV Slovenia. In the 1996/1997 season, the tenor Branko Robinšak prepared the Donizetti's "Roberto Devereux" production with Ensemble Theater of Biel (Switzerland) under the artistic direction of  Marc Tardue and the concert production of Bruckner's "Te Deum" with the Philharmonic Orchestra of Strassbourg under  Teodor Guschlbauer. Another lauded performance was that of  Rodolfo in the production of Puccini's "La Boheme" with Ensemble Theater of Biel. In October 1997, maestro Nikša Bareza invited Branko Robinšak to a scenic production of Schubert - Denissov's "Lazarus"  with the Radio Symphony Orchestra of Croatia to create the role of  Lazarus. The performances were recorded and broadcast by the Croatian Radiotelevision.

The 1998/1999 season included performances of Foresto  (Verdi's - "Attila") in Switzerland and Germany,  Don José  (Bizet's "Carmen") in Switzerland and France,  Pollione  (Bellini's "Norma") in Switzerland,  Pinkerton  (Puccini's "Madame Butterfly ") “). In November 1999 Robinšak sang  Narraboth ( Strauss' 'Salome'   in Zagreb (Croatia) under  Kazushi Ono.

In the 1999/2000 season, he participated in the subscription concerts of the Slovenian Philharmonic and the Zagreb Philharmonic, gave his role debut as Cavaradossi in Puccini's "  Tosca " with the Baltic Opera in Gdansk in October, and in March performed as Arturo in Bellini's "The Puritans.

In 2000, Branko Robinšak has again become a member of the Slovenian National Theater Opera and Ballet Ljubljana, where he sang the  Prince in  “Rusalka”  (Ljubljana) and  Ismaele in  “ Nabucco”,  Ernani in Switzerland and Germany (Karlsruhe),  Pollione in “Norma” in Porto in April 200, directed by  Tim Colleman. In the 2001/2002 season, Robinsak sang  Manrico in Verdi's "Trovatore"  and  Lensky and “Evgenij Onegin” in Ljubljana as well as some concert productions (Verdi’s “Requiem”, Dvořak’s “Stabat Mater” in Barcelona, ​​Ernani and Verdi’s “Ernani“ in Karlsruhe). In the 2002/2003 season, audiences saw him in the productions of the Croatian National Theater in Zagreb as  Manrico in "IlTrovatore", Rodolfo  in "La Boheme", Idamantes  in  " Idomeneo"; in Ljubljana, he sang  Faust in Gounod's "Faust" in the co-production of Karlsruhe, Salzburg and Ljubljana. In September 2003 the tenor Branko Robinšak appeared as  Pollione  ("Norma"), Smareglia ("Ocean"). In January 2004, he performed in Verdi´s "Aida" as  Radames, in "Il Trovatore"  as Manrico in Novara (Italy), Puccini's "Tosca" as  Cavaradoss and in Ljubljana. The 2004/2005 season offered the productions in Teatro Verdi in Trieste: Zandonai's "I Cavalieri di Ekebú"  (Giosta Berling ) conducted by Steven Mercurio and Gounod´s "Faust" (Faust) under  Jean Claude Casadesus .

In January 2005, Branko Robinšak took part in the world premiere of  J. Offenbach's "The Rhine Nixies"  (Franz) under the direction of conductor Dieter Rossberg and stage director Manfred Schweigkofler. In February 2005, Robinšak sang Verdi's "Luisa Miller" in the CNT Split Opera with Paolo Coni and Svetla Vasiljewa and a few months later his first Chenier in U.Giordano´s "Andrea Chenier" ( A.Chenier ). In the summer of 2005, he participated in the Split Summer Festival with "Nabucco" (Ismaele) and  " Norma"  (Pollione)). In December 2005, he sang Beethoven's Ninth Symphony with Zagreb Philharmonic under Georg Pehlivanian. The year 2006 started with Berlioz's "Te Deum" with the Slovenian Philharmonic, followed by the first staging of the first (Petersburg) version of  Verdi´s "La Forza del  Destino"  in Bern under  Maurizio Barbacini, where Robinšak made his role debut as  Don Alvaro. In April 2006, he sang  Rodolfo in "La Boheme's" premiere at the Ljubljana Opera House. At the Ljubljana Summer Festival, he performed in Mozart's "Requiem". In the autumn of 2006, Branko Robinšak sang  Manrico in the CNT Zagreb production of "Il Trovatore". At hishome opera house in Ljubljana he sang the roles of Manrico, Chenier, Rodolfo, Franz (“The Rhine Nixies”), Alfredo (“La Traviata”) as a resident tenor principal. In 2007, the recordings of Verdi's famous as well as less famous opera arias with the Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra under maestro Ivo Lipanović were made. During the recording Robinšak also gave several performances, eg "La Boheme" in Split and later in the role of  Franz in  Offenbach's "The Rhine Nixies"  in Bolzano,  Don José in Bizet's "Carmen" directed by  Charles Roubaud and  conducted by  Peter Feranec. In the 2009/2010 season, he took part as Vladimir Igorevich in Borodin's "Prince Igor" directed by Plamen Kartaloff and conducted by Grigorij Palikarof. In summer 2010, Robinshack sang two Puccini's operas: "Madame Butterfly" (Pinkerton) and  "Manon Lescaut" (Des Grieux)  in Gulio Ciabatti's staging. In January 2011, he appeared as Prince in Dvořak´s „Rusalka“, a co-production with  Glyndebourne Festival,  in Melly Still's staging by Ian Rutherford and conducted by  Tomáš Hanus.

In February 2011, Branko Robinšak was awarded the highest Slovenian prize in the artistic field for the roles of Franz (Offenbach's "The Rhine Nixies"), Vladimir Igorevich (Borodin's "Prince Igor"), Lazarus (F. Schubert's Lazarus ), Pinkerton and Des Grieux (Puccini's "Madame Butterfly", "Manon Lescaut"). In May 2011, he took part in the co-production of the  Zagreb Biennale and the CNT Split Opera in a new opera "Marshal" composed by Silvio Foretić. The following year, in the same theater, he sang his debut role as Eisenstein in "The Bat" by Johann Strauss II conducted by  Nada Matošević and directed by  Ozren Prohić

The season 2011/2012 is noted for the first performance of Jani Golob's (composer) -Vinko Möderndorfer's (director) opera "Love capital", which was the first to be performed in the renovated opera house of Ljubljana and a modified production of  Verdi´ with “Nabucco”  conducted by Maestro  Eddi de  Nadai, directed by Detlef Schölter, where he performed the role of Ismaele. In the same season, Robinšak sang as  Dex Grieux in Puccini's "Manon Lescaut", conducted by  Nada Matošević and directed by a Polish director  Janusz Kica at  the HNK Ivan Zajc at Rijeka. The production had nine repetitions and it is available on Youtube. In January 2013, Branko Robinšak debuted as  Erik in Wagner's "The Flying Dutchman", directed by  Matjaž Berger and conducted by  Aleksandar Marković. He sang the same role at the Split Summer Festival 2013 in a production directed by Branko Brezovec and conducted by  Tonči Bilić.

The 2013/2014 season Robinshak began with the premiere of Verdi's "Rigoletto" conducted by  Loris  Voltolini; after many years he appeared in the role of Duca di Mantova. The success in Ljubljana led him to the Verdi Opera Festival in the Theater of Antonin Dvořak in Ostrava (Czech Republic), where he appeared in the role of Ernani in Verdi's "Ernani", conducted by  Tomáš Brauner and directed by  Marian Chudovský. In October 2013, he participated in  Verdi's "Requiem"  in Rijeka (Croatia), conducted by  Nikša Bareza. In December 2013, Branko Robinšak celebrated his 30th anniversary on stage as  Rodolfo in Puccini's  "La Boheme". In the same period, he sang  Radames in Verdi's "Aida" in the production of the HNK Theater of Zagreb. This production was repeated in January 2014 in Rijeka. In March 2014 Branko Robinšak debuted as  Riccardo  in Verdi's  "Un Ballo in Maschera" . In April 2014, he sang the role of  Pollione in Bellini's Norma in the HNK Theater Zagreb, directed by  Philipp Himmelmann and conducted by the Italian conductor  Antonello Allemandi. 

In January 2015 Robinšak debuted as Herodes in  Richard Strauß's opera "Salome", directed by  Andrejs Žagars and conducted by Loris Voltolini. Soon after that, in March, he again gave the role of  Don José in Bizet's "Carmen"  in a new production of the Ljubljana Opera House, directed by  Pamela Howard and conducted by  Jaroslav Kyzlink.  At the  Thurn und Taxis Schlossfestspiele Summer Festival 2015 «in Regensburg , he sang Rodolfo in Puccini's opera“ La Boheme ”.

The Season 2015/2016 started with Offenbach's operetta “Orpheus in the Underworld”, where he sang the role of Orpheus. In January 2016 R.obinšak debuted as  Otello in Verdi's “Otello”, directed by Manfred Schweigkofler and conducted by Jaroslav Kyzlink.

In summer 2016, Robinšak was invited to the Mittelfest Summer Festival in Cividale (Italy), where he participated in a recently composed opera “Menocchio” by Renato Miani, conducted by Eddi De Nadia and directed by Ivan Stefanutti. It was recorded by RAI and featured on DVD.

In March 2017, Branko Robinšak sang in a new production of Puccini's “Madame Butterfly” as Pinkerton at the Ljubljana Opera House. In the same season, he appeared as Don Jose ("Carmen"), Ismaele ("Nabucco"), Rodolfo ("La Boheme") in his home opera house. In the 2017/2018 season, he debuted in  Viktor Parma’s opera  “ Ksenija”,  an opera from the 19th century, which is deemed to be one of the most popular stage presentations in Slovene opera literature. The opera was directed by Manfred Schweigkoffler and conducted by Marko Gašperšič. In May 2018 followed another debut as  Macduff in  Verdi's  " Macbeth"  at the National Theater in Ljubljana in a new production directed by Jernej Lorenzi.

In October 2018 Robinšak gave his role debut in the premiere of  Jacques Offenbach's "Hoffmann Tales", singing the title role of Hoffmann. This was also the occasion to celebrate his  35th opera and concert singer anniversary. Aleksandar Popovski was responsible for the stage presentation, the conductor was Simon Krečič.

In 2019 Robinšak gave another role debut as  Jeník in  Smetana's "The Bartered Bride" conducted by a highly gifted young Czech conductor, David Švec. The production was part of a co-production with the Ostrava National Theater, staged by Jiří Nekvasil.

From May 2019 to October 2020 Robinšak was also the artistic director of the Ljubljana National Opera.

In “the corona year 2020” there were 2 “corona productions”: a guest performance of famous opera arias and duets with the FGV Orchestra, conducted by  Maestro Eddi de Nadai, and a double opera,  Mascagni’s “Cavalleria Rusticana” and Leoncavallo’s “Pagliacci ”. In Manfred Schweigkoffler's production and conducted by  Marc Tardue, Robinšak sang Turridu as well as Canio. 

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