In RA Format
Cosmin Ifrim is not, as everyone in Vienna seems to believe, Turkish - he's Romanian! Which seems like a groaner indeed...
we have such an enormous number of Romanian comprimarii at the Staatsoper, some of them (like Ifrim) sometimes also
singing parts far beyond their abilities. The Staatsoper's long-term manager, Ioan Holender, was born in Romania, and though
he had to leave the country for political reasons in the mid-1950s and came to Austria as a refugee, he still feels
responsible somehow for his former country - that's why he started to hire young Romanian singers in preference.
Well; what started as an intelligent kind of development aid has become a bit ridiculous since, because Romania is part
of the European Union in the meantime and not a developing nation anymore, and simply because Holender overdid it and
brought an abundance of really lame singers from there. I always thought Ifrim to be an exception in being a lame singer
from somewhere else. Well, I've been mistaken:
Cosmin Ifrim was born in Ineu-Arad, Romania, and studied voice in Cluj-Napoca, where he also had his first contract as Fenton.
After singing in the Netherlands for a short time, he came to the Wiener Staatsoper at a young age, where he has been a
comprimario until now (2008), with occasional ventures into roles like Pedrillo, Steuermann, the Italian Singer
(Rosenkavalier), Fenton again or Rinuccio (Gianni Schicchi). He has a pleasant timbre, but no voice, and a shaky technique.
He is acceptable in very small parts, but already tasks like Beppe (Pagliacci) mean asking too much of him.
(reference for the picture and the biographical data: Staatsoper)
I wish to thank Robert Schlesinger for the recording, picture and notes.