Max Emanuel Cencic


Max Emanuel Cencic is one of the world's most fascinating and versatile singing artists committed to the rediscovery and performance of 18th century music.

He began his vocal training as a Viennese choirboy and began a solo career as a soprano as early as 1992, which he continued as a countertenor from 2001.
With his virtuoso mezzo-soprano Max Emanuel Cencic shows how technically brilliant and at the same time modern and sensitive baroque singing can be. He has been on stage for more than 40 years, appearing worldwide at major opera houses such as the Vienna State Opera, the Musiktheater an der Wien, the Zurich Opera House, the Opéra Royal in Versailles, the Bavarian State Opera, the Staatsoper Unter den Linden Berlin, Barcelona's Gran Teatro del Liceu, the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, the Paris Opera and the Brussels opera house La Monnaie.

Max Emanuel Cencic celebrated his 40th stage anniversary on 10 September 2022 on the stage of the Margravial Opera House in Bayreuth, where he sang a gala dedicated to the castrato Senesino as part of the Bayreuth Baroque Festival, which he founded. A video recording of the gala can be found here.

Concerts have taken him to the Laeiszhalle Hamburg, Carnegie Hall (New York), the Barbican Center (London), Amsterdam's Concertgebouw, the Vienna Musikverein, Konzerthaus and the Tchaikovsky Hall in Moscow. He has also performed at numerous festivals worldwide, including the Salzburg Festival. He works regularly with conductors such as William Christie, René Jacobs, Ottavio Dantone, George Petrou, Christophe Rousset, Emmanuelle Haïm and Riccardo Muti.

Max Emanuel Cencic attracts great attention to his projects by bringing them to audiences in opera productions, CD recordings as well as extensive tours. In addition, broadcasters such as Mezzo TV and Arte Concert have documented many of his outstanding performances, such as the Handel operas Alessandro and Arminio, which he rediscovered. As artistic director of Parnassus Arts Productions, he is responsible for conceiving, directing and performing important works of the Italian Baroque, including the sensational rediscovery of Leonardo Vinci's last opera Artaserse. As originally performed in Rome in 1730, the new production featured five countertenors from an all-male cast. The work not only thrilled on stage, but in its recording was awarded all relevant recording prizes, including the ECHO Klassik 2013 and 2014, the German Record Critics' Award and the Diapason d'or, as well as being nominated for a Grammy. Vinci's opera Catone in Utica, which involved four countertenors, was also a resounding success as a CD and staged production. The CD production Ottone with Max Emanuel Cencic in the title role was nominated for a Grammy.

His solo recordings are equally convincing: On Venezia he fascinated audiences and press alike with highlights of Venetian opera. The CD Rokoko brings together virtuoso arias from Johann Adolph Hasse's extensive oeuvre. Max Emanuel Cencic's CD Arie Napoletane, highly praised by the press, is dedicated to masterpieces of the Neapolitan School. His extensive discography, which features several world premiere recordings, has received numerous awards, including the Diapason d'Or, the German Record Critics' Prize and the Croatian Porin Prize. Another highlight is the European tour of his solo programme Porpora (on the occasion of the 250th anniversary of Nicola Antonio Porpora's death) with solo concerts in Paris, Halle, Toulouse, and many more, as well as his Diapason D'Or award-winning solo CD of the same name. Several of his releases became "Editor's Choice" of the British Gramophone magazine.

For his artistic work, he was awarded the Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture and in 2021 received the Honorary Prize of the German Record Critics' Association in the category "Classical Music" for his life's work.

Max Emanuel Cencic has long since made a name for himself internationally as a director, for example with the live production of Hasse's Siroe, which toured Europe and was released on CD by Decca. At the Handel Festival Karlsruhe in 2016 and 2017 with Arminio (title role + direction) and in 2019 and 2020 with Xerxes (role of Arsame + direction) he appeared in double roles: On the one hand, he sang the title role of Arminio and the role of Arsamene respectively, and on the other hand, he took over the direction of the rarely performed works. Xerxes proved to be a crowd-pleaser in Karlsruhe and the production was enthusiastically acclaimed by press and audience. Enormous success, standing audience ovations and rave reviews were received by Max Emanuel Cencic's production of Nicola Antonio Porpora's rarely performed opera Polifemo at the 2019 Salzburger Pfingstfestspiele at the world-famous Felsenreitschule, where the artist signed for the direction and sang the role of Ulisse. In 2018/19 Max Emanuel Cencic presented his interpretation of Rossini's La Donna del Lago at Opera de Lausanne, Opera HNK Zagreb and Hessisches Staatstheater Wiesbaden. Other directorial productions to follow in the coming years include Handel's Flavio and Porpora's Arianna in Nasso.

Max Emanuel Cencic has been artistic director of the Bayreuth Baroque Opera Festival since September 2020. The first editions of the new, spectacular festival, which took place despite the Corona crisis, were a huge success with audiences and the press; 1,000,000 visitors worldwide followed the broadcasts online each year, and all Bayreuth performances were sold out. Max Emanuel Cencic was responsible for directing the new productions Carlo il Calvo, where he sang the role of Lottario, and Alessandro nell'Indie. Both productions were named Opera New Production of the Year 2020 and 2022 respectively in the Opera Trophies of the French professional journal Forum Opera. In his first three seasons, Max Emanuel Cencic invited world stars such as Joyce DiDonato, Franco Fagioli, Jakub Jozef Orlinski and Jordi Savall, to Bayreuth. At the 2023 Festival, guests include Rolando Villazon, Julia Lezhneva and Daniel Behle.

In the 2022/2023 season, the countertenor has outstanding projects in the pipeline, including his house debut at La Scala in Milan in Porpora's Carlo il Calvo, which will also be presented in concert at the Konzerthaus Dortmund and simultaneously released as a CD studio recording on the Parnassus Arts Productions label.  At the Bayreuth Baroque Opera Festival 2022, the artist will restage the Vinci opera Alessandro nell'Indie. His own performances this season include his Gala Concert, the title role in the oratorio San Giovanni Battista and the part of Gualtiero in Bononcini's opera Griselda.

At the Bayreuth Baroque Opera Festival 2023, the artist will restage Handel's rarely performed operatic satire Flavio and embody the role of Guido. In the 22/23 season, Max Emanuel Cencic will present Bononcini's Griselda, Vinci's Alessandro nell'Indie and Caldara's Il Venceslao, where the artist will sing the title role, three operatic gems discovered by himself. The production Polifemo, directed by Max Emanuel Cencic, will be staged at the Hessisches Staatstheater Wiesbaden with Max as Ulisse, performed in concert at the Musiktheater an der Wien and the Concertgebouw Amsterdam, and will also be released as a studio recording on CD in May 2023 on the Parnassus Arts Productions label.

(2023_02_04 Please use only this version of the biography.)



Pressphoto 2020_A, Lukasz Rajchert
Pressphoto 2020_B, Lukasz Rajchert
Pressphoto 2020_C, Lukasz Rajchert
Pressphoto 2020_D, Lukasz Rajchert
Pressphoto 2020_E, Lukasz Rajchert
Pressphoto 2020_F, Lukasz Rajchert
Pressphoto 2020_G, Lukasz Rajchert
Pressphoto 2020_H, Lukasz Rajchert
Pressphoto 2020_I, Lukasz Rajchert


24 01 2024


Opera Monte Carlo (MC)
26 01 2024


Opera Monte Carlo (MC)
28 01 2024


Monte Carlo Monte Carlo (MC)
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Quando s'oscura

Carlo il Calvo

Bella pace

Gismondo, Re di Polonia

Se soffia irato

Gismondo, Re di Polonia

Se tu la reggi al volo (Ezio, Act 1)


Nasce da valle impura vapor che in alto ascende

Germanico in Germania, CD2_12

Ritorna o dolce amore

(Ottone 1_14)

Dopo l'orrore

(Ottone 2_14)

1_28: Aria Arminio - Si cadro ma sorgera


03: In_questa_mia_tempesta

Arie Napoletane

"Che sia la gelosia und gielo in mezzo al foco"

Catone in Utica

1.22: aria Benche mi sprezzi


2: Mormorando Quelle Fronde


2.17: Va' Tra Le Selve Ircane


08: Bononcini - Chi d'amor tra le catene

Duetti - P. Jaroussky + M. E. Cencic

03: Arianna in Creta - Salda quercia, inerta balza

Mezzosoprano - Opera Arias

1.5: Fra le stragi e fra le morti


3.15: Virtu che rende si forte


1.5: Ricordati che sei


3.22: Gelido in ogni vena


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05 07 2023 Polifemo
N. A. Porpora
05 01 2023
Carlo il Calvo
Carlo il Calvo
N. A. Porpora
20 04 2020 Gismondo Re di Polonia
Gismondo Re di Polonia
Gismondo Re di Polonia
Gismondo Re di Polonia
Leonardo Vinci
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