Max Emanuel Cencic


Max Emanuel Cencic is one of the most fascinating and versatile singing artists in the world today, and one dedicated to the revival and performance of the music of the 18th century.

In the 2020/2021 season, the Counternor's outstanding projects are about to begin. This season includes a new production of Dalbavie's Le Soulier de Satin (world premiere) at the Paris Opera, at the Bayreuth Baroque Opera Festival he will sing the role of Lottario and direct the new production of Porpora’s Carlo il Calvo, the title role in Vinci's Gismondo re di Polonia, Carmina Burana in the Wiener Konzerthaus, Hasse's Cajo Fabrizio, Carlo il Calvo in concert at the Theater an der Wien and in the Amsterdam Concertgebouw. Once more, he will take on Rossini's La Donna del Lago at the Zagreb Opera and at the festival in Saarema, where hewill direct the opera and sing the challenging role of Malcolm.

With his remarkable mezzo-soprano voice, Max Emanuel Cencic demonstrates that Baroque singing can be both technically brilliant and at the same time modern and emotionally engaging. For over two decades he has been performing in first rank opera houses, including the Wiener Staatsoper, Theater an der Wien, the Opernhaus Zürich, the Opéra Royal de Versailles, the Bayerische Staatsoper, the Staatsoper Unter den Linden Berlin, Barcelona’s Gran Teatro del Liceu, the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, Paris and Brussels’ La Monnaie.Concert engagements have taken him to the Laeiszhalle Hamburg, Carnegie Hall (New York), the Barbican Center (London), Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, the Wiener Musikverein and Wiener Konzerthaus, and the Tchaikovsky Hall in Moscow. In addition, he has sung at numerous festivals worldwide including the renowned Salzburger Festpiele. He regularly works with such conductors as William Christie, René Jacobs, Ottavio Dantone, Diego Fasolis, George Petrou, Emmanuelle Haïm and Riccardo Muti. His education as a singer began as a member of the Wiener Saengerknaben (Vienna Boys’ Choir), with a solo career as a soprano from 1992, and as a counter-tenor from 2001.On 21st September 2017, Max Emanuel Cencic celebrated the 35th anniversary of his first appearance on stage, with a performance of Orfeo in Gluck‘s Orfeo ed Euridice.

Max Emanuel Cencic entrances his audiences with his numerous projects, opera productions, CD recordings, and extensive tours. TV-stations such as Mezzo TV and Arte Concert have also documented several of his outstanding performances, including his revelatory presentation of Handel’s Alessandro (2012). As Artistic Director of Parnassus Arts Productions he is responsible for the conception, supervision and performance of important works of the Italian Baroque, among them the sensational re-discovery of Leonardo Vinci’s last opera, Artaserse, and, more recently, Arminio. As in its premiere in 1730 in Rome, this new production, performed with an all-male cast (including five counter-tenors), was widely praised, both in its live performances and on disc: it received ECHO Klassik awards in 2013 and 2014, the Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik and the Diapason d‘or, and was nominated for a Grammy. His inspired revival of Vinci’s opera Catone in Utica, with four counter-tenors in the cast, was equally successful, both on stage and as a CD recording. The CD Ottone with Max Emanuel Cencic in title role has been nominated for a Grammy.

His solo-recordings are every bit as riveting: with Venezia he charmed audiences and critics alike with highlights from Venetian opera, while the CD Rokoko contained a fascinating compilation of arias from the extended and virtually unknown opus of Johann Adolph Hasse. Max Emanuel Cencic’s most recent, critically acclaimed CD, Arie Napoletane, is dedicated to masterpieces of the Neapolitan school. His wide-ranging discography includes several world premiere recordings and has received a number of awards, among them the Diapason d’Or, the Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik, and Croatia’s Porin Prize. His discs have been “Editor’s Choice” in Gramophone magazine on several occasions. Another highlight is his European tour with solo concerts Porpora in Paris, Halle, Toulouse and many other cities. On the occasion of the 250th death anniversary of composer Nicola Antonio Porpora, he recorded this program on CD which was rewarded with the prestigious Diapason D’or award.

The French Ministry of Culture has made him a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

Max Emanuel Cencic has become in the meantime also an acknowledged international director. His live production of Hasse’s Siroe toured all over Europe and was released on CD by Decca. At the Händel festival in Karlsruhe in 2016 and 2017, he undertook the double role of lead singer and director of Händel’s opera Armino and for 2019 and 2020 he will direct Händel’s Serse and sing Arsamene. His 2019 Salzburger Pfingstfestspiele production of the rarely played opera Polifemo(Porpora) at the Felsenreitschule, were he also sang the role of Ulisse, was highly critically acclaimed. New productions in the upcoming years are Rossini‘s Tancredi, Mozart‘s Die Zauberflöte, Porporas Carlo il Calvo and Vinci‘s Alessandro nell‘Indie.

Since september 2020, Max Emanuel Cencic has been Artistic Director of the Bayreuth Baroque Opera Festival. The first edition of the spectacular festival took place despite the corona crisis and was a huge success with the public and the press. 400,000 worldwide viewers followed the broadcasts online and all the performances in Bayreuth were sold out. Max Emanuel Cencic directed the new production of Carlo il Calvo where he also sang the role of Lottario. The production was awarded by the French magazine Forum Opera, best new opera production of the year 2020. In his first season as the artistic director, Max Emanuel Cencic invited world stars such as Joyce DiDonato, Franco Fagioli and Jordi Savall to Bayreuth. He also sang the title role in the concert version of the opera Gismondo re di Polonia by Vinci on the stage of the Margravial Opera House in Bayreuth.

On September 10th, 2022, on the occasion of a Gala concert celebrating his 40th stage anniversary at the Markgräfliches Opernhaus in Bayreuth, Germany, and accompanied by George Petrou and his Armonia Atenea, Max Emanuel Cencic presented his new program Senesino consisting of arias composed by George Frideric Handel for star castrato Senesino. See here a recording by ARTE.

(2022_02_23 and 2022_10_15. 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
Pressphoto 2023_J, Georgios Oikonomidis


13 03 2023


HNK Opera Zagreb (HR)
04 05 2023


Theater an der Wien Vienna (AT)
> show cast
06 05 2023


Concertgebouw Amsterdam (NL)
> show cast
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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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20 04 2020 Gismondo Re di Polonia
Gismondo Re di Polonia
Gismondo Re di Polonia
Gismondo Re di Polonia
Leonardo Vinci
20 04 2018
Arminio DVD
Arminio DVD
G. F. Handel
02 03 2018 Porpora
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