“Valentina Naforniţa has a ravishing stage presence with a naturally vibrant voice, rich in the middle and silver at the top… a stamina that augurs well for a starry future.”
Valentina Naforniţa won the coveted BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition in 2011 and received the Dame Joan Sutherland Audience Prize. In 2011/12 season she joined the Wiener Staatsoper and has immediately become one of their brightest rising stars, acclaimed for her explosive vocal ability and enchanting stage presence. In 2012 she made a successful debut as Gilda Rigoletto at Teatro alla Scala under Gustavo Dudamel, and then last season stepped in at very short notice to sing Gilda in her house debut at the Bayerische Staatsoper. She made the news in Austria by singing in the prestigious Vienna Opera Ball, the broadcast of which was viewed by over 1.5 million people in the Austria/Bavaria region.
In her first three seasons at the Wiener Staatsoper, Valentina Naforniţa has sung the roles of Pamina and Papagena Die Zauberflöte, Gilda Rigoletto, Adina and Giannetta L’elisir d’amore, Musetta La bohème, Lisa La Sonnambula, Marzelline Fidelio, Barbarina Le nozze di Figaro, Najade Ariadne auf Naxos, Clorinda La Cenerentola, Voce dal Cielo Don Carlo and First Nymph Rusalka. She has also toured with the company to Japan and sang Susanna Le nozze di Figaro in the company’s guest performance in Hamburg.
This season highlights at Wiener Staatsoper include Norina in a new production of Don Pasquale, Musetta and Adina.
She has worked with such leading conductors as Bertrand de Billy, Guillermo Garcia Calvo, Karel Mark Chichon, Gustavo Dudamel, Ádám Fischer, Louis Langrée, Jesús López-Cobos, Cristian Mandeal, Ingo Metzmacher, Kazushi Ono, Evelino Pidò, Peter Schneider, Franz Welser-Möst, Simone Young and Massimo Zanetti.
Recent highlights outside of Wien for Valentina Naforniţa include her debut at the Salzburger Festspiele as Zerlina Don Giovani, her house debut at Staatsoper Berlin as Oscar Un ballo in maschera, Musetta with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra at the Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Marzelline with Opéra de Lyon at Edinburgh International Festival, her debut recital at Wiener Musikverein, and an appearance at the AIDS Operngala in Bonn. She also went on an extensive tour to China with the BBC Concert Orchestra with a televised broadcast in Beijing.
Born in Glodeni, Republic of Moldova, Valentina Naforniţa graduated from the Stefan Neaga Music College in Kishinev in 2006 and continued her training at the National University of Music in Bucharest, Romania under the tutorage of Maria Slatinaru-Nistor and Eleonora Enăchescu. As a young singer, she has awarded the ‘Emerging Voice’ prize at the 62nd Associazione Lirica Concertistica Italiana, Orange Prize for Young Musicians, Romania and the second prize in the Hariclea Darclée Voice Competition. In 2012, she was invited to perform in the Paris International Opera Competition. She continues her vocal training under the tutelage of Sherman Lowe.
Valentina Naforniţa is represented worldwide by Intermusica.
September 2014 / 475 words. Not to be altered without permission. Please destroy all previous biographical material.
First Nymph Rusalka / Wiener Staatsoper
Cond. Tomáš Netopil
“Eine Freude auch die kleinen Partien: Gabriel Bermúdez (Heger) und Stephanie Houtzeel (Küchenjunge) präsentierten sich als stimmlicher Luxus, ebenso die drei perfekt aufeinander abgestimmten Elfen, allen voran Valentina Nafornita.”
“The smaller parts were also a joy: Gabriel Bermúdez (Heger) and Stephanie Houtzeel (Küchenjunge) presented a vocal luxury, as did the three perfectly matched Nymphs, led by Valentina Nafornita.”
Von Stephan Burianek, Wiener Zeitung, September 2014
Zerlina Don Giovanni / Salzburger Festpiele
Cond. Christoph Eschenbach Dir. Sven-Eric Bechtolf
“Valentina Nafornita ist eine wunderbare Zerlina, die starke vokale Sinnlichkeit verströmt.”
“Valentina Nafornita is a wonderful Zerlina, where she exudes a strong, vocal sensuality”
Helmut Christian Mayer, Opernnetz, July 2014
“She, too, proved a fine and winning singer.”
Jay Nordlinger, New Criterion, August 2014
“Del reparto femenino destaca la juventud y frescura de las voces. Anett Fritsch y Valentina Nafornita como doña Elvira y la campesina Zerlina respectivamente, hacen dos interpretaciones de una gran vivacidad con voces muy bellas.”
“The female cast highlights the youth and freshness of the voices. Anett Fritsch and Valentina Nafornita, as Donna Elvira and Zerlina respectively, give two portrayals of a great vivacity, with very beautiful voices."
Rosa Massagué, el Periódico, August 2014
“Zerlina and Masetto were well sung by Valentina Nafornita and Alessio Arduini respectively.”
Leonard Turnevicius, Hamilton Spectator, August 2014
“Sehr gut in ihre Rolle als „Zerlina“ fand auch die junge Moldawierin Valentina Naforniţa, sie setzte Akzente nicht nur mit ihrem klaren, feinen Sopran, sondern zudem mit spielerischer Sinnlichkeit.”
“Young Moldovan soprano Valentina Naforniţa was also very good in her role as Zerlina. She led the way not only with her clear, fine soprano, but also with her playful sensuality.”
Tiroler Tageszeitung, July 2014
“Ihn umgarnt mit Valentina Naforniţa die beste Damenstimme des Abends: verführerisch zwischen unschuldsvoll-gradlinigem Ton und erotisch verschleierter Piano-Phrase changierend.”
“On the female side, the best voice of the evening was Valentina Naforniţa: She was iridescent, varying between the innocence of her straight tone and her veiled sensuality represented by the shimmering piano phrases.”
Die Presse, July 2014
“Valentina Naforniţa als Zerlina ist die zweite große Überraschung dieser Salzburger Opernsaison-Eröffnung. Präzise, schlank, kultiviert ist ihr Sopran und vollkommen beseelt.”
“Valentina Naforniţa as Zerlina is the second big surprise of this Salzburg opera season opening. Precise, slender, her soprano is cultivated and totally inspired.”
Deutschlandfunk, July 2014
“Interessant die Zerlina von Valentina Naforniţa: superschlank und hoch aufgeschossen wie die junge Cosima Wagner, dabei stimmlich dominant als echte „prima donna“ mit besonders reicher, modulationsfähiger Mittellage.”
“An interesting Zerlina from Valentina Naforniţa: super slim and lanky like the young Cosima Wagner, while vocally dominant as the real "prima donna" with a particularly rich and modulation capable middle layer.”
Frankfurter Rundschau, July 2014
“Von den Damen bot nur Valentina Naforniţa als sinnliche Zerlina eine festspielwürdige Leistung.”
“From the ladies, only Valentina Naforniţa’s sensual Zerlina offered a festival-worthy performance.”
Kleine Zeitung, July 2014
Gala Concert with Elina Garanča
Cond. Karel Mark Chichon
‘The rising star from the Vienna State Opera, Valentina Nafornita – the soprano from Moldova was a delightful Norina from Donizetti’s Don Pasquale”
“’rising star’ der Wiener Staatsoper – Valentina Nafornita. Die Sopranistin aus Moldawien war eine köstliche Norina aus Donizetti’s Don Pasquale.”
Peter Dusek, Der Neue Merker, July 2014
“the velvety soprano of Naforniţa”
“der samtige Sopran Nafornitas”Adina L’elisir d’amore / Wiener Staatsoper
Bezirks Blätter, July 2014
Cond. Guillermo García Calvo Dir. Otto Schenk
“Valentina Naforniţa, who is playing starring roles in Rigoletto and Don Pasquale next season, scores with her sympathetic, coquettish naturalness. Vocally, she copes with Adina with her distinctive soprano, that can also effectively bring out the main points at the top of the range.”
“Valentina Naforniţa, auf die in der nächsten Saison Hauptrollen in „Rigoletto“ und „Don Pasquale“ warten, punktet mit sympathisch koketter Natürlichkeit. Stimmlich bewältigt sie die Adina mit ihrem aparten Sopran, der in der Höhe auch kraftvollere Akzente setzen kann, gut.”
Die Presse, May 2014
Gilda Rigoletto / Vienna State Opera
Cond. Jesús López-Cobos Dir. Sandro Sequi
“Valentina Nafornita possesses the essential virtues for an ideal Gilda. Her sylph-like figure and youthful demureness, accompanied by her bright and pure soprano convince beyond doubt. In addition, she paces the role well, cleverly juxtaposing her registers and corresponding colour variations to good effect and generally providing adequate tone for the role's big moments…a lovely performance.”
The Opera Critic, April 2014
Musetta La bohème / Wiener Staatsoper
Cond. Mikko Franck Dir. Franco Zeffirelli
“Valentina Nafornita, characteristically energetic, feisty and full of wit, achieved success with her Musetta.”
“Gewohnt energisch, quirlig, voller Witz gelang Valentina Nafornita ihre Musetta”
Daniel Wagner, Wiener Zeitung, March 2014
Nymph Rusalka / Wiener Staatsoper
Cond. Jirí Belohlávek / Dir. Sven-Eric Bechtolf
“The three nymphs were played excellently by Valentina Nafornita, Lena Belkina and Ilseyar Khayrullova”
“Drei Nixen-Schwestern, die mit Valentina Nafornita, Lena Belkina und Ilseyar Khayrullova ausgezeichnet besetzt sind.”
Stefan Musil, Tiroler Tageszeitung, January 2014
“The trio of nymphs (Valentina Nafornita, Lena Belkina and Ilseyar Khayrullova) were as agile as they were harmonious.”
“Ebenso agilen wie harmonischen Nymphen-Terzett (Valentina Nafornita, Lena Belkina und Ilseyar Khayrullova)…”
Wilhelm Sinkovicz, Die Presse, January 2014
Musetta La bohème / Wiener Staatsoper
Cond. Philippe Auguin, Dir. Franco Zeffirelli
“Valentina Nafornita stood out from the rest of the ensemble.”
[“Aus dem übrigen Ensemble ragte Valentina Nafornita als apart-resche”]
Die Presse, December 2013
Papagena Die Zauberflöte / Wiener Staatsoper
Cond. Christoph Eschenbach Dir. Moshe Leiser, Patrice Caurier
“Valentia Nafornita leaves no wish unfulfilled”
[“Valentina Nafornita lässt jetzt schon kaum Wünsche offen”]
Die Presse, November 2013
Gilda / Rigoletto / Bayerische Staatsoper
Cond. Stefano Ranzani Dir: Arpad Schilling
“Valentina Nafornita’s wonderful Gilda, with blooming soprano, was designed as a girlish, dreamy young woman who in search of an unprecedented mother’s love falls into the careless hands of the Duke, and eventually sacrifices herself for her great love. With very delicate, thin voice, she comforts the father and disappears in the darkness of the stage... massive cheering for Nafornita at the curtain call… a worthy contribution to the Verdi year.”
Der Neue Merker, October 2013
Oscar Un ballo in Maschera / Staatsoper im Schiller Theater Berlin
Cond. Massimo Zanetti / Dir. Jossi Wieler
“A top class-performance was also given by Valentina Nafornita as the lively, cheeky Page Oscar. The soprano shines silvery and strong, with coloratura like a string of pearls.”
"Die nämliche Spitzenleistung erbrachte auch Valentina Nafornita…als quirlig-frecher Page Oscar. Da sitzt jede Perle in der Koloratur, und der Sopran leuchtet silberhell und kräftig. "
Die Presse, November 2013
“Valentina Nafornita’s performance was one of the highlights of the evening. The accuracy and the impact she puts into notes is literally fascinating.”
Forum Opera, September 2013
Marzelline Fidelio / Opéra de Lyon / Edinburgh Festival
Cond. Kazushi Ono / Dir. Gary Hill
“Valentina Nafornita made a bright and intelligent Marzelline...”
Seen and Heard International, August 2013
“Marzelline (Moldovan Valentina Naforniţă)… whose expressive singing is pure joy.”
Exeunt Magazine, August 2013
“… both the music and the underlying themes of Fidelio still shine through in this production. The performances particularly from Erika Sunnegardh as Leonora, Nikolai Schukoff as Florestan and Valentina Nafornita as Marzelline are excellent.”
TV Bomb, August 2013
Gala concert for the Deutsche AIDS-Stitung / Theater Bonn
cond. Rani Calderon
“Bell clean and agile, Moldovan soprano Valentina Nafornita shone as Gilda in Verdi's Rigoletto, a role she had sung in her debut at La Scala.”
Jan Crummenerl, General Anzeiger, May 2013
Clorinda in Rossini La Cenerentola / Wiener Staatsoper
cond. Jesús López-Cobos / dir. Sven-Eric Bechtolf
“Vocally and in a hilarious rendition of [her] character…Valentina Nafornita (Clorinda) often steal[s] the title heroine’s show.”
Bachtrack, February 2013
"Valentina Naforniţa and Magarita Gritskova were the beautiful daughters of this cryptic Buffo; both were vocally striking and agile, providing the lively and effervescent upper voices for the quintets and sextets."
Wilhelm Sinkovicz, Die Presse, January 2013
Gilda in Verdi Rigoletto / Teatro alla Scala
cond. Gustavo Dudamel / dir. Gilbert Deflo
“Valentina Nafornită, a newcomer to La Scala, is in the role of Gilda: the voice is good, rich in colour and vibrato, with a solid middle register [and] her stage presence is effective.”
“Esordiente alla Scala nei panni di Gilda Valentina Nafornită: la voce è buona, ricca di colori e vibrazioni, solida nel registro central…la presenza scenica risulta efficace.”
Simone Manfredini, Opera World, November 2012
“For their last production of the 2011/12 season, Verdi’s Rigoletto, La Scala in Milan...cast Valentina Naforniţa, a rising star amongst sopranos, as Gilda.
The performance on 8th November was the house debut at La Scala, Milan, for 25 year old Moldovian soprano Valentina Naforniţa, as well as her role debut as Gilda, who goes willingly to her death out of love for the duke. Winner of the renowned BB Cardiff Singer of the World competition in 2011, and member of the Ensemble at the Wiener Staatsoper since last year, Naforniţa’s voice was crystal-clear, yet warm and expressive, and she struck her high notes as if on a glass harmonica”.
Birgit Popp, Opera Notes, November 2012
Musetta in Puccini La bohème / Wiener Staatsoper
cond. Franz Welser-Möst / dir. Franco Zeffirelli
“Making her role debut, Valentina Naforniţa looked as if she had come straight out of a Dior advert. She was perfectly cast as the much-courted Musetta, both visually and vocally”.
„(In ihr Rollendebüt): Valentina Naforniţa erschien auf der Bühne wie einer Dior-Werbung entstiegen und ist somit als umschwärmte Musetta eine Idealbesetzung, denn auch stimmlich vermochte sie zu überzeugen“.
Rainer Elstner, Wiener Zeitung, December 2012
“Musetta was also drawn from the ensemble: Valentina Nafornita, the very incarnation of this figure, played and sang the role as a racy chick with a big heart and soul; this was a memorable debut”.
„Auch die Musette kommt aus dem Ensemble: Valentina Nafornita, optisch die Inkarnation dieser Figur, bringt in Spiel und Stimme eine flotte Biene mit Herz und großer Seele auf die Bühne, ein denkwürdiges Debüt“.
Wilhelm Sinkovicz, Die Presse, December 2012
Marzelline in Beethoven Fidelio
Wiener Staatsoper / cond. Peter Schneider / dir. Otto Schenk
“Especially exciting is company member Valentina Naforniţa, the new Marzellina, singing in a light and brightly toned soprano voice with audibly explosive potential”.
Wilhelm Sinkovicz, Die Presse, October 2012
Lisa in Bellini La Sonnambula
Wiener Staastoper / cond. Evelino Pidò / dir. Marco Arturo Marelli
“Naforniţa can boast the stature and grace of a ballerina which, coupled with her bell-like soprano and impressive stage presence, amply demonstrated that she is an ensemble member with undoubted promise for the future.”
Moore Parker, Opera Critic, February 2012
BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition - Final
St. David’s Hall / cond. Jac van Steen
“Sublime...This is a voice in a million, with rich, warm colouring across the whole range, great agility in coloratura, with unfailing musical adaptability…”
Stephen Walsh, The Arts desk, June 2011
“Valentina Naforniţa's voice and style were perfectly suited to her first song, which was Rakhmaninov's Ne poy, krasavitsa, primne.”
“I have heard Ian Burnside on Radio 3 say he would gladly listen to her singing the Phone Book. There is no doubting the beauty of her voice. She is also exceptionally pretty - shouldn't be relevant, but of course it is.”
Intermezzo, June 2011
“Naforniţa thrilled the jury and the audience in the main final with a programme consisting of arias from Lucia di Lammermoor, Rusalka and Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette.”
David Threasher, Gramophone, June 2011
“American mezzo Joyce DiDonato said of [Naforniţa's] victory: 'I think it's really exciting. She has a real element of star quality and the quality of the voice itself is something very special.'”
Classical Music, August 2011
“Valentina Naforniţa… sent the audience into ecstasies in her earlier round: she is a ravishing stage presence with a naturally vibrant voice, rich in the middle and silver at the top. Her ability to suggest character made her ‘Regnava nel silenzio’ from Lucia di Lammermoor totally credible… suggested a stamina that augurs well for a starry future.”
Rian Evans, Opera, August 2011
“The evening’s delightful discovery was Moldovan soprano Valentina Naforniţa. This elegant, intoxicating young soprano set the contest alight with a programme of Verdi, Korngold and Gounod, each sung with beauty and remarkable presence for such a young singer.”
Mike Smith, Wales Online, June 2011