Interviews - Dan Popescu
Dan Popescu - Singer - Basso Profondo
Hello Dan, I hope you're well in semi-isolation (Brasov - Romania) and not driving your neighbours too crazy with practicing opera! I'll start simply and ask what was your first exposure to Shakespeare, if you can remember?
Hello Ellis. I am very well and my neighbours are also well since now we are allowed to practice in the theatre. There are hopes that we will come back to (almost) fully normal activities after September 15th. To answer your question my first contact with Shakespeare's plays were the BBC Television Shakespeare series that I saw at the Romanian National Television in the 90's.
What is Shakespeare like in Romania?
In Romania, Shakespeare is very well known and respected and is present in all major theatre repertoires.
There are many operas that are based on Shakespeare's work such as Verdi’s “Macbeth”, “Otello” and, “Falstaff” ; Gounod's "Roméo et Juliette", Barber’s “Antony and Cleopatra”. Have you ever done an opera based on a Shakespeare play?
Yes. I have played Capellio in Bellini's "I Capuleti e i Montecchi'' based on "Romeo and Juliet" as well as Pistola in Verdi's "Falstaff".
You are an incredible opera singer, I can attest to that from hearing you during filming in Portugal, when did you first realise you had a true gift for opera?
Actually, I wasn't the one who realized it. In fact, I was studying violin in high school and singing in an amateur choir at the same time. There I had met a very special person who has discovered my voice and convinced me to change my musical path. His name was Stefan Voineag.
Now you have quite a unique perspective from the cast, as you've worked with Maximianno before. How did you first meet?
I met him in Bucharest where I auditioned for the recordings of "The Magic Flute" (Mozart), "Don Giovanni" (Mozart) and "Missa Solemnis" (Beethoven).
What is it like to work with Maximianno Cobra?
Intense and assiduous.
Maximianno composed the music you perform in the film, and made it specifically for your voice range (Basso profondo). What was it like having a score created for you?
It was, of course, a great honour to have a score created for my voice by Maximianno.
Have you ever filmed abroad before?
No, I haven’t. In fact, "Misanthropos" was my very first filming experience. I have though performed opera internationally: Germany, Austria, France, Spain, Switzerland, UK, Canada, Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary etc.
Specifically focusing on “Misanthropos” now; this isn't the first time you've been in ancient Greek garb, you also played Tiresias in Stravinsky's "Oedipus Rex". How challenging was that role?
It was really challenging since I was very young at the time, in the first year at the Music Academy and that was my first collaboration with a professional ensemble as well as my first tour abroad.
And lastly how was your time in Portugal filming "Misanthropos"?
Really great. I very much appreciated the friendly and warm atmosphere.