Artist database

This is the Artist Database of BMC, which includes information about composers, musicians, orchestras, choirs and groups that are either Hungarian or Hungarian by origin or live in Hungary, as well as information about releases recorded with them.

B. Nagy János

voice - tenor

Place of Birth
Date of Birth

1940 July 9, Pocsaj - 2007 December 22, Budapest

Since his operatic debut in the role of Don José in Bizet's Carmen, János B. Nagy has sung all the important tenor roles of the Italian and French repertoires, and during a career spanning more than two decades he has become the leading "Italian" tenor on the Hungarian operatic scene.

He completed his studies under the guidance of Miklós György Kerényi and Erzsébet Hoór-Tempis, and also had some lessons with Kálmán Hetényi. He began his musical career as a soloist with the Hungarian Army Ensemble and subsequently with the Hungarian National Folk Ensemble. As a member of the Hungarian State Opera he has sung a total of fourteen roles in twelve Verdi operas. He has appeared as the Messenger and Radamčs in Aida, and has sung both Cassio and the title-role in Otello. In 1973 he was a great success in the role of Macduff in Macbeth, repeating this success the following season as Oronte in I lombardi alla prima crociata. His appearances as Alfredo in La traviata and the Duke of Mantua in Rigoletto - both under the musical direction of Lamberto Gardelli - were equally memorable. Nagy's portrayal of the Duke of Mantua has long been regarded as definitive, and in 1986 he took this part in the Hungarian Television recording of Rigoletto.

In 1975 he sang his first important Puccini role, that of Des Grieux in Manon Lescaut. The same year, he created the part of Telemacco in András Mikó's Budapest production of Monteverdi's Il ritorno d' Ulisse in patria. In 1976 he was a great success as Grigory (the false Dimitry) in the Budapest premiere of the original version of Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov. During the 1977/78 season he sang the role of Jephta in the first performance of Sándor Szokolay's oper Samson. From 1978 onwards he gradually extended his repertoire by including spinto parts such as the title-roles in Giordano's Andrea Chénier and Verdi's Don Carlos, and was a resounding success a sPollione in Bellini's Norma - again under the baton of Lamberto Gardelli - and as Cavaradossi in Puccini's Tosca. The following year, he was invited to perform the role of Florestan in a production of Leonora (the original version of Beethoven's Fidelio) in Geneva.

In 1980 he was awarded the Liszt prize for his outstanding interpretation of the title-role in Verdi's Ernani (conducted by Gardelli). That summer Tito Gobbi invited him to take part in his master class in Fiesole, after which he appeared in a gala concert held under the auspices of UNESCO. At the end of the same year he scored another success in a new Verdi production, this time as Adorno in Simon Boccanegra, which he sang under the musical direction of Giuseppe Patanč.

From the 1980/81 season onwards, as well as continuing to sing at the Hungarian State Opera, János B. Nagy also appeared regularly at the Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Duisburg-Düsseldorf, where he made his debut in the role of Des Grieux. In the same season he gave fifteen performances of the chief tenor roles in Leoncavallo's I pagliacci and Mascagni's Cavalleria rusticana at the Berne Opera. Since 1982 he has been on contract to the Deutsche Oper am Rhein, as well as to the Hungarian State Opera. In Düsseldorf he has performed roles such as the Italian Singer in Richard Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier, Calaf in Puccini's Turandot, Manrico in Verdi's Il trovatore, Alvaro in the same composer's La forza del destino, and Nemorino in Donizetti's L'elisir d' amore � the latter in Otto Schenk's produciton.

In addition to engagements at his two "mother houses", Nagy has also made regular appearances at many of Europe's leading opera houses, singing the roles of Adorno in West Berlin, Calaf in Ličge, Cavaradossi in Hamburg, Cologne and Zurich, and the Italian Singer, Cavaradossi and Manrico in Vienna. Moreover, he has sung Manrico alongside Júlia Várady in Hamburg and Fiorenza Cossotto in Mannheim. In 1985 he was awarded the title Artist of Merit in recognition of his artistic achievements. The following January he was invited to sing the part of Calaf in Boston, opposite Éva Marton as Turandot. In the same season as his Boston debut, he also took the role of Riccardo (in Verdi's Un ballo in maschera) in both Budapest and at the Deutsche Oper am Rhein.

In addition to his stage successes, János B. Nagy's recordings have also won many plaudits outside Hungary. The foreign music press went into raptures over his recital disc, Recondita armonia. In 1983 he sang the title-role in the Hungaroton recording of Arrigo Boito's opera Nerone, conducted by Eve Queler.

His recording of Simon Boccanegra (in which he and his fellow-singers Veronika Kincses, Lajos Miller and József Gregor were conducted by Giuseppe Patanč) was named Record of the Year in 1984. He sang the part of Amenophis is the recording of Rossini's Mosč in Egitto conducted by Lamberto Gardelli. In 1987 he took the part of Foresto in the Hungaroton recording of Verdi's Attila (again conducted by Gardelli), in which Yevgeny Nesterenko sang the title-role. In 1990 he recorded Respighi's opera Maria egiziaca for Hungaroton, once more under Gardelli.

Among his oratorio recordings, his interpretations of Kodály's Psalmus Hungaricus, Budavári Te Deum and Missa brevis (conducted by Árpád Joó) have been especially warmly received abroad. He has also made highly acclaimed recordings of the tenor solos in Liszt's oratorio Chistus (under Antal Doráti) and Beethoven's Mass in C.

2007 Kossuth Prize
Year Title Publisher Code Remark
1982 Kodály Zoltán: Missa Brevis / Budavári Te Deum Sefel Records SEFD 5011 LP
1995 Cavalli, Francesco: Laetatus sum; Magnificat / Charpentier, Marc-Antoine: Te deum Hungaroton HCD 12920
1995 Verdi, Giuseppe: Attila Hungaroton HCD 12934 2 CDs
1996 Boito, Arrigo: Nerrone Hungaroton HCD 12487-89 3 CDs / Recorded in 1982
1996 Rossini, Gioacchino: Mózes
(Rossini, Gioacchino: Mosé)
Hungaroton HCD 12290-92 3 CDs / Recorded in 1981
1996 Verdi, Giuseppe: Simon Boccanegra Hungaroton HCD 12522-23 2 CDs
2001 50 éves a Hungaroton - Énekművészek (1951-2001)
(Fifty Years of Hungaroton - Singers)
Hungaroton HCD 32096-98 3 CDs
2001 Liszt Ferenc: Krisztus - oratórium
(Liszt: Christus - oratorio)
Hungaroton HCD 12831