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Salbek Opera Festival and Masterclass • Periș, Arad, România


Salbek Opera Festival and Masterclass • Periș, Arad, România

Masterclass 2023

Update: 4 September 2023

VIDEO: A look behind the scenes of Salbek Opera Masterclass & Galas.

A film by Virgil Oprina

The International Salbek Opera Masterclass brought twenty-two participants from all over the world to the Salbek Castle Estate, Petriș Arad County, to study with three international opera stars: mezzosoprano Ruxandra Donose, tenor Ramón Vargas and soprano Leontina Văduva.

The masterclass culminated in an oper-air recital held on the Salbek Estate (26 August), followed by the Salbek Opera Festival (27 August), an event held in the plaza of Arad City Hall, which drew an audience of five thousand and marked the conclusion of not only the first edition of the Salbek Opera Masterclass, but also the Arad Days festival.

The special open-air opera concert was given by the Arad Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by David Crescenzi and featured mezzosoprano Ruxandra Donose, tenor Ramón Vargas and soprano Leontina Văduva, along with a number of their masterclass students.

News / Media

Update: 28 August 2023

Thousands of spectators applaud mezzosoprano Ruxandra Donose, tenor Ramón Vargas and soprano Leontina Văduva at the concert to mark the close of the International Salbek Opera Masterclass and Arad Days.

The Salbek Opera Festival Gala, which took place on Sunday, 27 August in the plaza of Arad City Hall, marked the close of the Arad Days event and the first edition of the International Salbek Opera Masterclass.

The special open-air opera concert was given by the Arad Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by David Crescenzi, and featured opera singers Ruxandra Donose, Ramón Vargas, and Leontina Văduva. Also taking part were a number of students from the Salbek Opera Masterclass, many of whom made a strong impression on tenor Ramón Vargas.

“I knew that Romanian singers are highly talented and I was eager to discover such talents. I was very pleasantly surprised by the quality of the young people I worked with over the course of these few days in Romania. Likewise, I’m delighted to have had the opportunity to be on this stage with two of today’s major vocal talents, Ruxandra Donose and Leontina Văduva. It was a true honour to appear next to them in a gala concert in front of thousands of spectators at the close of an intensive course in which we helped each other to develop” – tenor Ramón Vargas

“I am glad to have had the opportunity to study with maestro Ramón Vargas”, said Ivan Dikusar, one of the masterclass students. “It was an extraordinary thing for me to have the chance to learn from the maestro many of the secrets he revealed to us over the course of the masterclass. This masterclass has been of great help to me in my future career.”

More info and Images

Update: 27 August 2023

On Sunday, August 27, at 20:00, the Salbek Opera Festival Gala begins.

Rehearsals are underway for tonight’s Gala. Those who have already become friends are preparing to say goodbye to their classmates and teachers. The first edition of the International Salbek Opera Masterclass ends today, with the outdoor concert in the Town Hall Square in Arad.
On Saturday (August 26), the students gave a recital for those present on the grounds of the Salbek Castle in Petriș.

Update: August 2023

On Wednesday, August 23, the Salbek Opera Masterclass began.

From August 23, Ruxandra Donose, Ramón Vargas and Leontina Văduva train young musicians from around the world in Romania, at the International Salbek Opera Masterclass. Now in its first edition, this a Masterclass with international participation where 22 students have the opportunity to study singing and performance techniques with three musicians of international stature, mezzo-soprano Ruxandra Donose, tenor Ramón Vargas and soprano Leontina Văduva.
You can read interviews with the maestros, but also a series of messages received from personalities of the Romanian musical world, in the News/Media section. There you will also be able to find articles and images from the Masterclass and the Opera Gala at the end of the course.
News / Media
The president of the Salbek Association, Ana Maria Mihăescu, details the challenges she has faced on her journey from purchasing an abandoned castle to establishing an opera masterclass on the estate and the eventual realisation of an International Opera Festival there, of the kind held in the United Kingdom.
Read the interview

Update: July 2023

From 23 August, 22 young people aged between 18 and 30 will study at the Castle Salbek Estate, Petriș, Arad County.

“It was very difficult to make a selection from among so many very good candidates who applied to take part in the masterclass. The large number of applications took us by surprise and we are delighted that the premium classes we will be providing are to be held in such a perfect place for study and for creating future maestros”, says mezzosoprano Ruxandra Donose.

“I can hardly wait to arrive in Romania and meet the young people we have selected. I was impressed by their potential and I’m sure that they will take shape the same as clay in the hands of the artist”, says tenor Ramon Vargas.

“Working with young people gives you energy, joy, the enthusiasm of discovering ever new talents. This is why I regard these days of study as a gain for both parties, for not only the students but also the maestros. To have such a place in the heart of the countryside where the only thing to be heard is your music and the trees around you is truly a unique experience”, says soprano Leontina Văduva.

Maestros Ruxandra Donose, Ramon Vargas and Leontina Văduva have selected the twenty-two applicants from all over the world who from 23 to 27 August will take part in the International Salbek Opera Masterclass. The first of its kind in Romania, the masterclass will be held at the Castle Salbek Estate in Petriș, Arad County, and will culminate in the Salbek Opera Festival, an open-air gala in the City Hall Plaza, featuring course participants and maestros alongside the Arad State Philharmonic conducted by David Crescenzi.

The list of the twenty-two young people aged between eighteen and thirty selected from more than fifty applicants, who will have the opportunity to be coached by three internationally renowned opera singers, can be found here.


Update: June 2023

Registrations for the International Salbek Masterclass, featuring Ruxandra Donose, Ramon Vargas, and Leontina Văduva, have closed.

On June 12, the list of the 20 selected young musicians between the ages of 18 and 30 who will participate in the masterclass will be announced.

The Salbek Opera Masterclass (23-27 August 2023) is held on the Salbek Castle Estate, Petriș, Arad County, Romania, and entails a series of masterclasses taught by internationally renowned soloists invited to the Salbek Opera Festival. In 2023, the soloists will be Ruxandra Donose, Ramon Vargas and Leontina Văduva.

The classes will conclude on 27 August 2023 with an open-air Opera Gala in the plaza in front of Arad City Hall, featuring the Arad Philharmonic Orchestra, conductor David Crescenzi, soloists Ruxandra Donose, Ramon Vargas, Leontina Văduva and three of the students from the Salbek Opera Masterclass.

The courses will be held on locations around Salbek estate from 23 to 26 August. During the breaks, there will be informal meetings between teachers and students on the esplanade in front of the castle.

The first International Salbek Opera Masterclass (23-27 August 2023) is an international event held at Petriș, Arad County, where twenty preselected participants will, over the course of three days, have the opportunity to study canto and performance techniques with three internationally renowned musicians: mezzosoprano Ruxandra Donose (Austria/Romania), tenor Ramon Vargas (Mexico/Austria), and soprano Leontina Văduva (Switzerland/Romania). Leading figures from Romanian opera will be invited to Petriș to meet them.

The final gala of the course will take place in front of Arad City Hall, in an open-air concert featuring the Arad Philharmonic conducted by David Crescenzi.


Maximum twenty selected participants

The young musicians, aged between eighteen and thirty, will be selected from April to June, following a public call for applicants that will be published on the project’s website and Facebook page and in the online publications of the project’s partners.

Working in such international groups will foster an exchange of cultural traditions, working practices and personal experiences, which will contribute to good mutual understanding within the intercultural dimension of the project. The gala finale will be organised in partnership with the Arad Municipal Cultural Centre and the Salbek Castle Association.


Study, recreation, visibility

The location chosen for the event—the village of Petriș, Arad County—will provide participants with a setting suitable for study and recreation. The Castel Salbek Association provides accommodation, meals, local transport, and accompanying pianists – more details about the conditions, below.

The musicians will have the opportunity to work with three co-rehearsal teachers on the piano, allowing for complex and continuous study. To ensure the greatest visibility and significant sustainability, representatives of national and international cultural organisations will be invited to attend, as well as two or three specialist journalists.

At the end of the series of courses, the teachers will highlight the strengths of the participants and the improved areas. They will choose three participants for the Opera Gala.


Present and future opportunities

The masterclasses will cover various topics, including subjects concerning Romanian and East-European traditional music and the influence of traditional themes on classical and contemporary music, combining modern techniques of interpretation with musical methodology. The project will therefore be both innovative and attractive, thanks to its interdisciplinary and multicultural approach. The masterclasses will give rise to collaborative projects between the young musicians and teachers, which will also be able to be presented before audiences on other occasions. Likewise, musicians taking part will be able to return to the counties of Arad, Hunedoara, Alba, and Timiș as part of other projects.

The Association will continue the Masterclass in the years to come and aims to expand it with opera performances and galas at prestigious European venues.

The young musicians will be able both to specialise and to benefit from the project’s exposure in their future careers. In addition, the project will be able to guide audiences attending the concerts towards music of the highest quality, and likewise to create national interest in the Arad, Hunedoara, Alba, and Timiș regions, as well as greater international interest in the Romanian cultural space.

The Salbek International Opera Masterclass wishes to offer young musicians the chance to meet outstanding teachers who will contribute to their artistic and personal development and create future opportunities for them.


Masterclass 2023: 23–27 August

Final date for applications: 31 May

Selection and results: 1–10 June


1500 RON – Romanian nationals

500 EUR – Other nationalities


Participants must be
between 18 and 30 years old.

The maximum number of selected participants is 20.


The Castel Salbek Association provides the following for 20 students:

• accommodation in “twin” room at a 4* hotel;
• 3 meals daily;
• coach transport Bucharest-Deva-Arad-return on August 22 and 28;
• transportation from the hotel to the place where the course takes place every day;
• accompanying pianists;

• 20 course participants will be selected on the basis of the materials submitted in their applications.
• The selection process will take place from 1 to 10 June and successful applicants will be contacted by telephone or e-mail with further details. 
• The courses will take place between 23–26 August in Salbek-Petris, and will continue between 26–27 August in Arad.
• Initial travel from the participant’s home to Bucharest and back is not included in the price.


Three of the twenty selected students will have the opportunity to sing in the Gala on August 27, 2023 at ARAD, together with the three master-teachers.

If you have questions, please contact us by email at [email protected]

Salbek Opera Festival and Masterclass • Periș, Arad, România


You can see the list of admitted candidates for the Salbek Opera Masterclass 2023 here:
Salbek Opera Festival and Masterclass • Periș, Arad, România


Salbek Opera Festival and Masterclass • Periș, Arad, România

The extraordinary gala Salbek Opera Masterclass 2023

Arad – Extraordinary Opera Gala • 27 August, 

Piața Primăriei / City Hall Square • open air


Arad Philharmonic Orchestra
Conductor: David Crescenzi

Soloists: Ruxandra Donose, Leontina Văduva, Ramon Vargas
…and three of the Salbek Opera Masterclass 2023 students

City Hall Square • Arad, România



  • 1. G.Bizet: Overture from “Carmen” 
  • 2. G. Bizet: “Habanera” from “Carmen” (Ruxandra Donose)
  • 3. F. Cilea: “E’ la solita storia del pastore” from “L’arlesiana” (Ramón Vargas)
  • 4. G.Verdi: “Caro nome…” from “Rigoletto” (Noemi Onucu)
  • 5. R. Leoncavallo: Prologue from “Pagliacci” (Mihai Damian)
  • 6. G. Bizet: Farandole, Intermezzo from “L’Arlésienne”
  • 7. F. Obradors: “El Vito” (Leontina Văduva)
  • 8. G. Bizet: “Seguidilla” from “Carmen” (Ruxandra Donose)
  • 9. G. Puccini: “E Lucevan le stelle” from “Tosca” (Ramón Vargas)
  • 10. C. Saint-Saëns: “Mon Coeur …” from “Samson and Dalila” (Ruxandra Donose)
  • 11. Ch. Gounod –  “Ah ! Je ris de me voir” from “Faust” (Mihaela Vîrban)
  • 12. G. Bizet: Duetul “C’est toi, c’est moi” from “Carmen” (Ruxandra Donose and Ramón Vargas)
  • 13. Surprise (Leontina Văduva)
  • 14. A. Lara: “Granada” (Ruxandra Donose)
  • 15. G. Grigoriu: Music fom “The waves of the Danube” (Leontina Văduva)
  • 16. C. Velázquez: Besame Mucho (Ramôn Vargas)
  • 17. G. Verdi: “Brindisi” from “La Traviata”


Salbek Opera Festival and Masterclass • Periș, Arad, România

2024 & 2025

From 2024, the Salbek Opera Festival will, for the first time in Romania, hold an opera picnic event. It will also be the first festival to invite institutions with the status of national operas from Romania and neighbouring countries to present productions before an élite audience and in an original format.

The programme will include productions staged by leading opera theatres from Romania and Central and Eastern Europe—Czechia, Hungary, Serbia, Bulgaria, Austria—to be staged in August 2024 and 2025.

From 2024, the gardens of Salbek Castle will every summer host a festival featuring three operas and a gala, produced by theatres from Romania and other countries.

The festival will give audiences the direct experience of operatic performances by internationally renowned Romanian theatres, stages alongside productions by their counterparts from neighbouring countries. It has the potential to become an annual event which, within three to five years, will increase in scope, as we move in the direction of models such as the United Kingdom’s Glyndebourne and Grange Park festivals. 

Salbek Opera Festival • Castel Salbek, Petriș, Arad

Aerial view of the Salbek castle and estate, as well as the beautiful surroundings • Periș, Arad, România

If you have questions, please contact us by email at [email protected]