Biography

Michael Nagy, Stuttgart born baritone with Hungarian roots, began his musical career with the Stuttgart Hymnus Boys’ Choir. He studied singing, Lied interpretation and conducting with Rudolf Piernay, Irwin Gage and Klaus Arp in Mannheim and Saarbrücken and enhanced his education in master classes held by Charles Spencer, Cornelius Reid and Rudolf Piernay, whom he still consults.

Michael Nagy became an ensemble member of the Komische Oper Berlin before moving on to Frankfurt Opera, where he was able to develop his repertoire in roles such as Paragon (The Magic Flute), Count Almaviva (The Marriage of Figaro), Wolfram (Tannhäuser), Valentin (Faust), Prince Yeletsky (Pique Dame), Marcello (La Bohème), Albert (Werther), Frank/Fritz (Die tote Stadt), Dr. Falke (Die Fledermaus) and the title role in Owen Wingrave, as well as Jason in Reimann’s Medea. He still has close ties with these two opera houses: most recently in Frankfurt as Spielmann (Humperdinck: Die Königskinder) and he can soon be heard as the Forester in Janáček’s Cunning Little Vixen; in Berlin he last sang Count Tamare (Schreker: Die Gezeichneten) and Eugene Onegin on tour at Edinburgh Festival.

Song recitals and chamber music are also a particular concern of Michael Nagy: for instance he performs Hugo Wolf’s Italian Song Book together with Julia Kleiter and the Ensemble Labyrinth at Zurich Opera House, as well as a recital in honor of Victoria de Los Angeles at LIFE festival Barcelona with Susanna Klovsky.

He continues to broaden his repertoire on the world’s major opera stages: Wolfram in Tannhäuser (Bayreuth Festival), Hans Heiling in H. Marschner’s opera of the same name at the Theater an der Wien and Stolzius in Zimmermann’s Die Soldaten (under Kirill Petrenko at the Bavarian State Opera), Kurwenal (Tristan und Isolde) in Baden-Baden and Berlin conducted by Sir Simon Rattle, as well as the title role in Luigi Dallapiccola’s Il Prigioniero in Hamburg and the world premiere of Andreas Lorenzo Scartazzini’s new work Edward II at the Deutsche Oper Berlin.
Last season Michael Nagy made two important role debuts: Don Alfonso (Così fan tutte) at Zurich Opera House and Amfortas (Parsifal) at the Bavarian State Opera conducted by Kirill Petrenko – he returns to both houses in the 2019/20 season to sing in three revivals: Die Fledermaus, Alceste and Così fan tutte.

Michael Nagy is highly in demand as a concert and oratorio singer around the globe. He has appeared with the most renowned international orchestras such as the Berlin Philharmonic, the Concertgebouworkest, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the NHK Symphony Orchestra Tokyo, Orchestre de Paris, the Leipzig Gewandhausorchester, the Berlin Konzerthausorchester, New Japan Philharmonic Orchestra, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, and has performed at various festivals, for instance in Schleswig-Holstein and in the Rheingau, at the Salzburg Festival and the Tanglewood Festival (USA), as well as in Grafenegg and San Sebastian.
Michael Nagy is inquisitive in the best sense of the word – besides familiar repertoire the coming season offers new discoveries: he opens the season singing in Mahler’s Eighth Symphony conducted by Christoph Eschenbach at the Berlin Konzerthaus and in Dvořák’s Te Deum, which marks the commencement of Cristian Macelaru’s term as new principal conductor of the WDR Cologne. Michael Nagy gives guest performances with the Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra in Copenhagen conducted by Gianandrea Noseda in a concert performance of «Il Prigioniero» by Luigi Dallapiccola, with Hess Radio in Frankfurt as soloist in «Ein deutsches Requiem» by Johannes Brahms conducted by David Zinman, with the NDR Elbphilharmonie-Orchester in Hamburg under Marek Janowski singing Frank Martin’s «Jedermann Monologues», with the Brussels Philharmonic conducted by Stéphane Denève singing Brahms/Glanert «Four Serious Songs», with the Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra conducted by Stefan Solyom in orchestrated songs and arias by Gounod, Mahler, Bizet and Schubert, at the Musikfest Stuttgart under H. C. Rademann singing in Bruch’s «Lied von der Glocke», in the opening concert of the Schleswig Holstein Music Festival in 2020 with Nielsen’s Third Symphony conducted by Alan Gilbert; he performs «Lebendig begraben» by Othmar Schoeck with The Orchestra Now! in the USA (combined with a CD recording) conducted by Leon Botstein in the Carnegie Hall in New York and at Bard College.

In the 250th anniversary year of Beethoven’s birth, works by this composer feature prominently in Michael Nagy’s engagements, for instance he is a soloist in the Missa solemnis with the Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo and on tour with Thomas Hengelbrock; he sings in Beethoven’s Mass in C conducted by Karina Canellakis in Utrecht and the Ninth Symphony conducted by Teodor Currentzis in St. Petersburg, Bonn, Vienna and Luzern.

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Statements

"... a massive piece of music carved into granite, which cuts off the ornament of the verses and demands a strong interpreter with a no less strong voice. Michael Nagy has both: power and intensity. And with a lyrically grounded voice, he can elicit a wealth of nuances from the bitter permanent Forte and illustrate the psychological process with the finest shades, which in six songs leads from fear of death to remorse to the idea of salvation."

Abendzeitung Munich, Robert Braunmüller, 6/7/2020 - "'Jedermann' mit Michael Nagy und Nikolaus Bachler"

"The voice and body was that of Michael Nagy. The voice was a glorious heldenbaritone, a voice which plunged down to a low C (along with the contrabassoon), or led upwards at the end with Wagnerian gloriousness. His body? Mr. Nagy was almost paralyzed. He moved his arms to turn the score, but otherwise, this was the Body as Corpse. Frightening stuff."

concerto.net, Harry Rolnick, 11/14/2019 - "Schoeck Treatment!"

"Michael Nagy sang Tamare with impeccable intonation and a generous, round baritone."

VAN Magazine, Ben Miller 2/15/2018 - "Awful Magic"

"Michael Nagy is a powerfully charismatic presence as Tamare and delivers his notes impressively and forcefully."

bachtrack.com, Hugo Shirley, 1/23/2018 - "Toy Story: Calixto Bieito stages Die Gezeichneten at the Komische Oper"

"Michael Nagy, with his rich baritone and sensuous legato, is fittingly seductive but despicable as Tamare."

Financial Times, Rebecca Schmid, 1/24/2018 - "Die Gezeichneten, Komische Oper Berlin - tasteless banality"

"Michael Nagy, who was making his CSO debut, sang of finding solace in the face of mortality. To his several solos he bought a burnished, focused lyric baritone with superb projection, pliant phrasing and a lieder singer's regard for the German texts and the meanings they convey through Brahms' music. The Hungarian singer is a real find."

Chicago Tribune, John von Rhein, 11/12/2016,

"Magnificent and almost over-casted for the rowdy role: the young, accomplished and powerful Michael Nagy as Kurwenal."

Opernwelt, Stephan Mösch, Edition No. 5 / May 2016 - "Über allen Gipfeln keine Ruh'"

"Amongst the soloists the undoubted star is the young [...] bass, Michael Nagy, whose accomplished portrayal of Elijah balances the requisite qualities of patriarchal strength and human vulnerability."

Limelight magazine, Tony Way, 4/26/2017 ("Alt-Mendelssohn brings a leaner take on the classic oratorio")

"Young Michael Nagy is already to be numbered among the finest Wolframs I have experienced, and he will only get better with age. His mellifluous, honeyed baritone is sizable enough to ring out in the house, and nuanced enough to create a musically diverse portrayal. And he is highly persuasive as an actor, remaining sympathetic even as the director has Wolfram kill Elisabeth (whom he loves) by stuffing her through a door into a gas tank, and then proceeding to sing a ravishing “Ode to the Evening Star”…to a pregnant Venus. Yes, somehow we still manage to love him, Michael is that good."

Opera today, 8/30/2011

"Michael Nagy’s strong, easily projected baritone conveyed the stern admonitory passages without losing a humane expression in his warnings of the finality of death and the transitory nature of earthly life."

Chicago Classical Review, Lawrence A. Johnson, 11/11/2016

"Michael Nagy offers an engaging, robustly sung Papageno, ..."

The New York Times, George Loomis, 3/26/2013 - "'Zauberflöte' in a New Easter Home"

"Michael Nagy carves out the title role as a magnificent psychological study and is capable of handling every single note of the demanding score."

Nachrichten.at, Michael Wruss, 9/15/2015 - „Gruselgeschichte zwischen Geisterwelt und Dorfleben. Saisonauftakt mit "Hans Heiling" im Theater an der Wien”

"Michael Nagy, acclaimed ‚Wolfram‘ of Bayreuth Festival’s „Tannhäuser“-production delivers a masterpiece as Papageno. "

Die Welt, Lucas Wiegelmann, 3/24/2013 - "Kann Mozarts 'Zauberflöte' den Tod überwinden?"

"Hats off! This man is a revelation!"

Abendzeitung Munich, Robert Braunmüller, 11/13/2011 - "Mahler 'Wunderhornlieder', Sinfonieorchester des BR, Daniele Gatti"

"But the big surprise – and the biggest ovation – went to newcomer Michael Nagy as Wolfram. Here’s another young guy who has everything going for him, especially with respect to technique, breathing, shading and all the little tools that master singers employ, not to mention respect for the score. He’s also the most sympathetic character in the opera, and is not at all hard on the eye. So some wishes did come true."

Musical America, 8/15/2011

"Staged like a sung play and relying on the subtle acting skills of a fine ensemble cast – led by the vocally outstanding Michael Nagy as the pacifist protagonist who defies family tradition and honour by refusing to become a soldier- ..."

The Sunday Times, 1/31/2010 (Britten Owen Wingrave)

"The performances all seem to me exemplary. Michael Nagy sings well; he has a rich fruity baritone and he really projects the words. The final song in its orchestral version sounds like a riposte to Alberich’s renunciation of love which sets the tragedy of Wagner’s Ring in motion."

Musicweb International, Stephen Barber, April 2017 (CD Brahms / Glanert, Four Preludes and Serious Songs)