Max Emanuel Cencic
• Born 1976
Often appears with
Max Emanuel Cencic is one of the most impressive of an outstanding crop of European countertenors whose careers blossomed in the first decade of the 21st century. Finding fame as a young boy, Cencic has gone on to appear on the stages of many of the world's top opera houses and concert halls and has had an acclaimed recording career. He is known for the power, richness, agility, and range of his voice.
Cencic was born on September 21, 1976, in Zagreb, Croatia. At six years old, he gained notoriety in his home country for a performance of Mozart's "Der Hölle Rache." In 1987, he joined the Vienna Boys' Choir and has since made his home in Austria. During his time in the Vienna Boys' Choir, he starred as a treble soloist in performances and recordings; he remained a member of the choir until 1992. After his voice broke, he continued to sing as a male soprano, often making solo appearances with the Vienna Boys' Choir, before training as a countertenor. As a countertenor, Cencic has appeared in productions at the Vienna State Opera, Zurich Opera House, and the Bavarian State Opera, among others. He has also appeared at such leading concert houses as Carnegie Hall in New York, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, and Tchaikovsky Hall in Moscow. While he has focused primarily on music of the Baroque and early Classical periods, he has also made an album of Rossini arias and has sung contemporary works such as the 2010 premiere of Aribert Reimann's Medea. In the 2010s decade, Cencic expanded his duties when he began taking a turn at directing. He served as the director and lead in the 2016 and 2017 Karlsruhe Handel Festival production of Handel's Arminio, and has since directed and performed in Handel's Serse and Nicola Porpora's rarely staged Polifemo in 2019.
Cencic has recorded widely, including leading roles in Landi's Il Sant'Alessio; Vivaldi's Farnace; Handel's Fernando, Rodrigo, and Faramondo; and Gluck's Ezio, as well as numerous recitals. He collaborated on an album of duets in 2011 with fellow countertenor Philippe Jaroussky, accompanied by William Christie, a frequent collaborator. Cencic has recorded for several labels, including Decca, Capriccio, Erato, and Parnassus Arts, where he was heard on the 2020 album Leonardo Vinci: Gismondo, Re di Polonia.