After finishing her violin studies at the Craiova Music School, Gabriela Popescu devoted herself entirely to classical singing at the Music School No. 1 in Bucharest and later completed her studies at the National University of Music Bucharest with renowned professor Arta Florescu. The young artist soon received scholarships in Bayreuth and Florence. Master classes with Ileana Cotrubas and Margarita Lilova in Vienna complemented her education. In 1992 she won first prize at the International Robert Stolz Singing Competition in Hamburg. As part of her first contract with the Magdeburg Opera from 1989 to 1992, Gabriela Popescu sang important parts, including Erda, Fricka and Waltraute.
From 1992 to 2001 she made guest appearances at major European opera houses such as Paris (Giulietta from Offenbach’s “The Tales of Hoffmann” at the Opéra Bastille), Vienna (Fenena from Verdi’s “Nabucco” at the Volksoper), Brussels (Smeton from Donizetti’s “Anna Bolena” and “The Triptych” by Puccini at the Théâtre de La Monnaie), Toulouse (Maddalena from Verdi’s “Rigoletto” at the Théâtre du Capitole), Lausanne (Olga from Tchaikovsky’s “Eugene Onegin” at the Théâtre du Jorat), Bilbao (Federica from Verdi’s “Luisa Miller” at the Teatro Coliseo Albia), Marseille (Frugola from Puccini’s “Il Tabarro” at the Opéra de Marseille), Oslo (Carmen by Bizet at the Norske Opera), Toulon, Liège and Reims (Azucena from Verdi’s “Il Trovatore”), Hamburg (“The Triptych” by Puccini at the Hamburg State Opera), Nuremberg (Ulrica from Verdi’s “Un ballo in maschera” at the Nuremberg State Theater) and Nancy (Sorcière from Prokofiev’s “The Fiery Angel” at the Opéra national de Lorraine).
She shared the stage with many renowned singers, such as Angela Gheorghiu, Roberto Alagna, Neil Shicoff, Lando Bartolini, Jose van Dam, Alain Fondary, Nicola Martinucci and Sergej Larin as well as conductors like Antonio Papano, Marcello Viotti, Simone Young, Maurizio Arena, Yuri Temirkanov, Daniel Oren, Stefan Lano and Gerd Schaller. She has also worked with famous directors such as Roman Polanski, Vittorio Rossi, Harry Kupfer, Nicolas Joël and Antonello Madau Diaz.
Other important stations in her career were:
- 2002 and 2003 – the participation in the Classic Open Air Festival in Berlin together with the Berlin Symphony Orchestra
- Invitations to opera galas, vocal-symphonic concerts and song recitals in well-known European centers (including Budapest, Basel, Berlin, Venice, Lausanne, Cologne, Bamberg, Hanover and Madrid)
- 2002 – a tour to the Far East: the opening success of various recitals and concerts in Japan (e.g. “Christmas Oratorio” by Bach and “Messiah” by Händel) was followed by performances of “Aida” in Tokyo (Orchard Hall) and in Osaka (Festival Hall) as well as in other major cities in Japan, such as Kanazawa, Nagoya, Yokohama and Fukuoka (2003).
In 2005 she took on the role of Azucena in “Il Trovatore” at the Seoul Metropolitan Opera (South Korea) as well as Fenena in “Nabucco” at the Korea National Opera with the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Daniel Oren.
In 2006, she sang the role of Amneris from “Aida” at both Daejeon Arts Center and Gwangju Arts Center (South Korea).
In addition, Gabriela Popescu also celebrated significant successes at the Romanian National Opera in Bucharest, including 2004 as Amneris, 2006 as Azucena and 2007 as Delilah in the concert production of “Samson and Delilah”.
At the 2007 International George Enescu Festival in Bucharest, she shone with arias from Händel’s operas and oratorios and performed together with the Munich Bach Soloists conducted by Gerd Schaller. In January 2008 Gabriela Popescu was also rewarded with standing ovations for her interpretation of the Principessa in the concert production of the opera “Adriana Lecouvreur” by Cilea, together with the Romanian Radio National Orchestra Bucharest.
She received great acclaim both in October 2008 for her interpretation of orchestral songs by Richard Strauss and in January 2009 for the role of Hérodiade in the opera by Jules Massenet’s, with the same ensemble.
In April 2009 she took on the role of the fairy Morgana in a concert production of Karl Goldmark’s opera “Merlin” as part of the world premiere recording by the Bavarian Broadcasting.
Gabriela Popescu has been welcomed back time and again as a guest at the George Enescu Philharmonic in Bucharest, where she achieved great success performing in several galas and concerts from 2008 to 2014 (e.g. Dvorak “Requiem” and “Stabat Mater”, Verdi “Requiem”, Beethoven “Missa Solemnis”, Mendelssohn-Bartholdy “Elias”, R. Wagner “Wesendonck-Lieder”, “Isoldes Liebestod” and “Götterdämmerung: Brünnhildes Schlussgesang“ and R. Strauss “The Four Last Songs”).
In 2011 she once again took on the role of Amneris from “Aida” as part of the Daegu International Opera Festival at the Daegu Arts Center in South Korea.
In 2012 and 2013, she received further invitations to opera galas at the Daegu Opera House and to sing Verdi’s “Requiem” at the Kyungpook National University for the opening of a new concert hall.
- 2003-2008 – Vocal professor at the Otto von Guericke University in Magdeburg
- 2003-2004 – Visiting professorships at the Tokyo Chamber Opera Theatre in Japan
Visiting professorships at Universities in South Korea
- 2005/2006 – Korea National University of Arts, School of Music in Seoul
- 2007 – Kunsan National University, Department of Music
- 2009/2010 – Pai Chai University in Daejeon
- 2011 – Chonnam National University – Gwangju Campus
- 2013 – Kyungpook National University (KNU) – Daegu Campus