Gábor Bretz was born in Budapest, where he still regularly performs with the Hungarian State Opera. He began his vocal training with Stephan Czovek in Los Angeles, and subsequently studied at the Béla Bartók Conservatory of Music and the Franz Liszt Academy of Music. Gábor has also attended master classes with Julia Hamari, Ralf Doring, Eva Marton and Yevgeni Nesterenko. He was awarded the Cesare Bardelli prize at the 2004 Viotti International Singing Competition, and was the winner of the 2005 Maria Callas Grand Prix Competition in Athens.
Since graduating from the Franz Liszt Academy he has appeared regularly with the Hungarian State Opera, where his roles have included the title-role in Mefistofele, Leporello Don Giovanni, Banquo Macbeth, Escamillo Carmen, Kothner Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg and Don Fernando Fidelio. Other notable appearances include Escamillo/Zuniga Carmen under Gustavo Dudamel at La Scala, Sparafucile Rigoletto for the Vienna Festwochen at the Theater an der Wien and numerous performances in the title role of Bluebeard’s Castle with Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, the Bayerische Rundfunk Orchestra, and with the New York Philharmonic at Alice Tully Hall. Other operatic performances include Antonio Le Nozze di Figaro at the Salzburg Festival, Masetto Don Giovanni at the Komische Oper, Berlin, the title-role in Don Giovanni with Opera Zagreb, the High Priest of Babylon Nabucco for Opéra de Rennes, Sparafucile Rigoletto in Klagenfurt, Bluebeard Bluebeard’s Castle under Gergiev in Ekaterinburg and Moscow, and First Soldier Salome, Bluebeard Bluebeard’s Castle, the Monk Don Carlo and Don Basilio Il Barbiere di Siviglia at La Scala, Milan. He also sang the title role of Don Giovanni for Opera Australia, Seneca L’incoronazione di Poppea in Klagenfurt and Escamillo Carmen for Leipzig Opera. Engagements in the 2009/10 season included Rocco Fidelio in Klagenfurt, Bluebeard with the Netherlands Opera, Colline La Bohème in Monte Carlo, Zuniga in a new production of Carmen under Daniel Barenboim, Escamillo at the Bayerische Staatsoper, and Don Basilio Il Barbiere di Siviglia at La Scala, Milan.
In addition to his operatic appearances Gábor Bretz sings regularly in concert, and his repertoire includes the major oratorios of Bach, Haydn, Mozart (including the Coronation Mass under Helmut Rilling), Rossini, Puccini, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, Tippett’s A Child of our Time, Berlioz’s L’Enfance du Christ (under Sylvain Cambreling) and the Verdi Requiem in Budapest with the National Philharmonic under Zoltan Kocsis.
A busy operatic season in 2011/12 saw Bretz at the Hungarian State Opera performing Leporello Don Giovanni, Escamillo Carmen, Alidoro Cenerentola, King Aida, Figaro Le Nozze di Figaro, Basilio Il Barbiere di Siviglia and Banquo Macbeth. He will be reprising several of these, along with other roles, for future HSO productions. Other engagements included Daland Der Fliegende Holländer at the Stadttheater Klagenfurt in Austria, Bluebeard’s Castle with the Bergen Philharmonic under Edward Gardiner and Le Nozze di Figaro at the Verbier Festival and Academy.
Engagements so far in the 2012/13 season have included Bluebeard’s Castle with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra under Daniel Harding and a recording of Szymanowski’s Stabat Mater for Chandos. Plans elsewhere include Ferrando Il Trovatore at the Vienna Festowochen, Sparafucile Rigoletto at the Festival d’Aix en Provence and with the London Symphony Orchestra under Gianandrea Noseda, Parsifal in Bologna, Colline La Bohème at the Royal Opera House and Escamillo Carmen at the Met.