Bretan, Nicolae, remarkable Romanian composer; b. Nâsàud, April 6, 1887; d. Cluj, Dec. 1, 1968. He studied at the Klausenburg Cons., composition and voice with Farkas, and violin with Gyémánt (1906–08); then at the Vienna Academy of Music (1908–09) and at the Magyar Királyi Zeneakademia in Budapest (1909–12) with Siklos (theory) and Szerémi (violin). His primary career was that of an opera singer, performing baritone parts at the opera houses in Bratislava, Oradea, and Cluj between 1913 and 1944, also acting as a stage director. At the same time, he surprisingly asserted himself as a composer of operas and lieder in an effective veristic manner, marked by a high degree of professional expertise and considerable originality.
DRAMATIC Opera: Luceafarul (The Evening Star; in Romanian; tr. by the composer into Hungarian and German; Cluj, Feb. 2, 1921); Golem (in Hungarian; tr. by the composer into Romanian and German; Cluj, Dec. 23, 1924); Eroii de la Rovine (in Romanian; Cluj, Jan. 24, 1935); Horia (in Romanian; also tr. into German by the composer; Cluj, Jan. 24, 1937); Arald (in Romanian; 1939). other:Requiem; mystery play, An Extraordinary Seder Evening (in Hungarian; also tr. into Eng.); Mein Liederland, about 230 songs to Romanian, Hungarian, and German texts.
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire