Slovakian bass Stefan Kocan has emerged in recent years as one of the most exciting voices of his generation, having been acclaimed at such theaters as the Metropolitan Opera, Royal Opera House – Covent Garden, Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Berlin State Opera, Bavarian State Opera, Opéra National de Bordeaux, Theater an der Wien, Canadian Opera Company and Arena di Verona. This season, he will appear for the first time in Monte Carlo for his debut as Pagano in I Lombardi.
Stefan Kocan started gaining worldwide attention when he became a prize-winner at the famed International Tchaikovsky competition. After completing his studies in Bratislava, Kocan began his professional operatic career at the Landestheater in Linz, Austria. Singing with the company from 2002-2006, he appeared in such leading roles as Sarastro in The Magic Flute, Filippo in Don Carlos, Osmin in The Abduction from the Seraglio, Mephistopheles in Faust, Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor, Banco in Macbeth, and Kecal in The Bartered Bride. In 2003, Kocan was awarded the Eberhard Waechter Prize for his interpretation of the Grand Inquisitor in Don Carlos. Following these successes came Kocan’s American debut at the Metropolitan Opera as The King in Aida under the baton of Daniele Gatti in the 2009/10 season. In the 2010/11 season, he made his debut at the Lyric Opera of Chicago as Banco in a new production of Macbeth, returning to Chicago the following season to sing Ramfis in Aida. In the 2011/12 season, he was also invited to make his debut at the Teatro alla Scala as Masetto in the season opening production of Don Giovanni, featuring Anna Netrebko, Bryn Terfel and Peter Mattei.
Since making his debut at the Metropolitan Opera, Kocan has established himself as an electric performer both vocally and physically, returning there every season for such performances as Sparafucile in Otto Schenk’s production of Rigoletto, Ferrando in Il Trovatore (broadcast live in HD), and Il Commendatore in Michael Grandage’s new production of Don Giovanni (broadcast live in HD). In 2013, Kocan received much critical acclaim for his sinister and compelling portrayal of Sparafucile in Michael Mayer’s new production of Rigoletto (broadcast live in HD). New York Magazine praised him as a “gifted scene stealer with a voice that is a ‘tectonic rumble.’”
In the 2012/13 season, Kocan also sang Ramfis at the Metropolitan Opera, Banco at La Scala with Valery Gergiev, Il Commendatore at the Bavarian State Opera and Ramfis with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl under Gustavo Dudamel. In the 2013/14 season, he gave a critically acclaimed performance of Gremin in Eugene Onegin, followed by Khan Konchak in Dmitriy Tcherniakov’s new production of Prince Igor, which was broadcast live in HD. Kocan also returned to the Teatro alla Scala to sing The Grand Inquisitor and Filippo in Don Carlos.
In the 2015/16 season, the bass sang Ferrando and Sparafucile at the Metropolitan Opera, The Watcher in Oedipe at Covent Garden, as well as both the title role in Boito’s Mefistofele and Vodnik in Rusalka at the Prague State Opera. Additionally, Kocan gave several concert and recital appearances throughout Europe. Engagements from the 2016/17 season included Banco in Macbeth at the Theater an der Wien, Sparafucile at Choregies d’Orange and the Palm Beach Opera, and Il Commendatore, Gremin and Sparafucile at the Metropolitan Opera.
In the 2017/18 season, Kocan returned to the Metropolitan Opera as Ferrando in Il Trovatore, appeared as Hunding/Fafner in Der Ring des Nibelungen at the Theater an der Wien and sang his first Gurnemanz in Parsifal at Opera Vlaanderen in the Netherlands. In the 2018/19 season, Kocan debuted at the Opéra National de Bordeaux as Hunding. He also sang Il Commendatore in Don Giovanni at the Teatro Comunale di Bologna and returned to the Metropolitan Opera as Il Commendatore, Ramfis in Aida and Sparafucile. Kocan finished out the season with his debut at the Arena di Verona as Ramfis. Kocan began the 2019/20 season with his first appearance at the Canadian Opera Company as Vodnik in Rusalka, after which he made his role and house debut as Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte at the Royal Opera House of Muscat.