Who was József Simándy?

Next week I am taking part in a singing competition dedicated to the memory of József Simándy (1916-1997). His name is might not well-known outside the Carpathian Basin, therefore I want to cast some light on his heritage.

Simándy was one of the greatest tenors of Hungary. His name is inseparable from the title role of Bánk bán romantic historic opera by Ferenc Erkel (1810-1893).

Simándy was born in a small town called Kistarcsa and after finishing his basic education he studied car-repairing and worked in a workshop until 1939.

He received vocal training at Emilia Posszert’s private school and between 1943-45 as student of Ferenc Székelyhidi at the Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest.

Under period of World War II he sang in choir of the Hungarian State Opera. As a soloist he debut in role of Don José, Carmen in 1946 in Szeged. His rich voice, charismatic presence and inner strength made him especially capable for shaping heroic tenor roles.

In the second half of the 20th century many Hungarian schoolchildren grew up listening aria Hazám, hazám... (My country, my country…) from opera Bánk bán in his interpretation.

Placido Domingo honored Hungary by singing this very aria in 2007 in Budapest.

The ’József Simándy’ International Singing Competition founded by loving wife Mrs. Judit Simándy to cherish his heritage by giving singers opportunity to show their vocal and artistic qualities in three categories under artistic leadership of Mária Temesi, professor at Conservatory of Szeged.

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