Kreshnik Zhabjaku, Baritone

With his beautiful voice, and lyricly timbered Baritone, Kreshnik Zhabjaku has garnered accolades for his operatic performances both in Europe and in the United States.

Lee Williams and D. L. Groover of the Houston Press exclaim: “As the licentious Don, Kreshnik Zhabjaku has sexiness to spare, and it’s easy to see — and hear — why so many ladies swoon over him. He leaps over Mozart’s beautiful vocal hurtles with lithe agility and palpable masculinity.”    The Houston Chronicle adds to his praise, stating: “…Kreshnik Zhabjaku asserts a smooth, forceful voice and presence in the title role…”

He began his singing career at the age of four, and at the age of twelve won First Prize in the “Young Voices” competition in his native, Tirana, Albania.  These accomplishments lead to the beginning of Mr. Zhabjaku’s operatic career as a soloist at the Albanian National Opera, where he performed Masetto in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, as well as Gaudenzio in Signor Bruschino, and Figaro in Il Barbiere di Siviglia under the baton of the legendary conductor Manfred Mayrhofer.   In 2008 Mr. Zhabjaku reprised his role of Figaro at the Albanian National Opera to great acclaim.

Since his arrival in the United States, Kreshnik has been heard in such diverse roles as Aeneas in Dido and AeneasBelcore in L’Elisir D’amore, Germont, La Traviata and Figaro, Le Nozze di Figaro with Rogue Opera (2010-2012).  In Houston’s Opera in the Heights, he revised both Don Giovanni,  and Belcore, under the well-known director  Leslie Swackhamer. Under the baton of Yves Abel, Kreshnik performed the Grand Priest in Rameau’s Castor et Pollux at L’Opéra Francais. And with Will Crutchfield, he performed at the Bel Canto International Festival at Caramoor. Other roles include Mordecai in the contemporary Opera Queen Esther in Manhattan, Nerio with Armida Project in MA, as well as in in NYC (2013),  Schaunard in La Bohème with Opera Mississippi, and Count Zeta in The Merry Widow with Manhattan Lyric Opera on tour in Florida (2009).

“…a recitalist in his prime” (the Washington Post), Mr  Zhabjaku has graced the concert stages in France, Italy and Austria, where he was invited to sing at the prestigious Mozarteum, Castle Höch, and Castle Mirabel in Salzburg.  He has appeared a number of times as the soloist with both the Symphony Orchestra of the National Opera and with the Radio Television Symphonic Orchestra in his native Albania. In the United States his recitals have taken him to New Jersey, Chicago, Minnesota, Oregon, Connecticut, Washington D.C., and New York City.  Over the years, Mr Zhabjaku performed at the all-Schumann program at New York’s Weill Recital Hall in 2001, and given a “command performance” at the German Consulate in New York of Beethoven’s six-song cycle An die ferne Geliebte, in 2003.  This season 2018/19, Mr. Zhabjaku has continued his success as recitalist as soloist in the Martina Arroyo Gala at Hunter College, NYC, as well as at the Albanian Gala in June 2019.

Among his many distinctions and honors, Mr. Zhabjaku was invited to perform at the Konservatorium der Stadt Wien and at the Annecy et Marseille Festival in France.  As a very young artist, he won First Prize as “Best Singer” in Albania’s Art Song Competition.  He was the winner of the prestigious Arleen Auger Memorial Fund Scholarship, NYC2001. Another great honor was as a finalist in the Nico Castel International Master Singer Competition at Weill Recital Hall, at Carnegie Hall, in 2011, where he returned in 2014, as the chosen soloist in “An Evening of Albanian Classical Music.”   This concert, organized by the Albanian Ambassador to the UN, marked the first of its kind at Carnegie Hall. That same season, Mr. Zhabjaku was also invited as the soloist in the concert organized by the President of The Republic of Albania in NYC.  Later that year, he performed the Baritone solo in Ralph Vaughn William’s Fantasy on a Christmas Carol with the Westchester Chorale and Orchestra. The following season, 2015, Mr. Zhabjaku returned as soloist with the Westchester Chorale, to perform Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle, and was invited to be the guest artist for Albanian American Civic League’s 25th Anniversary celebration in NYC.

Mr. Zhabjaku obtained his BM in Vocal Performance from Tirana’s Academy of Fine Arts and his MM from the Mannes College of Music in NYC.  His teachers include Regina Resnik, Licia Albanese, Renata Scotto and Fabrizio Melano.   In 2009 he traveled to Italy to attend Master Classes at Academia Ca`Zenobio Fondazione Cassamarca, where he studied with the renowned Prof. Alessandra Althoof in Venice.   He currently resides in New York.

Artist’s Website

Selected Operatic Roles & Concert Work:

Soloist                           Concerts, Jerusalem

Soloist                         Gala Concert

Soloist                          Martina Arroyo Spring Program                                                          Soloist                                   Spring Concert Westchester Chorale                                                                  

Soloist                         Russian & American Comp.      NAACE*                                          

Soloist                         Mass of the Children                  John Rutter, Westchester Chorale

Soloist                         Albanian Composers, Arias        Town Hall, NYC

Soloist                         Petite Messe Solennelle,Rossini  Westchester Chorale

Soloist                          Fantasy on a Christmas Carol, Vaughn Williams, Westchester Chorale

Soloist                        Albanian Art Songs                    Albanian Embassy of UN, NY

Nerio                            Armida Project                          New Opera NY Company

Belcore                        L’elisir D’amore                          Rogue Opera

Guest Artists               Rossini, Brahms, etc.                Loyola University, Chicago

Solo Recital                 Brahms, Duparc, etc.                 Albanian National Opera

G.Germont                   La Traviata                                Rogue Opera

Mordechai                    Queen Esther                            Classical Presentations LLC

Figaro                            Le nozze di Figaro                     Rogue Opera

Count Zeta                   The Merry Widow                      Manhattan Lyric Opera (FLTour)

Soloist                         Tchaikovsky, Dargomirsky         Russian Chamber Arts Society,                                                                                                          Wash. DC                      

Schaunard                   La Bohème                                    Opera Mississippi

Figaro                          Il Barbiere di Siviglia                  National Opera,  Albania

Don Giovanni               Don Giovanni                            Opera in The Heights

Belcore                        L’elisir D’amore                          Opera in The Heights

Grand Priest                Castor et Pollux                         L’Opéra Français de New York

Soloist                          Handel, Messiah                       Monmouth Civic Chorus

Soloist                           Bach& Mozart                           Princeton Pro Musica

Soloist                          Rachmaninoff ,Cantata Op.20    Stony Brook Performing Arts

Soloist                        Handel, Messiah,                      Duluth-Superior Symphony

Soloist                         M. Zelenaia, World Premier      One World Symphony

Aeneas                          Dido and Aeneas,                          One World  Symphony

Gaudenzio                  Il Signor Bruschino                    National Opera, Albania

Masetto                        Don Giovanni                            National Opera, Albania

Education

Sommer Akademie                  Mozarteum, Salzburg, Austria

Master of Music                       Mannes College of Music, NY

Summer Program                    Marywood University, Scranton, PA

Bachelor of Music                   Academy of Fine Arts, Tirana, Albania

Master Classes:                     Opera Director Fabrizio Melano                                                                                                        Regina Resnik, 2002; Licia Albanese 1999.

Young Artists Program         Bel Canto at Caramoor International Festival                            Marchese (cover) Linda di Charmonix,  G.Germont (cover) La Traviata                                                              

Prizes:

WINNER                                               Franco Gentilesca Young Artist Award, New York         WINNER                                               Arleen Auger Memorial Fund Scholarship                        WINNER                                               Albanian-American Women’s Organization                                                                                     Scholarship,NYC       

WINNER                                               Albanian Art Song Competition, Albania                         

 Special Skills: Fluent in Albanian, Italian and English Languages. Singing fluency in Albanian, Italian, Russian, French, German, English, Hebrew, Spanish.

Dance experience: Baroque, Ballroom and Modern. TV & Commercial Acting Experience, *New American Association for Culture & Education

New Web Site: KreshnikZhabjaku.org

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