Biographical informationJozef Benci studied singing at the Conservatory and the Academy of Performing Arts (VŠMU) in Bratislava and at the Janáček Academy of Music and Performaing Arts in Brno. He graduated in 2003 from the VŠMU under the direction of the world-class vocal artist Sergej Kopčák. In 1997 he earned third place in the Cavalero Carlo Vendero international singing competition in Bratislava, together with the opportunity to make several laureate concert appearances at competitions in Italy. In 1999 he was second in the Antonín Dvořák international singing competition in Karlovy Vary. In August 2001 he was a prizewinner and took the individual prize awarded by the Darclée Foundation at the Hariclea Darclée international singing competition in Braila, Romania, and in September 2001 he won the prestigious George Enescu international singing competition in Bucharest. In 2006 he triumphed in the international competition for singers up to the age of 32 in Berlin and portrayed the role of Zaccaria in Verdi's Nabucco.
In the 1998–1999 season he was a guest soloist of the SND Chamber Opera in Bratislava. From 2002 he was a soloist at the State Opera in Banská Bystrica, where he assumed large bass roles, especially in Verdi. In January 2004 he made his debut at the SND Opera in Bratislava in Verdi's Nabucco as Zaccaria, and from January 2007 became the SND's soloist in core bass operatic repertoire: Colline in Puccini's La Bohéme and the Water Goblin in Dvořák's Rusalka, and in Verdi, Ferrando in Il Trovatore, the Grand Inquisitor in Don Carlos and Tom in Un Ballo in Maschera. In Donizetti he portrayed Dulcamara in L'Elisir d’Amore, Sulpice in La Fille du Régiment and Don Alfonso in Lucrezia Borgia. He appeared as Pimen and Boris in Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov, Kecal in Smetana's Bartered Bride and Sarastro in Mozart's Magic Flute, as well as, in a convincing performance, Mephistopheles in Gounod's Faust.
In Slovakia he has guested at the Music Days of Banská Bystrica and the Zámocké hry zvolenské international music festival. In Spring 2009 he appeared as the Water Goblin in a performance of Rusalka as part of the 18th International Music Festival Český Krumlov, in an amphitheatre with a revolving stage. In 2011 he participated successfully as Kecal in a concert performance of Smetana's Bartered Bride at the Barbican Hall in London with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of the Czech conductor Jiří Bělohlávek, from which the Harmonia Mundi label prepared a CD recording. In 2012 he made a radio recording for the BBC with Bělohlávek of Dvořák's opera The Jacobin, in the role of the Burgrave. In 2013 he recorded Janáček's Glagolitic Mass for Supraphon in the composer's first version (a world premiere). Jozef Benci is wholeheartedly committed to chamber and oratorio performances in concert and equally to the performance of works by contemporary Slovak composers. He has taken part in concerts in Slovakia and on stages in the Czech Republic, Luxembourg, France, Romania, Italy, Austria, Poland, Germany, Brazil, China and Japan, among others.
In 2011 he was especially successful in a joint vocal recital at the Bratislava Music Festival with the world-famous star coloratura soprano Edita Gruberová, with whom he also appeared in the festival in a concert performance of Donizetti's Lucrezia Borgia. With Gruberová he also performed in 2012 at the Tonhalle in Zürich and in 2013 in Budapest in a concert performance of Donizetti's Anna Bolena. With the legendary conductor Nello Santi he sang the bass part in the Verdi Requiem at the SND Opera at Easter 2012. Since 2013 he has regularly guested at the National Opera in Budapest. In Summer 2014 he took part in the Sankt Margarethen festival in Austria in Verdi's Aida. In October 2014 he sang in a large-scale production of Strauss's Elektra in Shanghai and Beijing. In 2015 he made a successful tour of Japan as Bartolo in the Barber of Seville by Rossini.