Internationally acclaimed opera singer Pavlo Hunka was born in England, the son of a Ukrainian father and an English mother. He qualified as a linguist and then practised as a lawyer in the United Kingdom for four years before embarking on a stellar singing career. He began his vocal studies at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester and completed them in Switzerland with Kammersängerin Maria Sandulescu.
Pavlo began his operatic journey in Basel, Switzerland, where he sang many of the bass-baritone roles in the Russian, German, French, and Italian repertoires. For the last 27 years, he has sung in the most prestigious opera houses of the world: Paris, Vienna, Munich, Florence, Amsterdam, Madrid, Moscow, London, Salzburg, Rome, Berlin, and Toronto, under a glittering array of conductors: Claudio Abbado, Jeffrey Tate, Semion Bychkov, Zubin Mehta, Peter Schneider, Mark Wigglesworth, Sir Simon Rattle, Sir Mark Elder, Daniel Barenboim, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Kirill Petrenko, and Kasushi Ono.
Highlights include Don Pizarro in Fidelio at Munich and Vienna State Operas, the title role in Wozzeck at the Maggio Musicale in Florence, Doctor in Wozzeck at the State Opera in Berlin, Schigolch in Lulu in Brussels and Munich, Macbeth in Berlin, Falstaff at the Canadian Opera Company, Tomski in Pique Dame at Teatro Real Madrid, Klingsor in Parsifal and Hunding in Walküre at the Bolshoi in Moscow, Alberich in Siegfried in Lyon, Nekrotzar in Le Grand Macabre in Brussels, the General in Prokoffiev’s The Gambler in Amsterdam, Simone in The Florentine Tragedy in Geneva, Boris in Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk in London, Šiškov in From the House of the Dead in Berlin in the acclaimed Patrice Chéreau production with Sir Simon Rattle.
Future projects include Dikoj in Katja Kabanova, Amfortas and Klingsor in Parsifal in Budapest, Tsar Dodon in Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Golden Cockerel, the world premiere of The Monster in the Maze by Jonathan Dove with the Berlin Philharmonic, the Ring Cycle in Denmark with Alexandr Vedernikov, Le Grand Macabre with Sir Simon Rattle and the London Symphony.
2016 marked Pavlo’s premiere performance in Ukraine, with an art song recital on June 5 at the National Philharmonic in Kyiv and another on June 9 at the Lviv Philharmonic. Pavlo produced and appeared in the September 29 concert in Kyiv commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Babyn Yar Holocaust. On October 4, he was invested as Doctoris Honoris Causa at the National Academy of Music in Lviv.
Pavlo is Artistic Director of the Ukrainian Art Song Project (www.ukrainianartsong.ca), which has the goal of recording an anthology of over 1000 Ukrainian classical art songs by 26 Ukrainian composers – songs never heard by the world; songs that deserve to be performed on the world stage.