Maria Taytakova is a versatile Slovak soprano performing at international opera and concert stages. She graduated from the Music Conservatoire in Bratislava in voice studies and from the Academy of Arts in Banská Bystrica in vocal interpretation. Further, she continued in doctoral studies at the Academy of Arts in Banská Bystrica (prof. Mária Tomanová) focusing on French lyric opera. During her studies she received several awards including a scholarship from the International Holland Music Sessions and a double dean’s prize from the Faculty of Performing Arts at the Academy of Arts in Banská Bystrica. In addition, she participated in numerous master classes given by recognized singers such as Mirella Freni, Raina Kabaivanska, Cristina Deutekom, Eva Marton, Sona Ghazarian, Thomas Hampson, Antonio Carangelo, Peter Dvorský and others. She was a laureate of the Antonín Dvořák International Singing Competition in Karlovy Vary (Czech Republic) and a finalist of the M. Schneider-Trnavský International Singing Competition in Trnava (Slovakia). She presented herself on the professional music scene already during her studies, performing at the Chamber Opera in Bratislava, the Opera of the Slovak National Theater, and at the New Slovak Music festival. At the same time, she made two CD recordings of sacred songs Cantiones Sacrae within the edition Musica Antiqua Slovaca.
Maria Taytakova made her stage debut in a leading role as Lucia (G. Donizetti: Lucia di Lammermoor) at the State Theatre Košice (Slovakia) in 2009. This was followed by the roles of Musetta (G. Puccini: La Bohème) and Gilda (G. Verdi: Rigoletto) at Italian and Austrian stages. On her portrayal of Gilda (G. Verdi: Rigoletto) – performed at the Klassik Festival Schloss Kirchstetten – critics highlighted her “perfect mastery of coloraturas together with dramatic culminations” (Der NeueMerker, 3.8.2013), and appreciated also her role interpretation due to its “immense thoroughness, depth and full-blown drama” (Café Momus, 28.9.2013). Afterwards she was offered the role of Adina (G. Donizetti: L’elisir d’amore) at the same festival in Austria. Her Adina caught the attention by an “excellent role shaping” (Café Momus 20.8.2015) and by her “wonderful, agile soprano with a sonorous middle register, magnificent legato and sparkling coloraturas” (Hintermayer Music, 2.8.2015). In the next period she sang the roles of Najade (R. Strauss: Ariadne auf Naxos) and Oberto (G. F. Händel: Alcina) at the State Theatre Košice (Slovakia). The critics appreciated her “flawless coloraturas” (Operaplus.cz, 28.2.2016), and highlighted also her “colourful and round voice” (Operaplus.cz, 11.10.2017) in the guest performance at the Estate Theatre Prague (Czech republic).
Further, Maria Taytakova performed the role of Piramo (J. A. Hasse: Piramo e Tisbe) at the TEATRO BAROCCO in Stift Altenburg (Austria) and in the Schlosstheater Laxenburg bei Wien (Austria). In her interpretation of Piramo she “shined through the versatile expression of her soprano” (Der Neue Merker, 9.7.2016). The critics also pointed out her “elegantly guided voice” with a “silvery sound” (Kurier, 27.6.2016). The Piramo e Tisbe production by TEATRO BAROCCO was nominated for the Austrian Music Theater Prize 2017. Afterwards, she prepared the role of Violetta (G. Verdi: La Traviata) for the series of opera gala within the Mythos Opera Festival (Italy), sang the roles of Pamina (W. A. Mozart: Zauberflöte) and Zerlina (Mozart: Don Giovanni) at the opera studio in Banská Bystrica (Slovakia), and the role of Rosetta (G. A. Benda: Il buon marito) at the TEATRO BAROCCO in Baden bei Wien (Austria). In the opera Il Buon marito she “drew a fine figure as a powerfully witty Rosetta” (Wiener Zeitung, 16.7.2019) and “impressed both by her voice and acting skills through her distinctive comedic play” (Online Merker, 15.7.2019). The critics also highlighted her “expressive and with many nuances wonderfully phrasing soprano” (Opera Online, 17.7.2019).
In addition to theater productions, Maria Taytakova regularly performs on international concert stages. She performed at concerts in Slovakia, Czech Republic, Austria, Germany, Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, Italy, Spain, Croatia and Japan. She cooperated with the Slovak Philharmonic, Collegium of Czech Philharmonics, Capella Istropolitana, Žilina State Chamber Orchestra, Chorus Angelorum Ensemble, Veneto Philharmonic, and others. The critic at Grosse Operngala in Austria wrote about her concert performance: “The soprano has a voice as beautiful as a dream with many colors, coloratura abilities, spinto qualities” (Hintermayer Music, 28.9.2015). The performance at the concert in Jazovia, Poland, received equally favorable reviews: “Maria Taytakova, a brilliant artist. Something beautiful, unseen, unusual. …the songs sounded like in a dream, so easily, so smoothly” (Centrum Kultury Jazovia, 6.12.2021).
In 2022, she performed at the Slovak Philharmonic, where she interpreted Alban Berg’s recognized song cycle Sieben frühe Lieder, accompanied by the Slovak Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra. With the same piece, she was the finalist of the Manhattan International Music Competition 2022 in the category “Professional”. She also performed song repertoire at the 57th annual Bratislava Music Festival (BHS 2022) within the Chamber concert of songs by Slovak composers. The critics highlighted her interpretation reflecting “both confidence in the coloratura sections and a large tonal range of the cycle, but equally expressive depth in work with dynamics, revealing a close and profound symbiosis of words and music… The solo voice sounded in a timbre with impressive shine not only in the heights, attracting attention with sensitive modeling of phrases and handling of dynamic nuances.” (OperaSlovakia, 26.9.2022).
Maria Taytakova is an enthusiast of chamber music and enjoys performing vocal pieces in cooperation with diverse musical instruments or ensembles. She cooperated with Trio Salterio Nobile and Pressburg Saxophone Quartet. She also likes to discover forgotten or little-played works, or compositions by contemporary authors. In her repertoire, she has a large number of songs (Fauré, Duparc, Debussy, Strauss, Berg, Schönberg, Poulenc, Milhaud, Messiaen, etc.) and pays special attention to the presentation of the vocal work of Slovak composers (Bella, Schneider-Trnavský, Moyzes, Suchoň, Jurovský , Holoubek, Kardoš, Zimmer, Zeljenka, Hrušovský, Martinček and others).
In 2021, her profile CD – Impressions / Songs – was released in cooperation with the renowned Slovak pianist Ladislav Fanzowitz. The recording presents Slovak songwriting in the broader context of European chamber vocal music and contains compositions from the end of the 19th century to the first half of the 20th century. CD Impressions received positive reviews from professional critics: “Maria Taytakova’s lyrical soprano sounds balanced in all positions, it has a pleasant rounded colour and, thanks to her excellent breath technique the phrasing is fluent… The songs () have a varied atmosphere, each of them has its own poetics, which Taytakova conceived in a close creative partnership with Fanzowitz with a strong emotion, sense of chamber musicianship, plastic content reflection of lyrical, as well as, and more dramatic surges…” (Hudobný život, 9/2022). Another reviewer highlighted “…the work with tones, the musically flawless treatment of high positions, the precision of singing in coloraturas and the sonically acceptable increase in the dramatic tension of some songs”. (OperaSlovakia, 30. 7. 2022).
Currently, Maria Taytakova prepares an experimental multimedia project based on Harawi: Chant d’amour et de mort (1945) by Olivier Messiaen in cooperation with Studio 12 of the Theater Institute in Bratislava, Slovakia.