Petean studied at the Gheorghe Dima Music Academy and made his debut in the title role of Don Giovanni in Timișoara in 1997. He subsequently performed leading baritone roles both there and in Cluj-Napoca, making his first international appearance at the Rome Opera as Marcello in La bohème in 2000.
Petean was a member of the ensemble of the Hamburg Opera from 2002 until 2010, appearing in numerous roles, and has also performed as a guest artist in many of the world’s leading opera houses including Teatro Real, Bavarian State Opera, Paris Opéra, Staatsoper Wien, Teatro Regio di Parma and Berlin State Opera. He made his debut at the Metropolitan Opera New York as Marcello in 2010 and returned in the role of Valentin in Faust in 2012 and as Germont in La traviata in 2017.
He is particularly noted for his performances in Verdi operas and performed the title role in the composer’s Simon Boccanegra (with Opera Australia in 2016) and Macbeth (with Wiener Staatsoper in 2019).