Oscars Not Just for Ida: Vote for Polish Opera Singers
small, Oscars Not Just for Ida: Vote for Polish Opera Singers, Piotr Beczała, photo: Anja Frers / DG / Universal Music Polska, beczala piotr portret universal music polska 1_6905108.jpg
Three Polish opera singers – Piotr Beczała, Aleksandra Kurzak and Mariusz Kwiecień – have been nominated for the Readers' Award of the International Opera Awards, nicknamed the "Opera Oscars". Choosing the award’s laureate is now in the hands (and clicks) of the online public.
The International Opera Awards are presented by Opera Magazine, a periodical that has commented on the events of the opera houses of the world since the 1950s. The statuettes are presented to finalists in a number of categories, including conductors, directors, male and female singers, new productions and rediscovered operas. Each year, an audience award is also presented; this year, three Polish singers have been nominated in this category. Beczała, Kurzak and Kwiecień have been present in the opera world for years; but what did they achieve in 2014 to earn the nomination?
Vote for the "Opera Oscars'” nominees on the Opera Awards 2015 website.
Among other venues, Piotr Beczała performed in New York (as the prince in Dvořák’s Rusalka), Salzburg (Rossini’s Stabat mater) and Vienna (in Rusalka, Verdi’s Requiem and Rigoletto, again as the prince). His recitals were staged in Graz, Vienna, Salzburg, Budapest, Katowice, Amsterdam (with Diana Damrau and her husband Nicolas Testé – a bass-baritone singer) and Paris (with Bulgarian soprano Sonia Yonchewa).
Listening to Piotr Beczala live is quite simply unforgettable. The Polish tenor is such a generous performer and his voice is so utterly seductive: rich and full-bodied, powerful and luminous, with golden ringing high notes.
– wrote Nicolas Nguyen in his review of the Amsterdam concert for Bachtrack.com
Piotr Beczała was wonderful as the Prince, his tenor elegant and impassioned
– commented Zachary Woolfe of the New York Times on the Rusalka performance in the Metropolitan Orchestra.
The audience admired Aleksandra Kurzak’s performances at La Scala (in Rossini’s Le comte Ory in the role of the Countess), in London’s Covent Garden (where she performed the role of Gilda in Verdi’s Rigoletto), in the Teatro Real of Madrid (where she played Maria in Donizetti’s The Daughter of the Regiment) and at the Metropolitan Opera in New York (where she performed the role of Gretel in Engelbert Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel). Kurzak also accompanied French singer Roberto Alagan on the Ma vie est un opera record, released by the Deutsche Grammophon record label.
Here is how Michael Church from The Independent reported on the Rigoletto premiere at the MET:
Aleksandra Kurzak’s debut as Gilda is sensational: hitherto we’ve known this Polish soprano as a consummate comedienne, but this is a revelation. Every gesture and every note is convincing, and there’s no vanity in her coloratura, just the most delicate beauty; her ecstatic reverie Caro nome has a breath-taking perfection.
Mariusz Kwiecień completely devoted himself to Mozart during his last year’s preparations for the role of King Roger at the Royal Opera House in London. He performed in Don Giovanni (in Chicago and London) and in The Marriage of Figaro (in New York).
His unpredictability is truly fascinating. He’s not just the perfect lover. The opera shows the autumn of his life. There’s barely any of his strength and energy remaining. Each attempt of a conquest fails. Bored and tired of his life, searching for excitation, he gives himself away to death.
– said Mariusz Kwiecień about his favorite opera role (Don Giovanni) in an interview with Jacek Hawryluk
The 2015 jury includes John Allison (the editor of Opera magazine and critic for The Sunday Telegraph), Hugh Canning (The Sunday Times), Sir Peter Jonas (Artistic Director of the Bavarian State Opera) and Fiona Maddocks (a classical music critic from The Observer). The awards will be presented on 26th April in The Savoy hotel and theatre in London.