Polish-born soprano Aleksandra Kurzak began her musical education at the age of 7, playing violin and piano.
She studied voice at the conservatories of Wrocław and Hamburg. Kurzak made her professional opera debut at the age of 21 at the Wrocław State Opera as Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro, in which she performed with her mother and teacher Jolanta Żmurko (cast in the role of Countess). The artist is a laureate of numerous singing competitions in Warsaw, Barcelona, Helsinki, Canton, and Hamburg. In 2009 she received a PhD in Music.
Between 2001 and 2007 Aleksandra Kurzak was a member of the ensemble of the Hamburg State Opera, where she sang numerous roles: Queen of the Night, Blonde, Susanna, Servilia, Marzelline (Fidelio), Nanetta (Falstaff), Ännchen (Der Freischütz), Gilda, Adèle, Gretel (Hänsel und Gretel), Maid (Powder her Face), Musetta, Cleopatra, Fiorilla (Il Turco in Italia), and Marie (La Fille du Régiment).
The year 2004 had Kurzak make her debut at The Metropolitan Opera in the role of Olympia in Les Contes d’Hoffmann. The same season she also debuted at the Royal Opera House-Covent Garden as Aspasia in Mitridate, Re di Ponto. The artist returned to the Met, singing Blonde in Entführung aus dem Serail and Gilda in Rigoletto. Since her first London appearance, Kurzak has returned regularly to the Royal Opera House, where she has performed roles of Norina (Don Pasquale), Adina (L’elisir d’amore), Susanna, Matilde (Matilde di Shabran), achieving a real triumph on this stage and most recently Donna Fiorilla (Turco in Italia) and Rosina (Il Barbiere di Siviglia), Gilda and the title role in Lucia di Lammermoor.
In February 2010 the coloratura soprano made her debut at the Teatro alla Scala in the role of Gilda and then as Susanna and Adele in Le Comte Ory.
Other opera theatres accross the globe where Kurzak has performed include: the Staatsoper in Berlin (Queen of the Night), Teatro Regio in Parma and Théâtre du Capitole in Toulouse (Gilda), Bavarian State Opera in Munich (Cleopatra, Adele, Rosina, Fiorilla), Vienna State Opera (Rosina, Adina, Susanna, Marie, Gilda, Violetta), Teatro Regio in Torino (Violetta), Teatro Massimo in Palermo (Norina), Teatro Massimo di Bellini in Catania (concert with arias by Bellini), Teatro Real in Madrid (Susanna, Marie), Lyric Opera House in Chicago (Blonde), Salzburg Festival (concert arias by Mozart, Ännchen and Donna Anna), Arena di Verona (Rosina, Juliette, Gilda, Verdi-Gala), Los Angeles Opera (Fiordiligi), San Francisco Opera (Gilda), Palau de les Arts in Valencia (Adina), Mozart Festival in A Coruña as well as at the Welsh National Opera in Cardiff (Aspasia) and at the Theater an der Wien (Donna Anna and Amenaide), Finnish National Opera (Gilda), National Opera in Warsaw (Gilda, Violetta) and Teatro La Fenice (Donna Anna), Opernhaus in Zurich (Gilda, Norina, Nedda), Opera de Paris (Adina) and Lucia in Seattle Opera (Lucia).
Throughout the course of her already rich career, Kurzak has collaborated with many well known conductors including Ivor Bolton, Bruno Campanella, James Conlon, Sir Andrew Davis, Christoph von Dohnanyi, Riccardo Frizza, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Richard Hickox, René Jacobs, Nicola Luisotti, Sir Charles Mackerras, Alessandro de Marchi, Ingo Metzmacher, Daniel Oren, Antonio Pappano, Carlo Rizzi, Ralf Weikert, and Simone Young.
Aleksandra Kurzak has an exclusive recording contract with the prestigious DECCA label, with whom she recorded her debut album Gioia! in 2011. Katherine Cooper gave her thumbs up in a review of the debut for Presto Classical:
First up is a recital debut disc from a young Polish soprano, Aleksandra Kurzak, who’s making quite an impact in the world’s major opera houses of late. From the glimpse we get of her sensual, witty Susanna on this disc it’s easy to see why: every ounce of the feline charm (...) comes across on record, and she’s as compelling in the simple phrases of Deh, vieni as she is in the bravura showpieces which dominate the rest of the disc. Her diamantine soprano sits so high that it actually confused my sense of pitch on several occasions (‘surely that can’t have been a high D?!’) but there’s not so much as a hint of shrillness even at the very top of the voice: her warm middle register has a mellowness and body which isn’t normally associated with coloratura sopranos and she never lapses into the generic arch mannerisms which can sometimes creep into these roles (...)
Following years brought further records: Bel Raggio with Rossini’s arias, Hej, Kolęda (which features Polish Christmas carols), Pieśni Fryderyka Chopina recorded for The Fryderyk Chopin Institute and awarded with prestigious Diapason d’or recommendation, Rigoletto (DVD, 2015), Szymanowski (CD, 2016), Quo Vadis (CD, 2016), Massenet: La Navarraise (CD, 2018), and Puccini in Love (CD, 2018) - the last two were recorded together with Kurzak’s husband Roberto Alagna. In 2015, Polskie Wydawnictwo Muzyczne published Aleksander Laskowski’s book Si, Amore: Aleksandra Kurzak – a collection of interviews with the artist.
Following her debut performance in Seattle, the young soprano was announced winner of the 2010/2011 Artist of the Year by Speight Jenkins. Said Jenkins:
Aleksandra Kurzak gave us one of the great Lucias of my life, vocally and dramatically. She suggested Lucia's condition and both acted and sang her madness with unforgettable panache.
According to the Seattle Opera blog, Polish soprano Kurzak blew audiences away and earned rave reviews from critics, who called her “a determined young woman of considerable talent,” and said she “set the theater alight both vocally and dramatically.”
In 2015, she was rewarded the International Opera Award from readers of Opera Magazine and Bachtrack Opera Award as the best female singer of the season for her Donna Fiorilla in Royal Opera House. Later that year she was decorated with Golden Cross of Merit by the Polish president. In 2018, she was awarded the Golden Gloria Artis Medal.
Source: www.aleksandrakurzak.com, Seattle Opera Blog; updated: March 2019, MG.