|Piotr BECZALA, Tenor
Piotr Beczala* is acknowledged as one of the most vocally exciting, impressive, and sought-after lyric tenors of our time. The Polish-born artist is repeatedly acclaimed by audiences and critics alike for not only the beauty of his voice, but also for his ardent commitment to each character he portrays.
Mr. Beczala's 2011-12 season finds the tenor in many of the world's music capitals, beginning in Switzerland with the company which has long-served as his artistic home, the Zürich Opera, where he is initially heard as the Duca di Mantova in Rigoletto (Sep. 14-22) with Diana Damrau and Leo Nucci; three subsequent company engagements follow in the spring. For his first time at the Gran Teatre de Liceu he participates in concert performances of Faust (Oct. 7-28); Krassimira Stoyanova and Erwin Schrott share the spotlight. At the Royal Opera, Covent Garden he appears as Alfredo in La traviata, with Ailyn Pérez and Simon Keenlyside co-starring (Nov. 25m-Dec. 20). He rings out the old year with a pair of New Years' Eve all-Lehár concerts at Dresden's Semperoper with Christian Thielemann leading the Sächische Staatskappelle (Dec. 30-31). These performances will be televised and released in CD and DVD formats by Deutsche Grammophon (Scheduled for a February '12 release).
Mr. Beczala starts 2012 by appearing as Il Duca di Mantova in Rigoletto at Paris' Opéra Bastille opposite Nino Machaidze and Željko Lu?i? (Jan. 27- Feb.23). Audiences at the Metropolitan Opera will be treated to his first time singing the Chevalier des Grieux in a new Laurent Pelly production of Manon, with Anna Netrebko as the work's eponymous heroine; Fabio Luisi conducts (Mar. 26-Apr. 23). The matinee performance of April 7 will be seen in movie theaters throughout the U.S. and in over 50 countries as part of the Met's "Live in HD" series, and will subsequently be released in DVD format and shown on public television networks worldwide. He gives his first U.S. recital in Santa Monica, California as part of the Eli & Edythe Broad Stage series, accompanied by pianist Brian Zeger (Apr. 28). Returning to the Zürich Opera, audiences have the opportunity to see him in three contrasting capacities: as a soloist for a concert featuring some of Richard Strauss' orchestral songs conducted by Christoph von Dohnányi (May 7); as Gustavo/Riccardo in Un ballo in maschera (May 17-31); and as Rodolfo in La bohème (Jun. 5-10). In the season's remaining months he performs twice in Salzburg, first as part of the Festival's Whitsun/Pfingsten offerings, singing the Brahms cantata Rinaldo with Sir John Eliot Gardiner leading the orchestra of the Bayerischer Rundfunk (May 28). Shifting to the Austrian capital, he rejoins Diana Damrau, this time in the Wiener Staatsoper's Lucia di Lammermoor (Jun. 20-30), before returning to Salzburg for the summer Festival's new Damiano Michieletto production of La bohème (Aug. 1-23) with Ms. Netrebko as Mimì and Daniele Gatti wielding the baton. The first night will be beamed in HD to movie theaters and will subsequently receive a DVD release (Universal).
Piotr Beczala was born in Czechowice-Dziedzice in Southern Poland and received his initial vocal training at the Katowice Academy of Music, where he was given instruction by such illustrious singers as Pavel Lisitsian and Sena Jurinac. His first engagement was at the Landestheater Linz and in 1997 he became a company member of the Zürich Opera, a distinction he still enjoys. During that time he appeared in a wide array of lyric roles, providing an excellent foundation for his subsequent development into the major artist he is today.
The period between 2004 and 2006 became particularly noteworthy, as it saw him rise to international prominence, beginning with his debuts at Covent Garden (Der Rosenkavalier/Apr. '04), where he was subsequently seen and heard in Faust, Rigoletto, Eugene Onegin, the Verdi Requiem, La bohème, Roméo et Juliette and La traviata) and his U.S. debut at the San Francisco Opera (Eugene Onegin/Nov. '04, followed by Die Zauberflöte and La bohème). La Scala welcomed the tenor in 2006 in Rigoletto (preceded by a 1997 orchestral concert led by Riccardo Muti) and the Metropolitan Opera also opened its doors to him that year (Rigoletto/Dec. '06, followed by reengagements in Lucia di Lammermoor [HD relay, subsequently released on DVD], Eugene Onegin, La bohème, Roméo et Juliette). He accompanied the Met on its post-tsunami tour of Japan (June '11) for performances as Rodolfo, Edgardo and in an all-star concert at Suntory Hall. Since that time he has also made appearances at: De Nederlandse Opera, Théâtre de la Monnaie/de Munt, Staatsoper Hamburg, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Deutsche Staatsoper, (Unter den Linden), Grand Théâtre de Genève, Teatro Comunale di Bologna, Teatr Wielki (Warsaw), and the Mariinsky Theater, among many others. In addition to his operatic work, he has sung many of the great choral and orchestral vocal works with the world's most distinguished orchestras and maestri.
His repertoire includes an array of the most popular romantic opera roles such as: Alfredo (La traviata), Duca di Mantova (Rigoletto), Riccardo (Un ballo in maschera), Edgardo (Lucia di Lammermoor), Rodolfo (La bohème), the title roles in Werther and Faust, Roméo (Roméo et Juliette, Lensky (Eugene Onegin) Tamino (Die Zauberflöte) , Don Ottavio (Don Giovanni) the Italian Singer (Der Rosenkavalier) and Camille de Rosillon (The Merry Widow) The newest parts to be added include des Grieux (Manon), as well as the eponymous hero of Les contes d'Hoffmann. Among the lesser-performed works he sings are: The Prince (Rusalka), Vaudémont (Iolanta), Jeník (The Bartered Bride), the Shepherd (Król Roger), Synodal (Rubinstein's The Demon) and Orombello (Beatrice di Tenda).
Piotr Beczala's is represented on dozens of CDs in a vast array of works, ranging from staples of the repertory, including a live Faust from Vienna on Orfeo & La traviata from Munich on Farao (nominated for a 2008 Grammy Award), to such rarely-heard works as Szymanowski's Król Roger and Offenbach's Rheinnixen – both on the Accord label, and Johann Strauss II's Simplicius on EMI. Scheduled for release in February 2012 by Deutsche Grammophon is his New Year's Eve all-Lehár concert recorded live at Dresden's Semperoper with sopranos Angela Denoke and Ana Maria Labin; Christian Thielemann leads the Dresden Staatskapelle. Earlier this season a recording of Lucia di Lammermoor became available with Valery Gergiev leading his Mariinsky Opera forces on the Company's own label; Natalie Dessay is heard in the title-role.
Two solo aria CDs have appeared on the Orfeo label. "Salut," featuring French and Italian arias (2008), was followed by "Slavic Opera Arias," shining the spotlight on vocal gems by Borodin, Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Rachmaninoff, Moniuszko, ?ele?ski, Nowowiejski, Smetana and Dvo?ák. Opera News declared it #1 on its list of 2011's "Twelve Best Recital Discs" & it received Classica's coveted "Choc de l'anée 2011."
His DVD releases include a series of performances from the Zurich Opera including: Rigoletto, La traviata, Die lustige Witwe, Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Die Zauberflöte and Simplicius (all on Arthaus), as well as Don Giovanni (EMI). Also available are the Salzburg Der Rosenkavalier (TDK) and Don Giovanni (Decca); Lucia di Lammermoor from the Met (DG), Other recent DVD releases include the Beethoven Symphony No. 9 with Christian Thielemann leading the Wiener Philharmoniker (Unitel/C Major) and the Farewell Concert for the Wiener Staatsoper's longtime Intendant, Ioan Holender (DG), among many others.
* Pronounced [Pi-o-tor Bek-sha-wa]