Artist of the Week: Piotr Beczala
Polish Tenor Returns to Native Country for ‘Werther’By Francisco Salazar
(Credit: Emilie Brouchon)
This week the Polish National Opera will open a new production of Massenet’s “Werther” by Willy Decker. The production was originally set to open in May of 2020 but was canceled due to the coronavirus. Now the company has lined up an extraordinary group of soloists including Piotr Beczala, who returns to his country to sing one of his signature roles in a rare appearance.
Beczala is recognized as one of today’s greatest tenors in the world and one of the leading “Werther” interpreters. The tenor was originally scheduled to sing the role at the Metropolitan Opera in March before the world went into lockdown and all his performances were canceled. Now he will give the Polish community an opportunity to hear his acclaimed interpretation.
The tenor last sang the role at the Liceu in Barcelona in 2017 and Opéra de Paris in 2016 and even gave a historic encore at the Liceu. Critics raved about his interpretation stating, “‘Pourquoi me réveiller’ was the high point of an all-round memorable piece of tenor singing, which itself formed the centerpiece of a memorably excellent production.” They added, “He imparts a cavernous depth of feeling, his open voice is suffused with warmth and it’s huge. Just when you think he’s singing his heart out, Massenet’s lush score swells and Beczała finds an extra reserve to rise above it, the anguish-laden voice powering over the orchestral wave.”
While there will only be two performances On Oct. 8 and 10 by the star tenor at the Polish National Opera, the tenor will bring his interpretation to the Wiener Staatsoper, where he will perform in the acclaimed Andrei Serban production.
Beczala is also slated to sing the Italian singer in “Der Rosenkavalier” and the Prince in “Rusalka” in Vienna. He also returns to Zurich for a production of “Lucia di Lammermoor.”
Beczala is well known for his French interpretations and his album “The French Collection” can give audiences a taste of his expertise in the repertoire. The tenor also has two acclaimed recordings of “Lohengrin,” two recordings of “Rigoletto,” “Faust,” “Lucia di Lammermoor,” “Rusalka,” “Don Giovanni” and “La Traviata.”
Here is that historic “Werther.”
Here is an excerpt from “Manon.”