On This Day: 50 Facts About Piotr Beczala As He Turns 50

By Francisco Salazar

Polish tenor Piotr Beczala was born on this day, December 28, exactly 50 years ago. In celebration of the tenor’s big day, Operawire shares 50 facts about the operatic superstar.

  1. Piotr Beczala was born on Dec. 28, 1966.
  2. He is from Czechowice-Dziedzice in southern Poland.
  3. He studied under Sena Jurinac in Switzerland.
  4. He is married to Katarzyna Beczała.
  5. Beczala is known for choosing his roles wisely and pacing himself.
  6. He met Luciano Pavarotti twice in his career.
  7. Beczala has performed with Placido Domingo and Jose Carerras.
  8. He has sung operas in Italian, Czech, Russian, Polish, German and French.
  9. His first engagements were with the Linz State Theatre from 1992 to 1997, after which he became a regular member of Zurich Opera.
  10. Beczala made his debut at the Salzburg Festival in 1997 as Tamino Mozart’s “Die Zauberflote.”
  11. In 2002 he performed Bellini’s “La Sonnanbula” alongside Edita Gruberova. It was the role with the highest tessitura in his career.
  12. In November 2004, he made his San Francisco Opera and American debut as Lensky in “Eugene Onegin.”
  13. Beczała’s La Scala debut came in January 2006 as the Duke in “Rigoletto.”
  14. He made his Metropolitan Opera debut on Dec. 19, 2006 as the Duke.
  15. In 2007, Beczała was awarded the Munich Opera Festival Prize.
  16. In 2011 he accompanied the MET on a tour to Japan, singing Rodolfo in “La Boheme” and Edgardo in “Lucia di Lammermoor.”
  17. In 2012 Beczala made his role debut as Chevalier des Grieux in Laurent Pelly’s new production of “Manon,” alongside Anna Netrebko.
  18. In 2012 he celebrated his  20th stage anniversary with a concert at Theatre Wielki in Warsaw.
  19.  He sang the New Year’s Eve concerts at the Semperoper Dresden for two consecutive years in 2011 and 2012.
  20. In 2012/2013, Beczała reprised his role as the Duke in Michael Mayer’s new “Rat Pack” production of “Rigoletto” at the Metropolitan Opera.
  21. He opened the Metropolitan Opera House’s 13/14 season for the first time reprising the role of Lensky in “Eugene Onegin.”
  22. The tenor opened the 13/14 season at Teatro alla Scala for the first time, singing Alfredo in a new production of Verdi’s “La Traviata.”
  23. Beczała announced his refusal ever to appear in another production at La Scala after a hostile reception from the loggionisti on opening night.
  24. In 2014 he joined a spectacular group of colleagues for Le Concert de Paris, an annual concert event and celebration at the Eiffel Tower with an estimated live audience of more than half a million people.
  25. He made his Carnegie Hall Recital debut in 2015.
  26. Beczala sang Rodolfo in the final performances of John Copley’s La Bohème at the Royal Opera House.
  27. He sang his first Wagner Role on May 19, 2016 in “Lohengrin” at the Dresden SemperOper alongside Anna Netrebko.
  28. He has sung 53 performances at the Vienna State Opera since his debut.
  29. Beczala has sung 10 different roles at the Metropolitan Opera in 10 different operas. They include “La Boheme,” “Manon,” “Rigoletto,” “Romeo et Juliette,” “Eugene Onegin,” “Iolanta,” “Lucia Di Lammermoor,” “Un Ballo in Maschera,” “Faust” and “Rusalka.”
  30. Ever since his debut at the Metropolitan Opera he has been featured in six HD transmissions.
  31. The Polish tenor won the ECHO Klassik Award “Singer of the Year” in 2014 for his DVD of Verdi’s “Rigoletto” from the Metropolitan Opera.
  32. He is an exclusive artist of Deutsche Grammophon.
  33. He recorded three solo albums for the Orfeo label.
  34. He has 12 DVDs of fully staged operas.
  35. The tenor has a CD and DVD recording of Donizetti’s “Lucia di Lammermoor;” Natalie Dessay stars on the CD and Anna Netrebko stars on DVD.
  36. He has a CD and DVD recording of Dvorak’s “Rusalka;” he stars alongside Renee Fleming on the DVD and Camilla Nylund on the CD.
  37. His Alfredo in “La Traviata” is featured on DVD and CD; he is joined by Eva Mei on DVD and Anja Harteros on CD.
  38. He is featured on to DVD recordings of Mozart’s “Don Giovanni,” one from Salzburg and the other from Zurich.
  39. He is featured in two DVDs of “Rigoletto;” a production from “Rigoletto” and the Rat Pack production at the Met.
  40. To date, the tenor has only sung three Verdi Roles.
  41. He has only sung two Puccini Roles, Rodolfo in “La Boheme” and Rinuccio in “Gianni Schicchi.”
  42. Beczala will take part in the star-studded lineup of colleagues on the Met stage to celebrate the company’s 50th anniversary at Lincoln Center.
  43. He returns to to the Zurich Opera for a new production of of Léhar’s “Das Land des Lächelns.”
  44. He recorded two solo albums for Deutsche Grammphon.
  45. Beczala participated in the Metropolitan Opera’s Facebook Live.
  46. He will headline a New Years Eve gala with Sonya Yoncheva at Baden Baden.
  47. Vienna’s Haus Hofmannsthal celebrated his 50th birthday  with a special exhibit on the career of the star tenor and Vienna resident. The exhibit featured glimpses of his work on the stages of Linz, Vienna, New York, Tokyo, London, and beyond.
  48. 26,832 people follow him on Facebook.
  49. Beczala has over 10,000 followers on Instagram.
  50. I first saw Beczala in his breakout role at the Metropolitan Opera in Donizetti’s “Lucia di Lammermoor” alongside Diana Damrau in 2008.

Did we miss any other major facts about the tenor? Please add yours in the comments below!


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