Ewa Podleś (Polish pronunciation: [ˈɛva ˈpɔdlɛɕ]; born April 26, 1952) is a Polish coloratura contralto who has had an active international career both on the opera stage and in recital. She is known for the agility of her voice and a vocal range which spans more than three octaves.
Life and career
Podleś was born in Warsaw, Poland, and after studying at the Warsaw Academy of Music under Alina Bolechowska, made her stage debut as Rosina in Rossini's The Barber of Seville in 1975. She made her Metropolitan Opera debut on February 14, 1984, singing the title role in Handel's Rinaldo, but only for a few performances that year (from which only two were in the Met's house), and was notably absent from the Met for more than 24 years, since then pursuing her career elsewhere and performing regularly at many other opera houses in Europe and America. In 1996, she sang the part of the Marquise de Birkenfeld in Donizetti's La fille du régiment at La Scala, a performance which has been preserved on DVD. Her return to the Met took place on September 24, 2008, when she sang the role of La Cieca in Ponchielli's La Gioconda.
Though known mainly for her interpretation of Baroque works, Podleś's repertoire ranges from Handel's Giulio Cesare (Cesare) to songs by Shostakovich. She is a specialist in Russian works. However, the coloratura contralto roles (some of them trouser roles) in Rossini's operas have been central to her repertoire. Critics have noted the expressive power of her voice and her ability to cope with the florid singing demanded of Rossini's heroes and heroines. Her voice has a wide range, spanning more than three octaves and has been called a "force of nature".
Her recent performances include roles of La Cieca in La Gioconda, Bertarido in Handel's Rodelinda, the title role in Rossini's Tancredi, the title role in Handel's Giulio Cesare, Isabella in Rossini's L'italiana in Algeri, Erda in Wagner's Ring Cycle (at the Seattle Opera), Klytämnestra in Richard Strauss's Elektra (with the Canadian Opera Company), Madame de la Haltière in Massenet's Cendrillon (at London's Royal Opera House), and the title role in Rossini's Ciro in Babilonia (in the work's US premiere at the Caramoor International Music Festival in July 2012 and at the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro, Italy, in August 2012). Podleś was scheduled to sing Azucena in Verdi's Il trovatore at the Atlanta Opera in 2009, but withdrew.
- Airs Célebres (Handel, Vivaldi, Purcell, Gluck, and Marcello)
- Chopin: Mélodies with Abdel Rahman El Bacha
- Chopin: Songs with Garrick Ohlsson
- de Falla: El amor brujo with Krzysztof Penderecki
- Duets (Mendelssohn, Brahms, Schumann) with Joanna Kozlowska and Jerzy Marchwinski (piano)
- Gluck: Armide as La Haine with Marc Minkowski
- Gluck: Orfeo ed Euridice as Orfeo with Peter Maag
- Gluck: Orphée et Eurydice as Orphée with Patrick Preire
- Handel Arias from Rinaldo and Orlando with Constantin Orbelian
- Handel: Ariodante as Polinesso with Marc Minkowski
- Mahler: Symphony No. 2: "Resurrection" with Jean-Claude Casadesus
- Mahler: Symphony No. 3 with Antoni Wit
- Mozart: Requiem with Michel Corboz and L'Ensemble vocal et instrumental de Lausanne
- Offenbach: Orphée aux enfers as L'Opinion publique
- Penderecki: Seven Gates of Jerusalem with Kazimierz Kord
- Penderecki: Te Deum and Lacrimosa
- Ewa Podleś & Garrick Ohlsson Live
- Marta Ptaszynska: Concerto for Marimba; Songs of Despair and Loneliness
- Prokofiev: Alexandr Nevsky with Jean-Claude Casadesus
- Puccini: Il trittico with Bruno Bartoletti
- Respighi: Il Tramonto with Michel Nesterowicz
- Rossini Arias for Contralto with Pier Giorgio Morandi
- Rossini Gala with Wojciech Michniewski
- Rossini: Tancredi as Tancredi with Alberto Zedda
- Russian Melodies with Constantin Orbelian
- A Treasury of Polish Songs with Ewa Pobłocka
- Handel: Giulio Cesare in Egitto as Cornelia from Barcelona Opera
- Donizetti: La fille du régiment as Marquise de Birkenfeld
- Ponchielli: La Gioconda as La Cieca from Barcelona Opera
- Rossinii: Ciro in Babilonia as Ciro from Pesaro Rossini Opera Festival
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- Polskie Radio (27 February 2012). "Partnerstwo: Ewa Podleś i Jerzy Marchwiński". Retrieved 30 January 2013 (Polish)
- Bresnal, Barry (May 2010). "Review: Donizetti: La Fille du régiment". Fanfare. Retrieved 30 January 3013 via HighBeam Research (subscription required).
- La Gioconda, Met Performance CID 352574, MetOpera database]
- Glass, Herbert (30 July 1995). "New Opera Recordings for a Song". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 30 January 2013.
- Midgette, Anne (16 October 1998). "A Voice as Rare in Type as in Beauty", The New York Times. Retrieved 30 January 2013.
- Silverman, Mike (28 October 2009). "Contralto Ewa Podles in Rossini: A force of nature". Associated Press. Retrieved 30 January 2013.
- Podleś' official site (in English and Polish)
- TheOperaCritic.com singer's page
- Interview at MusicalCriticism.com
- Interview at Culture Kiosque
- Midgette, Anne (21 October 2008). "The Elemental Power of Ewa Podles". The Washington Post