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04-16-2007 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat

Boston, MA
Posts 10,076
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 1
Post ID: 4225
Reply to: 4225
My beloved Contraltos: kill sopranos.

I have admitted that I have some freakish affection to lover mirage “moments” in sound and the cellos concertos are my “specially” beloved concertos:


The very same goes with voices. The screechy sopranos are fine but like violins they might be annoying. Those contemporary irritating and exasperating sopranos with teenager singing mannerism (courtesy to Netrebco and alike) are good for cheap mass-market hype but not for the meaningful and evocative singing.

Here come my beloved contraltos…

The world is not spoiled with great contraltos and most of the contralto repertoire is in the second roles, or in the music that I do not care, but.... I would like them to sing everything – I just LOVE females that can have “substance” in their tone and who know now to use that “load” artistically.

A few years ago I discover Eva Podles and since then I’m a huge her admirer. I might not completely in beginning appreciate Eva's Slav inflection in her voice but then I went over it and even I trained my Koshka to meow “in tone” with Eva Podles’ marvels singing.

I would like to open a little audio secret to you. When in my past, in 2000-2002 I was in my compression drivers crazy research and when I was going through countless compression drivers my ultimate test was to cross a driver at 800Hz and let it to play Marian Anderson’s or Eva Podles recitals… A good contralto takes all that crappie radio apart…. It was exactly why everything is gone but the S2 is left to live in my Macondo…

So, Eva Podles. From the Delos site:

Beyond a distinctive voice of staggering range, agility and amplitude, the Polish contralto Ewa Podles sings with profound emotional commitment and a lieder singer's sensitivity to text. As comfortable with Mahler and Prokofiev as the breathtakingly florid music of Gluck, Handel, Vivaldi and Rossini, she is a true original, a "Golden Age" singer for our time. Her 2000-2001 season includes debuts with the Detroit Symphony (opening the season, Music Director Neeme Järvi conducting performances of Mahler's Second Symphony), Toronto Symphony (Prokofiev's Alexander Nevsky), Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra (a Gluck/Handel program conducted by Nicholas McGegan) and concert with Music of the Baroque in Chicago's Orchestra Hall. She also returns to Carnegie Hall for Handel Arias with the Moscow Chamber Orchestra under Constantine Orbelian (a program she has recorded with this ensemble for Delos); makes her Dallas Opera debut, as Erda in Wagner's Siegfried; sings her first-ever Mistress Quickly in Verdi's Falstaff at the Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin; and Cornelia in Handel's Giulio Cesare at the Gran Teatre del Liceu. In addition she will make a North American recital tour with the pianist Ania Marchwinska. In the 2001-2002 season she will sing the title role of Giulio Cesare for her Canadian Opera Company debut.

1999-2000 highlights include performances of Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde with the Philadelphia Orchestra (including one in New York's Carnegie Hall) and Ottawa's National Arts Centre Orchestra; Kindertotenlieder with Leon Botstein and the American Symphony Orchestra; and Third Symphony with Gerard Schwarz and the Seattle Symphony. In addition she performed Alexander Nevsky with the New World Symphony Orchestra in Miami Beach, Florida; offered her celebrated Rossini Arias for Contralto program with Constantine Orbelian and the Moscow Chamber Orchestra in the San Francisco Opera House; and gave recitals at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw as well as in Montreal, Philadelphia and New York. Opera engagements that season include the title role of Handel's Giulio Cesare in Oviedo, Spain; her first-ever Baba the Turk in Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress at Catania's Teatro Bellini and the title role of Rossini's Tancredi in Warsaw. The preceding season she made a hugely successful European tour (Paris, Birmingham, Vienna, Amsterdam) in the title role of Handel's Rinaldo with Christopher Hogwood and the Academy of Ancient Music; a unanimously acclaimed North American recital tour (including Washington, D.C., Cleveland, Toronto, and opening the "Art of the Song" series at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall); five Alexander Nevskys with the San Francisco Symphony under Libor Pes?e k; a virtuosic baroque program with Québec's Les Violons du Roy under its Music Director Bernard Labadie; the Rossini Arias for Contralto program with the Edmonton Symphony and the Moscow Chamber Orchestra under Constantine Orbelian, the latter her Carnegie Hall debut; Berlioz' La mort de Cléopâtre and arias from the Berlioz's version of Gluck's Orphée with Charles Dutoit and the Montreal Symphony; and Bradamante in Handel's Alcina at Barcelona's Gran Teatre del Liceu.

Mme. Podles' has sung her "signature" role of Rossini's Tancredi at La Scala and the Staatsoper Berlin (and on the Grammy-nominated Naxos recording); Arsace (Semiramide) at Venice's Teatro La Fenice; Handel's Rinaldo at New York's Metropolitan Opera and Paris' Théâtre Châtelet; Dalila in Saint-Saëns' Samson et Dalila at Paris' Opéra Bastille; and Ulrica in Verdi's Un Ballo in Maschera at Madrid's Teatro Real. She has also sung principal roles at the Frankfurt Alte Oper, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Vienna State Opera, Naples' Teatro San Carlo, Warsaw's National Theatre, the Rome, Budapest and Vancouver Operas. In addition she has been welcomed at the Aix-en-Provence, Flanders and Montpellier Festivals; as well as Canada's Festival International de Lanaudière. She has appeared with the Pittsburgh and NHK Tokyo Symphonies, Hong Kong and Dresden Philharmonics, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino Orchestra, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande and National Orchestra of Spain, under such conductors as Lorin Maazel, David Atherton, Gianluigi Gelmetti , Peter Maag, Myung-Whun Chung and Armin Jordan. Her many collaborations with Marc Minkowski and Les Musiciens du Louvre includes two Deutsche Grammophon recordings: Handel's Ariodante (winner of the coveted Diapason d'Or) and Gluck's Armide. Other recent issues include A Treasury of Polish Songs with pianist Ewa Pob»ocka, Respighi's Il Tramonto, two recordings of Gluck's Orfeo, Mahler #2 and #3, Alexander Nevsky, and a unanimously acclaimed all-Rossini disc, awarded the prestigious Preis der Deutschen Schallplatten Kritik. An especially renowned interpreter of Russian song, her widely acclaimed Mélodies Russes CD with pianist Graham Johnson earned the Grand Prix de L'Académie Française du Disque. An altogether riveting recitalist, Mme. Podles' has offered programs at London's Wigmore Hall, Paris' Salle Gaveau, Théâtre de l'Athénée and Théâtre des Champs Elysées, Moscow's Bolshoi Theatre and San Francisco's Herbst Theater. Recently Mme. Podles' began collaborating with the renowned pianist Garrick Ohlsson, including on a forthcoming Arabesque recording of Chopin songs. Among the international publications in which she has been profiled are The New York Times, Orpheus, Opera News and The Wall Street Journal.

Eva has a web site:


and here her page at OperaCritic:


I own whatever Eva ever released and I juts wish it was more…

Rgs, Romy the Cat

"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
10-24-2009 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat

Boston, MA
Posts 10,076
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 2
Post ID: 12051
Reply to: 4225
"When Ewa Podles sings, people listen."
Ewa Podles in Boston this week in Rossini’s opera “Tancredi.’’ To celebrate Ms. Podles arrival in Boston I bought last week a couple of her live CDs with Russian and Chopin repertoire.  Love her voice, even some of Garrick Ohlsson’s accompaniments were not up to my expectations.

Her voice is commanding, and so is her presence

Renowned Polish contralto takes on role of Tancredi

When Ewa Podles sings, people listen. Her rare contralto voice, the lowest female variety, grabs the audience right by the ears, with its chocolate-rich intensity, androgynous depth, and throbbing, smoky pulse.

But the seductive vocal instrument Podles has been wielding in the world’s great opera houses for decades now is only part of the story. Onstage, this proudly Polish diva from Warsaw takes command like the general of an army. Her commitment to any role, be it the earth-goddess Erda in Wagner’s “Ring’’ cycle or Julius Caesar in Handel’s “Giulio Cesare,’’ is so total as to be terrifying. Some critics have even advised listeners to fasten their seat belts when she makes an entrance.

This week, Ewa Podles (pronounced EH-va POD-lesh) makes her long-awaited and long-overdue operatic stage debut in Boston, in a role for which she has received particular acclaim: the title character in Gioachino Rossini’s opera “Tancredi.’’ Presented by Opera Boston and directed by Kristine McIntyre under the baton of Gil Rose, the production will have three performances beginning Friday evening at the Cutler Majestic Theater.

During a break from rehearsals just a few days after arriving from Warsaw (“I’m still so jet-lagged and last night I didn’t sleep at all’’), Podles granted a wide-ranging and lively interview. She speaks English well, but occasionally searched for the word she wanted in French, which she learned while living in France for a few years in the late 1980s.

With one of her dazzling smiles, Podles confessed that one reason she enjoys appearing as the heroic but tragic male lead, Tancredi, was that “I love to die on stage.’’

Actually, the commercially savvy Rossini composed two endings for “Tancredi.’’ One is happy (Tancredi lives and gets the girl) and one sad (he dies). Both were originally staged in the same year, 1813, the happy one for Venice and the sad one for Ferrara. Podles, not surprisingly, prefers the tragic version for its greater interpretive possibilities. “Sometimes, for a non-staged concert version, I will do the happy ending,’’ she confided. “Because how do you die while sitting on a chair?’’

Like many of Podles’s favorite roles, Tancredi is a macho man. As a female opera singer with a very low voice (contralto, also known as alto), Podles has made a specialty of so-called “pants roles’’ that call for women to portray men. The resulting gender confusion produces a calculated and fascinating artificiality, used to considerable theatrical and musical effect by Mozart and later by the masters of the so-called “bel canto’’ style, such as Rossini, Donizetti, and Bellini.

In the opera’s libretto, adapted from a 1760 tragedy by Voltaire, Tancredi is a fearsome warrior and ruler, exiled from the Sicilian city of Syracuse around 1000 A.D. He has been sent away mysteriously by his beloved Amenaide (a soprano), who fears that he will be slain by enemy armies. In Act I of the opera, Tancredi returns, singing the beautiful aria “Di tanti palpiti’’ (“After so much heartache’’), now something of a signature piece for Podles. Complications ensue. Although Amenaide loves Tancredi, her father wants her to marry a rival for political reasons. And a love letter Amenaide has sent to Tancredi goes astray, leading Tancredi to believe she is really in love with the Moorish invader Solamir. At the end, after a furious battle, Tancredi is killed, but the people of Syracuse are saved.

It is precisely Tancredi’s nobility and pathos that appeal to Podles. “The role of Tancredi is vocally rather simple,’’ she says. “It doesn’t have all the elaborate ornamentation and cadenzas of the coloratura, of the role of Amenaide. I always say that the opera should really be called ‘Amenaide.’ But it is the character of Tancredi who brings tears to the eyes of the audience. In this role I can convey a message through words and expression. I can use the masculine color of my voice to its full effect. These days, after singing for so many years, I don’t like to show off by just singing coloratura, only to be calculating how to measure my breath or to fight over the tempo with conductors. As Tancredi, I can develop a character, and not just produce vocal tricks.’’

Podles suddenly launched into a convincing demonstration of the labors required to produce such vocal pyrotechnics, complete with heaving chest and furious inhaling and exhaling.

Wherever she appears these days, Podles tends to steal the show. Last season she returned to the stage of the Metropolitan Opera in New York for the first time in 24 years, in the small role of Cieca in Ponichelli’s “La Gioconda.’’ At the curtain call, Podles received by far the most enthusiastic ovation, leading her colleagues (she jokes) to grumble good-naturedly about her crazy fans and critics to lament her long absence from the Met.

That Podles is so comfortable on stage is hardly surprising. “I have spent all my life on stage, I feel there like a fish in water,’’ she says She was 3 when she appeared as the son (another pants role!) of Pinkerton and Cio-Cio San in a production of “Madama Butterfly’’ in a Warsaw opera house where her mother sang in the chorus. She did the part for more than a year, learning from her mother how to scream “Mama’’ to heartbreaking effect when she sees Cio-Cio San dying. The Cio-Cio San of that production was the renowned Polish soprano Alina Bolechowska. When years later Podles entered the Chopin Academy of Music to study voice, Bolechowska immediately recognized her as “Butterfly’s Baby’’ and took her on as a student, becoming what Podles calls “my first and last mentor.’’

Born in 1952, Podles grew up in a Warsaw still recovering from the nearly total devastation of World War II, with severe restrictions on foreign travel. Even if singers were invited abroad for competitions or engagements, they were often unable to go because the inefficient state bureaucracy was unwilling or unable to issue visas in time. “I was lucky, because I have lived into another era,’’ Podles says with some sadness in her voice. “But many wonderful Polish singers, Alina Bolechowska for example, remained unknown outside Poland because of the restrictions.’’

Money was another problem under communism, because the Polish currency was not freely traded on the international market. “We had lots of money, but there was nothing to buy except vinegar and mustard. My husband used to wait all night at the gas station to buy gas for the car.’’

These days, Poles can travel whenever and wherever they like. Podles says joyfully that “We can buy anything in Warsaw now.’’ During the short periods when she is not on tour, she loves to spend time at her house outside Warsaw with her husband, Jerzy Marchwinski, a pianist who accompanied her to Boston (“he is everything to me’’), their daughter (“thank God she is not a singer’’), and their 15-month-old grandson. She is already booked solid through the season of 2014.

Still going strong at an age when many singers have retired, Podles replies with a lusty “Who knows’’ to the question of when she’ll stop. Contraltos are fortunate because the natural aging process for voices generally brings them lower. “I never damaged my voice,’’ she observed. “Now I’m ready to sing witches.’’ 

"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
10-25-2009 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat

Boston, MA
Posts 10,076
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 3
Post ID: 12055
Reply to: 12051
Ewa Podles interview.


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
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