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A special treat

MARIA NOCKIN enthuses over Ewa Podles' recent recital for San Diego Opera


On Saturday 15 November 2003, Polish contralto Ewa Podles gave her long awaited recital at the Sherwood Auditorium of San Diego's Museum for Contemporary Art in the USA.

She had been scheduled to appear there last May but had to cancel because she had broken her arm in an auto accident. She spent a good bit of time in the hospital after that, but by November she was again in good health and appeared radiant as she strode on stage swathed in a bright red gown with a silver diadem at her waist.

Ewa Podles. Photo courtesy Delos Recordings
Ewa Podles. Photo courtesy Delos Recordings

The hall was decorated with palm fronds and flowers and the top of the piano was open all the way in homage to the singer's huge voice. Ania Marchwinska, the contralto's step-daughter, was an impressive accompanist who played played fluently with great stylistic command.

The program opened with two arias by Antonio Vivaldi: 'Nel profundo mondo cieco' ('In the depths of this dark world') from his Orlando Furioso and 'Sposa, son disprezzata' ('I am scorned') from Il Bajazet. In the first aria Podles sang well articulated coloratura with ease deep into her plush low register ... In the second piece she portrayed the character's desperation with a constantly building crescendo that showed the dimensions of her voice.

In the final selection of Part I, Gioacchino Rossini's 'E notte e tutto addormentato' ('It is night and the world is asleep') from the cantata, Giovanna d'Arco, she kept her voice under perfect control as she acted out each phrase with dramatic colors, hitting a magnificent low note as she sang of the whispering wind.

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Copyright © 9 December 2003 Maria Nockin, Arizona, USA


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