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Polish singer Ewa Podles as Julius Caesar
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Veni, Vidi, Vici, or Ewa Podleś in Seattle
By Ewa Poraj-Kuczewska

Posted March 11, 2007







This winter we have been very fortunate to have the chance to hear Ewa Podleś in the title role of George F. Handel’s Julius Caesar at Seattle Opera. This performance follows her previous Seattle successes in Bellini’s Norma, for which she earned Seattle Opera’s Artist of the Year award, and in Wagner’s Ring cycle. 

Ewa Podleś is recognized as the world’s foremost contralto with a very wide vocal range and great vocal agility. Her repertoire ranges from Baroque works to songs by Shostakovich, and her voice has been heard in the world’s best opera houses. Since her 1984 debut at the Metropolitan Opera, her engagements have included La Scala, Covent Garden, Deutsche Oper Berlin, and Carnegie Hall.   

The premiere of Julius Caesar at Seattle Opera was an exquisite production, due in a large part to the performance of the star, Ewa Podleś.  Her extraordinary contralto which can sound like a baritone and in moment reach a high C, once again amazed music critics as well as the audience.  “She came; she sung; she conquered”, wrote Melinda Bargreen from the Seattle Times about the legendary Polish singer, who dominated the stage like a true Roman emperor. 

How often does a Caesar lead his troops in the field, command respect in the palace, and sing of tender love -- each role sung in a befitting coloratura? The answer to this question is simple if Caesar is sung by a Polish diva Ewa Podleś whose brilliant and graceful performance at the Seattle Opera commanded the audience into submission...  (Leszek Chudziński)  

Among those who admired Ewa Podleś on Saturday, February 24, was a very special group of 50 people.  They came to the McCaw Hall to see Julius Caesar but also to support the Polish Studies Endowment.  The following day the same Polish-American group met Ewa Podleś at home of Koryn Rolstad, and everybody fell in love with the wonderful singer.  Truly intriguing on the stage, she has appeared equally fascinating in private.   

The opera with the associated reception was a very memorable feast for the senses.  On opening night of "Julius Caesar" the power of Ewa Podleś voice conquered our hearts as it transported us to ages past, not only to the age of Handel, but to that of the Roman Empire - we felt the love, envy, terror, and heartfelt pain...   The Sunday reception, graciously hosted by Koryn Rolstad and Polish Studies volunteers, warmed our hearts matching surely any "Patrician" gathering of days gone by.  (Marija Horoszowski) 

I came to the Opera for her voice, her elegance and presence, and I loved it. The next day at the luncheon in her honor, I loved seeing her walk in through the door in her stunning mink coat, all woman, all feminine grace, proud to be with all the Seattle Poles who adore her! (Teresa Malinowski). 

If there are moments in your life you feel chosen, a luncheon with the Diva is certainly one of them… I suppose most of us were heading to Koryn's studio with a similar, growing tension. I was increasingly intimidated, even repelled by the greatness of the opera Star… No doubt she surprised us all. Despite her radiance with power and charismatic personality she touched our hearts with her great generosity, warmth, ability to listen and actually being very approachable… Thank You so much Ms. Podleś for your generous gift of sharing your fame and talent with us. (Barbara Kowalewska)  

Ewa Podleś made us happy in many different ways and we are truly grateful for that.  She herself has been impressed with the Polish Studies Endowment and a creative effort of our community at the University of Washington. 

A successful event like a Luncheon with the Diva could not have happened without the financial support of our community.  Thank you very much for all your donations which will benefit the Polish Studies Endowment Fund.  In spring we will bring you more interesting events so visit us at .  Keep in mind that the future of Polish Studies at the University of Washington depends on you! 

If you would like to make a contribution, please make a check payable to UW Polish Studies and send it to:

University of Washington
Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures
M253 Smith Hall, Box 353580
Seattle, WA 98195-3580


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