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
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...
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.
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!
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
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
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
www.polishstudiesuw.org . 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
2007 All content property of European Weekly unless where otherwise