Piotr Beczała, Tenor
Martin Katz, Piano
Piotr Beczała, Tenor
Martin Katz, Piano
DONAUDY Selections from 36 Arie di Stile Antico
·· "Vaghissima sembianza"
·· "Freschi luoghi, prati aulenti"
·· "O del mio amato ben"
WOLF-FERRARI "Quando ti vidi a quel canto apparire, Op. 12, No. 1
WOLF-FERRARI "Jo dei saluti ve ne mando mille," Op. 11, No. 2
WOLF-FERRARI "E tanto c'è pericol ch'io ti lasci, Op. 11, No. 3
WOLF-FERRARI "O sì che non sapevo sospirare," Op. 11, No. 4
TOSTI "Chi sei tu che mi parli" from Malinconia
TOSTI "L'ultima canzone"
SZYMANOWSKI Six Songs, Op. 2
KARŁOWICZ "Sometimes, When I Drowsily Dream"
KARŁOWICZ "On the Calm, Dark Sea," Op. 3, No. 4
KARŁOWICZ "Rust-Colored Leaves"
KARŁOWICZ "In the Calm of the Evening," Op. 3, No. 8
KARŁOWICZ "To a Sorrowful Girl," Op. 1, No. 1
KARŁOWICZ "Before Eternal Night," Op. 3, No. 6
KARŁOWICZ "The Enchanted Princess," Op. 3, No. 10
MONIUSZKO "Two Dawns"
MONIUSZKO "The Loom"
MONIUSZKO "Little Wild Rose"
MONIUSZKO "The Kraków Boy"
KARŁOWICZ "I Remember Quiet, Clear Golden Days," Op. 1, No. 5
KARŁOWICZ "The Most Beautiful Songs," Op. 4
DVOŘÁK "Songs My Mother Taught Me" from Gypsy Songs, Op. 55, No. 4
R. STRAUSS "Zueignung," Op. 10, No. 1
Event DurationThe printed program will last approximately two hours, including one 20-minute intermission.
At a Glance
In the last year of World War I, half French, half Italian composer Stefano Donaudy published 36 airs to words by his brother. We hear three of his lush songs, “antique” in their adherence to Romantic style.
In the first years of the 20th century, half German, half Italian composer Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari created two sets of rispetti, a Tuscan verse form of 6–10 lines. In many of these poems, a lover repeats and varies a compliment, endearment, curse, or reproach. The four selections on this program are—no surprise—all about love.
Ottorino Respighi, a leading member of the generazione dell’Ottanta (“generation of the 1880s”), is best known for his operas and orchestral tone poems, but he also composed beautifully evocative songs. Mists, rain, and snow fill three of the selections, while the other three tell of mourning for a beloved newly dead, a light kiss in the night, and Echo’s way of undoing love.
Paolo Tosti, who was voice teacher to Queen Victoria’s younger princesses, created a skillfully wrought type of salon song that has enjoyed popularity with singers and audiences from Enrico Caruso on. We hear three, including one to words by Gabriele D’Annunzio—a poet, seducer, and warrior in Mussolini’s Italy.
On the second half of the program, we hear works by three of the foremost song composers in 19th-century and early–20th-century Poland, beginning with the most recent: Karol Szymanowski, a member of the Young Poland period’s modernist group. His music was influenced by Wagner, Strauss, Scriabin, and Debussy, but has its own unique personality. We hear his six Op. 2 songs all on texts by another leading light of Young Poland: poet Kazimierz Przerwa-Tetmajer.
Mieczysław Karłowicz, who died tragically young in an avalanche, wrote songs in a style that bridges Romanticism and modernism. Songs of Eros and death, lost hopes, desire for nothingness, and—a bright note—assurance of spring’s return lead to a final fairy-tale ballad with a twist.
The first eminent composer in Romantic Polish art song was Stanisław Moniuszko, whose “domestic songbooks” were created for the home. In four of his songs, his tunefulness and love of Polish dance rhythms are on ample display, including one Polish variation on Goethe and Schubert’s immortal “Heidenröslein.”
Piotr Beczała is one of the most sought-after lyric tenors of our time and a constant guest in the world’s leading opera houses. The Polish-born artist is acclaimed not only for the beauty of his voice, but also for his ardent commitment to each character he portrays. In addition to his operatic work, he has sung many of the great choral and orchestral works with the world’s most distinguished orchestras and maestros.
Mr. Beczała’s 2017–2018 season begins in Barcelona at the Gran Teatre del Liceu with Un ballo in maschera. He then returns to the Vienna State Opera in his long-awaited role debut as Maurizio in Adriana Lecouvreur alongside Anna Netrebko in the title role; the Bayerische Staatsoper as Edgardo (Lucia di Lammermoor); and the Berlin State Opera as Rodolfo (La bohème). He will also appear in Carmen at the Vienna State Opera and Luisa Miller (as Rodolfo) at the Metropolitan Opera. Returning to the Zürich Opera House, Mr. Beczała headlines a revival of Werther and reprises his great success as Prince Sou-Chong in Das Land des Lächelns.
Mr. Beczała starts off his concert season with operetta gala performances in Baden-Baden, Budapest, and Cologne, and a gala concert at the International Music Festival Český Krumlov. He sings recitals at the Palais Garnier in Paris, National Theatre in Munich, and Schubertiade in Schwarzenberg, Austria.
Represented on numerous CDs, Mr. Beczała has recorded as an exclusive artist with Deutsche Grammophon since 2012 and released his first album, Heart’s Delight, in the spring of 2013. In 2012, he sang the New Year’s Eve concerts at the Semperoper Dresden, which were directed by Christian Thielemann and released on CD and DVD by Deutsche Grammophon. His latest recording for the label, The French Collection, was released internationally in 2015. A DVD of his stunning debut in the title role of Lohengrin (opposite Anna Netrebko as Elsa) was released internationally in 2017.
In 2014, Mr. Beczała was named Singer of the Year by ECHO Klassik.
One of the world’s busiest collaborators, Martin Katz has been in constant demand by the world’s most celebrated vocal soloists for four decades. In addition to Piotr Beczała, he has appeared and recorded regularly with Marilyn Horne, Frederica von Stade, Samuel Ramey, Karita Mattila, José Carreras, Cecilia Bartoli, Kiri Te Kanawa, Soile Isokoski, Kathleen Battle, and Lawrence Brownlee, to name a few. Season after season, the world’s musical capitals figure prominently in his schedule.
Mr. Katz is a native of Los Angeles, where he began piano studies at the age of five. He attended the University of Southern California and studied accompanying with its pioneer teacher, Gwendolyn Koldofsky. While still a student, he was given the unique opportunity to accompany the master classes and lessons of such luminaries as Lotte Lehmann, Jascha Heifetz, Pierre Bernac, and Gregor Piatigorsky.
In more recent years, conducting has also played a role in Mr. Katz’s career. He has partnered with several of his soloists on the podium for the orchestras of Houston; Washington, DC; Tokyo; New Haven; Miami; and the BBC. He has conducted staged productions of more than 20 operas for the Merola Opera Program, Pacific Music Festival, and University Opera Theatre in Ann Arbor.
A committed teacher, Mr. Katz has made his home at the University of Michigan for three decades, where he has served as chair of the School of Music’s program in collaborative piano. He has been a pivotal figure in the training of countless young artists—both singers and pianists—who work all over the world. Mr. Katz is also a regular guest at innumerable music schools and institutes throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe.
Mr. Katz is the author of a comprehensive guide to accompanying—The Complete Collaborator, published by Oxford University Press—which is widely regarded as the seminal textbook on this specialized subject.