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  • Carnegie Hall Presents
  • ZH Zankel Hall
  • SA/PS Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
  • REW Resnick Education Wing
  • WRH Weill Recital Hall

Piotr Beczała, Tenor
Martin Katz, Piano

Wednesday, February 28, 2018 8 PM Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
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Piotr Beczała by Anja Frers / DG and Martin Katz by Jeeheon Cho
Piotr Beczała has the kind of voice you want to hang medals on,” wrote Opera News. “Its luminosity makes many of his fellow lyric tenors, past and present, sound by comparison like flickering candlewicks.” An international opera star of the highest order, Beczała returns to Carnegie Hall for an evening of passionate, crowd-pleasing singing.

Part of: Great Singers I


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
RESPIGHI "Lagrime"
RESPIGHI "Stornellatrice"
RESPIGHI "Nevicata"
RESPIGHI "Pioggia"
TOSTI "L'ultima canzone"
TOSTI "Chi sei tu che mi parli" from Malinconia
TOSTI "Ideale"
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 "Little Wild Rose"
MONIUSZKO "The Kraków Boy"

Event Duration

The printed program will last approximately two hours, including one 20-minute intermission. 

At a Glance

Tonight’s program is a sampler of two repertoires off the beaten track: late-Romantic Italian song and Polish art song. With the latter, we have a rare opportunity to hear an exponent of this country’s distinctive music.

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.” 

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