Recital in Memory of Alfredo Kraus

SpainSpain Verdi, Donizetti, Gounod, Massenet, Bizet, Moniuszko, Puccini, Piotr Beczala (tenor), Teatro Real Orchestra, Marc Piollet (conductor), Teatro Real, Madrid, 24.10.2014 (JMI)


Teatro Real has organized a series of events to mark the fifteenth anniversary of the death of Alfredo Kraus. The start of the commemoration was this concert with Piotr Beczała who, incidentally, has yet to make his debut in this house in a fully staged opera. I think Teatro Real made a sound decision with this recital since the Polish tenor is one the best examples today of what Alfredo Kraus was, although some roles that Mr. Beczala has recently added to his repertoire never entered into Alfredo Kraus’s.

Piotr Beczała has some aspects in common with Alfredo Kraus, among them his elegance, phrasing and demeanour on an opera stage. As was the case with the unforgettable Alfredo Kraus, Mr. Beczala has both the recognition and the admiration of true opera lovers, but he is mostly unknown to the general public.

Theconcert was brilliant, and Piotr Beczala was generous with his art, especially compared with recent concerts by some of hiscolleagues. The last recital I attended consisted of the divo singing three arias in each of the two parts of the concert. Not this time.Piotr Beczała sang four arias-and not easy ones  -in the first halfand five more in the second half.

The concert was a clear success for Mr. Beczała. Not everything he sang had the same exceptional quality, but some of the pieces were truly outstanding, and among them I would point out three (which is not a small number indeed). First, there was the aria from Werther, “Pourquois me reveiller.” I remember hearing Beczała as Werther in Munich a few years ago, and I truly loved his performance. I don’t know why he doesn’t perform Werther more frequently. To my surprise he included here the aria from Massenet’s Le Cid, “O souverain, o juge o père,” and he was at his best in a very moving interpretation. Finally, I cannot fail to mention “Cisza dokola” from The Haunted Manor by Stanislaw Moniouszko. For me, he was absolutely sublime.

In the first part of the concert he sang “Di tu se fedele” from Un Ballo in Maschera, where he had the merit of not avoiding the difficult low notes, so often suppressed by his colleagues. He was also excellent at “Tombe degli’avi miei.” He was quite good, but not exceptional, in “Ah Leve toi soleil” from Romeo et Juliette.

In the second half, he performed Don Jose’s aria which was quite good but not exceptional. Faust’s “Salut demeure chaste et pure” bordered on perfection. Finally, he sang a good version of “E lucevam le stelle.

For encores he offered a brilliant interpretation of “Dein ist mein herz ganzes” from Das Land des Lächelns by Franz Lehar, and ended with “Catari, Catari Core Ingrato” which he dedicated to his wife, Catalina, in celebration of their wedding anniversary.

Conductor Marc Piollet and the orchestra offered too much volume.

 Teatro Real was at about 80% of capacity.


 José Mª. Irurzun


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