Ewa Podleś is widely recognized as the most authentic contralto of her generation by Opéra International, Orpheus, Gramophone, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The San Francisco Examiner, Opera News and The Financial Times due to the specific colour, huge range and agility of her voice. Thanks to her distinctive, dramatic voice of staggering range and unique vocal abilities, her extensive opera and concert repertoire spans from the Baroque to the present.
Since her Metropolitan Opera debut in 1984, she has been in a select group of artists who appear regularly in the most prestigious opera houses and concert halls including La Scala, the Metropolitan, San Francisco Opera, Covent Garden, Théâtre du Châtelet, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Teatro Liceo, Teatro Real, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, London’s Wigmore Hall, Théâtre des Champs Elysées, and the Warsaw Philharmonic Hall.
In the course of the last few seasons she sang La Cieca (Ponchiell’s Gioconda) at the Met and in Barcelona; Klytaemnestra (R. Strauss’s Elektra) in Warsaw, Toronto, Nicea, Katowice; Azucena (Verdi’s Il trovatore) in Toronto and Poznań; Caesar (Handel’s Julius Caesar) in San Diego; Ciro (Rossini’s Ciro in Babilonia) at the Caramoor Summer Music Festival in New York and the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro; Tankred (Rossini’s Tankred) in Warsaw, Madrid and Boston; Isabella (Rossini’s L’italiana in Algiers) in Gdańsk; The Marquise de Berkenfield (Donizetti’s La fille du régiment) at Covent Garden, Huston, San Diego and Madrid; The Princess (Puccini’s Suor Angelica) in San Francisco and La Coruña; Mistress Quickly (Verdi’s Falstaff) in Bilbao, Munich and Stockholm; Countess (Tchaikovsky’s Queen of Spades) in Barcelona and Monte Carlo; Madame de la Haltière (Massenet’s Cendrillon) in Paris, London, Barcelona, Luxembourg and Saint-Etienne; Jažibaba (Dvorak’s Rusalka) in Monte Carlo; Erda (Wagner’s Das Rheingold and Siegfried) in Barcelona; Grandma (Prokofiev’s The Gambler) in Monte Carlo.
At the same time she gave numerous concerts at such venues as Avery Fisher Hall, New York; Wigmore Hall, London; Berlin, Hannover, Madrid, Barcelona, Moscow, Quebec, Warsaw (jubilee concert at the Teatr Wielki), festivals in Pesaro, San Sebastian and Schleswig-Holstein, and many other locations across Poland, Europe and America. She leads highly successful masterclasses.
Ewa Podleś has recorded numerous CDs and DVDs, many of which received prestigious awards, including Diapason d’Or, multiple Orphée d’Ors (most recently in 2015), Preis der Deutschen Schallplatten Kritik, Grand Prix de l’Académie Française du Disque, and multiple Fryderyk Awards. Most recently she has sung on DVDs featuring Ponchielli’s Gioconda in Barcelona (La Cieca), Massenet’s Cendrillon at Covent Garden (Madame de la Haltière), Tchaikovsky’s Queen of Spades in Barcelona (Countess), and a Russian song recital with Garrick Ohlsson in Warsaw.
She is a recipient of the Dora Mavor Moore Award, Złote Berło, Andrzej Hiolski Award, Kosciuszko Foundation Award, Gran Teatre del Liceu Foundation Gold Medal, a Russian Presidential Medal for promoting Russian culture, Commander’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta, Gloria Artis Medal for Services to Culture. Classic FM Magazine has included her among ten best mezzos of the first decade of the twenty-first century, while Operaarts.com named her one of 100 operatic legends of the last half-century. In 2015 French author Brigitte Cormier published the book Ewa Podleś – Contralto Assoluto (Edition Symétrie).
Ewa Podleś is a native of Warsaw, Poland. She studied vocal performance with professor Alina Bolechowska at the Fryderyk Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw. She is a winner of many international competitions, including The Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. She resides in Warsaw.
(photo: Andrzej Świetlik)