Aleksandra Kurzak

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Aleksandra Kurzak
La Juive 8029-michelides cropped.jpg
Kurzak in La Juive at the Bavarian State Opera, June 2016
Born (1977-08-07) 7 August 1977 (age 42)
Alma materKarol Lipiński Academy of Music
Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hamburg
OccupationOpera singer (soprano)
Years active2000–present
Spouse(s)
Jacek Jaskuła
(m. 2000; div. 2010)

Roberto Alagna (m. 2015)
AwardsGold Cross of Merit (2015)
Gold Medal for Merit to Culture – Gloria Artis (2018)
Websitealeksandrakurzak.com

Aleksandra Kurzak (born 7 August 1977) is a Polish operatic soprano.

She had been successful in light lyric and coloratura soprano repertoire such as Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro, Gilda in Rigoletto, and Adina in L'elisir d'amore. From the early 2010s, she began taking up gradually heavier roles in bel canto and Verismo repertoire such as Violetta in La traviata, Lucia in Lucia di Lammermoor, and Desdemona in Otello. After her debuts at New York Metropolitan Opera and the London Royal Opera House in the 2004/05 season, she has been known to leading opera houses in addition to her native Poland.

Since her marriage with Roberto Alagna, the couple often appears together in concerts and opera productions.

Early life and education[edit]

Born in Brzeg Dolny and raised in Wrocław,[1] Kurzak is daughter to operatic soprano Jolanta Żmurko and horn player Ryszard Kurzak.[2] She began her musical studies at the age of 7, playing violin and piano.[3] She went to Karol Szymanowski Musical High School (Liceum Muzyczne im. Karola Szymanowskiego) studying in the violin class.[4] She turned to singing after graduation and started voice lesson just before the entrance of the academy with her mother, whom she still considers her primary teacher.[1][5][6]

During her studies at the Karol Lipiński Academy of Music from 1996 to 2000, Kurzak became soloist at the Wrocław Opera.[4] On 26 May 1999, she made her opera debut as Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro alongside her mother as the countess.[3][7] She won prizes in multiple competitions including: 1st prize in 1998 Stanisław Moniuszko Vocal Competition,[8] Prize for Young Talent in the 1999 Mirjam Helin Singing Competition,[9] and a Special Prize in 2000 Viñas Singing Contest.[10] She attributed her international debuts to the 2000 Operalia Competition although not having entered the final round due to being discovered by Peter Katona, the casting director of the Royal Opera.[1][5] After graduation, she pursued postgraduate studies at Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hamburg till 2004. She received a doctorate degree in music in 2009 and habilitated doctor's diploma in June 2016.[11]

Career[edit]

Opera[edit]

Kurzak joined the Young Artists' Programme of Hamburg State Opera in 2001. She became an ensemble member from the 2003/04 season.[12] During the years, she established a substantial repertoire of roles such as Gilda in Rigoletto, the Queen of the Night in Die Zauberflöte, Blonde in Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Adele in Die Fledermaus, Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro.[13] She also received critical recognition as Marzelline in Fidelio and Cleopatra in Giulio Cesare.[14][15]

She received international attention when she debuted at the New York Metropolitan Opera as Olympia in Les contes d'Hoffmann in December 2004,[16][17] and at the Royal Opera House as Aspasia in Mitridate, re di Ponto in July 2005.[18] She returned to the Royal Opera in the following seasons participating in several productions including Don Pasquale,[19] L'elisir d'amore[20] The Marriage of Figaro,[21] and Matilde di Shabran.[22] She also performed Gilda in Rigoletto at the Teatro Regio di Parma and Théâtre du Capitole,[23] Ännchen in Der Freischütz at the Salzburg Festival,[24] and Norina in Don Pasquale at the Teatro Massimo.[25]

In April 2008, she returned to the Metropolitan Opera as Blonde in Die Entführung aus dem Serail,[26][27] and in January 2009 as Gilda in Rigoletto,[28] a role she reprised at Warsaw Opera and Finnish National Opera.[29][30] She also brought performances as Blonde to Lyric Opera of Chicago in March, missing only the first performance due to laryngitis.[31] She portrayed Aspasia again at Palacio de la Ópera in A Coruña and Welsh National Opera.[32][33] and was featured in Don Giovanni as Donna Anna and Tancredi as Amenaide at Theater an der Wien.[34][35]

In February 2010, Kurzak made her debut at Milan's La Scala in Rigoletto.[36] She sang Violetta in La traviata for the first time at Warsaw also in February.[37] She debuted as Lucia at Seattle Opera in October[38][39] and was named 2010/11 Artist of the Year by the company for the performances.[40] She appeared at Los Angeles Opera as Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte in September 2011.[41]

In February 2012 she returned to the Royal Opera House as Susanna in McVicar's production of Le nozze, with Ildebrando D'Arcangelo as Figaro, Rachel Willis-Sørensen as the Countess and Lucas Meachem as the Count.[42] In April, she performed another Susanna at La Scala.[43]

In September 2013, Kurzak withdrew from Rigoletto in the Metropolitan Opera opening in November due to pregnancy. She was replaced by Irina Lungu and Sonya Yoncheva.[44]

In July 2014, she returned to La Scala as Adèle in Le comte Ory.[45]

In June 2015, she performed the title role in Maria Stuarda beside Carmen Giannattasio as Elizabeth I at Théâtre des Champs-Élysées[46] and debuted at the Paris Opera as Adina in Pelly's production of L'elisir d'amore in November.[47][48]

In March 2016, Kurzak returned to Adina in a Sher's production revival at the Metropolitan Opera to rave reviews.[49] She made several role debuts[50] including Rachel in La Juive at Bavarian State Opera,[51] Nedda in Pagliacci at Zürich Opera House,[52] Mimì in La bohème at Berlin State Opera.[53][54]

In July 2017 she debuted as Liù in Andrei Serban's production of Turandot with Roberto Alagna as Calàf and Lise Lindstrom as Turandot conducted by Dan Ettinger at the Royal Opera House.[55]

Concert and events[edit]

Kurzak was frequently featured in Carl Orff's Carmina Burana as the soprano soloist.[56][57][58][59] She was featured in the 2011 Napa Valley Festival del Sole[60][61] and was a guest performer at the 2012 Semperopernball.[62] In February 2015 she took part in Szymanowski's Stabat Mater with Ingo Metzmacher conducting Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin and Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra respectively at Berliner Philharmonie and Wiener Musikverein.[63][64]

Personal life[edit]

Kurzak married baritone Jacek Jaskuła[4] in 2000. They divorced after 10 years.[65] She married French tenor Roberto Alagna in November 2015.[66] They have a daughter, Malena,[a] who was born on 29 January 2014.[67]

  1. ^ Also spelled Malèna with grave accent especially in French articles

Awards and honours[edit]

Opera roles[edit]

Publications[edit]

  • Laskowski, Aleksander (2015). Si, Amore – Aleksandra Kurzak w rozmowie z Aleksandrem Laskowskim [Si, Amore – Aleksandra Kurzak in Conversation with Aleksander Laskowski]. Polish Music Publishing House. ISBN 978-8-3224-0960-2.[78]

Discography[edit]

Kurzak signed an exclusive contract with Decca Classics in January 2011, being the first-ever Polish singer to do so.[79] She was announced to have signed to Sony Classical in May 2018.[80][81] The Szymanowski album won the Album of the Year – Choral Music, Oratorio & Opera in the 2018 Fryderyk Award.[82]

Year Title Type Collaborating Artist(s) Label Peak chart positions Certifications
POL FRA
2009 Chopin: Songs Joint recital

Nelson Goerner
Mariusz Kwiecień

Fryderyk Chopin Society
2011 Gioia! Solo recital

Omer Meir Wellber
Orquestra de la Comunitat Valenciana

Decca Classics 8[84]
2012 Hej, kolęda! Solo recital

Sebastian Karpiel-Bułecka

Universal Music Poland 16[86]
2013 Bel Raggio: Rossini Arias Solo recital

Pier Giorgio Morandi
Sinfonia Varsovia

Decca Classics 50[87]
2017 Szymanowski Collaboration

Agnieszka Rehlis
Dmitry Korchak
Artur Ruciński
Jacek Kaspszyk
Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra & Choir

Warner Classics
2017 Nowowiejski: Quo Vadis Full work

Artur Ruciński
Rafał Siwek
Piotr Sułkowski
Warmia and Mazury Philharmonic Orchestra

Dux Records
2018 Massenet: La Navarraise Full work

Roberto Alagna
George Andguladze
Brian Kontes
Issachah Savage
Michael Anthony McGee
Alberto Veronesi
Opera Orchestra of New York
New York Choral Ensemble

Warner Classics
2018 Deliverance Single Roberto Alagna Deutsche Grammophon
2018 Puccini in Love Joint recital Roberto Alagna
Riccardo Frizza
Sinfonia Varsovia
Sony Classical 38[88]
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

References[edit]

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External links[edit]