Ewa Podles (Contralto)
Born: 26th April 1952, Warsaw, Poland
Ewa Podleś was born in Warsaw in 1952, and is one of today’s most celebrated contraltos: endowed with a dark, almost baritonal voice of exceptional agility and a solid three-octave range, she has been described as ‘a voice as rare in type as in beauty’ (New York Times), ‘an interesting singer with a powerful personality’ (Gramophone), and ‘a force of nature’ (Associated Press).
Podleś studied in Warsaw and made her operatic debut as Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia in 1975, and her Metropolitan Opera in 1984 as Handel’s Rinaldo; Handel accounts for a substantial part of her repertoire (she is particularly acclaimed as Giulio Cesare and the villainous Polinesso in Ariodante, which she sings on Marc Minkowski’s 1997 recording on DG Archiv opposite Anne Sofi von Otter), though she is also in demand for Rossini (particularly seria trouser-roles such as the title-roles in Tancredi and Ciro in Babilonia) and comic character parts including wicked stepmother Madame de la Haltière in Massenet’s Cendrillon and the Marquis de Birkenfeld in Donzetti’s La fille du régiment.
Her discography includes a recital of Chopin, Rachmaninov, Mussorgsky and Tchaikovsky with Garrick Ohlsson on Wigmore Hall Live (‘a healthy reminder that power and passion still have their part in memorable Lieder performances’ – BBC Music Magazine), a disc of Russian operatic arias with Constantine Orbelian and the Philharmonia of Russia on Delos, and Prokofiev’s Alexander Nevsky on Naxos.