Vincerò! (2020)

Puccini, Leoncavallo, Giordano, Mascagni, Cilea

Piotr Beczala

Marco Boemi

Heart-Wrenching Verismo Arias

On April 24, 2020, NativeDSD teamed up with Pentatone to release a DSD Single of ‘Nessun Dorma' the world-famous tenor aria from Puccini’s last opera Turandot with star tenor Piotr Beczala. It provided our listeners with a tasty sneak preview of Beczala's upcoming album on Pentatone.  Now we are proud to bring you the full album in Stereo DSD (up to DSD 512), Multichannel DSD (up to DSD 256), and Stereo and Multichannel DXD.

Global star tenor Piotr Beczala presents Vincerò!, the first fruit of his exclusive collaboration with Pentatone. Vincerò! is a collection of heart-wrenching opera arias by Puccini, Mascagni, Leoncavallo, Giordano and Cilea.

For Beczala, this recording documents his vocal transition from the lyrical tenor repertoire to the more dramatic roles of Verismo. It marks a significant new chapter in his stage career. Beczala is accompanied by the Cor de la Generalitat Valenciana and the Orquestra de la Comunitat Valenciana, led by maestro Marco Boemi; an extraordinary singer's conductor who has worked with the greatest vocalists of our age.

Piotr Beczala has the kind of voice you want to hang medals on. Its luminosity makes many of his fellow lyric tenors, past, and present, sound by comparison like flickering candlewicks. Beczalas clarity and cleanliness of tone are the essences of his appeal. (Opera News Awards, 2015)

 

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Piotr Beczala

Piotr Beczala is one of the most sought-after tenors of our time and a constant guest in the world’s leading opera houses. The Polish-born artist is acclaimed by audiences and critics alike not only for the beauty of his voice but also for his ardent commitment to each character he portrays.

Piotr Beczala´s 2016-17 season featured returns to Chicago, New York, Berlin, Barcelona, Vienna, Zürich, and beyond. Following a recital with San Diego Opera, Piotr encores his signature portrayal of Edgardo in a new-to-Chicago production of Lucia di Lammermoor at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. From there, he headed to New York for a revival of La Bohème at the Metropolitan Opera. He also joined a star-studded lineup of colleagues on the Met stage to celebrate the company’s 50th anniversary at Lincoln Center. Rodolfo in Puccini’s bohemian masterwork is also the vehicle for Piotr’s return to the Deutsche Oper Berlin.

Piotr Beczala was also heard in Barcelona with a revival of Massenet’s Werther at the Gran Teatre del Liceu paired with a recital at the city’s Palau de la Música. The recitals continued with stops in Frankfurt, Graz, Berlin, and Hamburg. Returning to the Wiener Staatsoper stage, Piotr headlined a revival of Un ballo in maschera before joining Opernhaus Zürich for a new production of Léhar’s Das Land des Lächelns in the role of Prince Sou-Chong.

Since his debut as Duca in Rigoletto in 2006, Piotr Beczala is a regular guest at the Metropolitan Opera New York. Here he has performed in a new production of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin opposite Anna Netrebko, Prince in Dvorak’s Rusalka, Edgardo in Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, Rodolfo (La Bohème), as well as in the title roles of Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette and Faust. In 2011 he accompanied the Met on a tour to Japan, singing Rodolfo and Edgardo.

2012 saw Piotr Beczala make his role debut as Chevalier des Grieux in Laurent Pelly’s new production of Manon, alongside Anna Netrebko as the eponymous heroine, conducted by Fabio Luisi. The production was part of the “HD Live” series by the MET and was broadcast live in cinemas throughout the US and over 50 countries worldwide. It was released on DVD, as was his interpretation of the Duke in a new production of Rigoletto, alongside Diana Damrau in January 2013, for which he received the Echo Klassik Award “Singer of the Year” in 2014. In the 2015-16 season, he was making his highly acclaimed debut in the title role of Wagner´s Lohengrin opposite Anna Netrebko at the Semperoper Dresden.

At Teatro alla Scala in Milan Piotr Beczala made his debut in 2006 singing Duca in Rigoletto, returning later as Rodolfo in La Bohème. The tenor also opened the 2013-14 season for the first time, singing Alfredo in a new production of Verdi’s La Traviata. Piotr Beczala also regularly sings at the State Operas in Munich and in Vienna. On the stage of the National Theatre in Munich, he interpreted the Prince, Alfredo, the Italian Singer in Der Rosenkavalier, and the title role of Massenet’s Werther. During the Munich Opera Festival, Piotr Beczala was heard as Alfredo in La Traviata.

In Vienna he performed Roméo in Jürgen Flimm’s production of Roméo et Juliette, under the baton of Plácido Domingo. Since his Die Zauberflöte and Rodolfo in La Bohème. Piotr Beczala sang guest performances at the Nederlandse Opera, Théâtre de la Monnaie/de Munt, Staatsoper Hamburg, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Staatsoper Berlin, Grand Théâtre de Genève, Teatro Comunale di Bologna, Teatr Wielki (Warsaw), and the Mariinsky Theatre, amongst many others.

Piotr Beczala is a regular guest at the Salzburg Festival. Since his debut as Tamino in 1997, he has sung the cantata Rinaldo by Johannes Brahms under the baton of Sir Elliott Gardiner at the Whitsun Festival as well as Prince in Rusalka, Roméo in Roméo et Juliette, the title role in Gounod´s Faust and Rodolfo in Damiano Michieletto’s new production of La Bohème opposite Anna Netrebko during the Summer Festival. This production was broadcasted on TV and released on DVD. Piotr Beczala also sang with Anna Netrebko in concert performances of Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta in 2011. In 2013 he was heard in Verdi’s Requiem with the Wiener Philharmoniker and Riccardo Muti conducting.

In addition to his operatic work, he has sung many of the great choral and orchestral vocal works with the world’s most distinguished orchestras and maestri. Celebrating his 20th stage anniversary Piotr Beczala gave a concert at Theatre Wielki in Warsaw in 2012. Also in 2012, he sang the New Year’s Eve concerts at the Semperoper Dresden for the second consecutive year. The concerts, which were led by Christian Thielemann, were broadcast on TV and released on CD and DVD. In 2014 he joined a spectacular group of colleagues for Le Concert de Paris, an annual concert event and celebration at the Eiffel Tower with an estimated live audience of more than half a million people.

Piotr Beczala was born in Czechowice-Dziedzice in Southern Poland and received his initial vocal training at the Katowice Academy of Music, where he was given instruction by such illustrious singers as Pavel Lisitsian and Sena Jurinac. His first engagement was at the Landestheater Linz and in 1997 he became a company member of the Zürich Opera. The Zurich audience could hear him as Alfredo in La traviata, Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor, the title role of Faust, Tamino in Die Zauberflöte, Elvino in La Sonnambula, and also as the soloist in orchestral songs by Richard Strauss, Riccardo in Un Ballo in Maschera as well as Rodolfo in La Bohème.

Piotr Beczala’s is represented on dozens of albums in a vast array of works, ranging from staples of the repertory, including Faust live from Vienna and La Traviata from Munich, which was nominated for a 2008 Grammy Award, to such rarely-heard works as Szymanowski’s Król Roger and Offenbach’s Rheinnixen and Johann Strauss II’s Simplicius. In addition, Piotr Beczala sings on a recording of Lucia di Lammermoor with Natalie Dessay in the title role and Valery Gergiev leading the Mariinsky Opera.

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Vincerò! (2020)

Puccini, Leoncavallo, Giordano, Mascagni, Cilea

Piotr Beczala

    Gramophone

Readers may recall reports of an amusing incident at the Wiener Staatsoper back in 2016 when Jonas Kaufmann was ‘stood up’ by his Tosca, Angela Gheorghiu, allegedly to teach him a lesson after he dared to sing an encore of ‘E lucevan le stelle’. A big fuss was made about the rights and wrongs of encores, but the truth is that the Viennese public usually demands one at this point. During the Covid 19 pandemic lockdown, the Staatsoper has been offering free nightly streams, trying to replicate its scheduled program. I watched Margarethe Wallmann’s classic production (1958!) of Tosca three times, where Piotr Becza?a twice sang Cavaradossi, once making his role debut (February 2019) and another four months later, after which he was awarded the coveted title of Kammersänger by Dominique Meyer. Both times, he encored ‘E lucevan’, rapturously received. The Viennese audience has impeccable taste. Just listen to the luminous ring to Becza?a's tenor in the open-hearted ‘Recondita armonia’ (minus the Sacristan) that opens his disc, which is entitled ‘Vincerò!’. His voice sounds crisp and supple and there’s a definite smile in there too – let’s not forget that Cavaradossi is a carefree artist at this point, daydreaming about his lover in Sant’Andrea della Valle. Becza?a has taken his time moving into this repertoire – he was 52 when he sang that first Cavaradossi – and in the booklet introduction he writes that his long experience singing lyric roles has meant he is now able to approach verismo ‘with my own style and expression’. In an age when many singers are persuaded to take on heavier repertoire far too soon, it’s refreshing to read of an artist armed with patience. And it’s refreshing to hear a tenor tackle this repertoire with such apparent ease, for this is a simply wonderful disc, sensitively supported by conductor Marco Boemi and the Orquestra de la Comunitat Valenciana. The obvious comparison is Jonas Kaufmann, whose ‘The Age of Puccini’ compilation was, rather provocatively, released by Decca just days ahead of Sony’s ‘Nessun dorma – The Puccini Album’ (A/15). Becza?a has the brighter tenor, with elasticity to his phrases, while Kaufmann’s is more bronzed, more baritonal. Becza?a never needs to force unduly, yet there’s plenty of emotion to these readings, even if he’s yet to sing most of these characters on stage. Only Cavaradossi, Rinuccio and Maurizio are in his repertoire at present, but that’s bound to change. Becza?a's tone is scrupulously clean, whereas Kaufmann is inclined to over-emote and add sobs. Becza?a's way with ‘E lucevan le stelle’ – which starts with the eloquent cello solo before the clarinet soliloquy – is very beautiful, in fuller voice than Kaufmann, who resorts to crooning ‘Oh, dolci baci, o languide carezze’, a frustrating feature of his singing in recent years. Perhaps Kaufmann’s darker tone is a better fit for Dick Johnson in La fanciulla del West but the Pole’s Pinkerton and Des Grieux need fear no comparison, including a charming ‘Donna non vidi mai’ that should make Manon – and audiences – swoon. Bonus points for including the tenor aria from Edgar and Rinuccio’s paean to Florence from Gianni Schicchi. Canio’s pain as the clown’s world falls apart in Pagliacci seems very real, yet without the hysterical sobs that are often appended. The Brindisi from Cavalleria rusticana has bags of braggadocio (more so than the rather polite Cor de la Generalitat Valenciana) and Turiddu’s farewell to Mamma Lucia is truly heartfelt. The two arias from Andrea Chénier are ardently sung, the phrasing – appropriately, given the character – poetic, with lots of freedom on top notes. ‘Amor ti vieta’, from Giordano’s less-performed Fedora, is an intense declaration of love, phrases long breathed, even if there’s just a hint of strain on the high A. In an age where there are no longer that many studio recordings of complete operas, there’s perhaps more of a need for operatic recital discs like this; an opportunity for singers to document their artistry or to set out their stall for roles to come. This has been the most satisfying one to come my way since Anna Netrebko’s remarkable ‘Verismo’ four years ago (DG, 10/16), which included that game-changing ‘In questa reggia’. Netrebko has just performed her first Turandot, albeit at the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich which excises Alfano’s completion and its taxing final duet. Whether Becza?a will want to tackle the complete role of Calaf is another matter, but he closes with the tenor anthem that is ‘Nessun dorma’, where his final B on ‘vincerò’ is resoundingly sung. A winner of an album, indeed.

Mark Pullinger[read full review]

Vincerò! (2020)

Puccini, Leoncavallo, Giordano, Mascagni, Cilea

Piotr Beczala

Producer: Everett Porter
Recording Engineer: Lauran Jurrius
Recording location: Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía, Valencia, Spain, in October 2019
Recording Type & Bit Rate: DXD

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PTC5186733: Vincerò!
00:51:47   Select quality & channels above
Tracks.
1.
Tosca SC 69 -Excerpt- Recondita armonia
Puccini
00:02:47   Select quality & channels above
2.
Tosca SC 69 -Excerpt- E lucevan le stelle
Puccini
00:04:15   Select quality & channels above
3.
Adriana Lecouvreur -Excerpt- La dolcissima effigie
Cilea
00:02:03   Select quality & channels above
4.
Adriana Lecouvreur -Excerpt- L'anima ho stanca
Cilea
00:01:54   Select quality & channels above
5.
Adriana Lecouvreur -Excerpt- Il russo Mencikoff
Cilea
00:01:55   Select quality & channels above
6.
Cavalleria rusticana -Excerpt- Intanto amici - Viva il vino spumeggiante
Mascagni
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7.
Cavalleria rusticana -Excerpt- Mamma quel vino e generoso
Mascagni
00:03:43   Select quality & channels above
8.
Manon Lescaut, SC 64 -Excerpt- Donna non vidi mai
Puccini
00:02:24   Select quality & channels above
9.
Manon Lescaut, SC 64 -Excerpt- Tra voi belle
Puccini
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10.
Andrea Chenier -Excerpt- Come un bel di di maggio
Giordano
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11.
Andrea Chenier -Excerpt- Un di all'azzuro spazio
Giordano
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12.
Fedora - Amor ti vieta
Giordano
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13.
Pagliacci - Recitar - Vesti la giubba
Leoncavallo
00:03:29   Select quality & channels above
14.
La fanciulla del West SC 78 - Ch'ella mi creda libero e lontano
Puccini
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15.
Edgar SC 62 - Orgia chimera dall'occhio vitreo
Puccini
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16.
Gianni Schicchi SC 88 - Avete torto - Firenzo e come un albero fiorito
Puccini
00:03:11   Select quality & channels above
17.
Madama Butterfly SC 74 - Addio fiorito asil
Puccini
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18.
Turandot SC 91 - Nessun dorma
Puccini
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