Slavic Heroes

Slavic Heroes

by Mariusz Kwiecien
     
 
Given the frequency with which he appears in the world's greatest opera houses, it is surprising that Polish baritone Mariusz Kwiecien has made so few recordings and that this 2012 Harmonia Mundi release is only his second solo recital. He has made his reputation largely in the Italian bel canto repertoire and in Mozart, but his solo recitals

Overview

Given the frequency with which he appears in the world's greatest opera houses, it is surprising that Polish baritone Mariusz Kwiecien has made so few recordings and that this 2012 Harmonia Mundi release is only his second solo recital. He has made his reputation largely in the Italian bel canto repertoire and in Mozart, but his solo recitals have highlighted a different side of his artistic personality: Chopin songs in the first, and Russian, Polish, and Czech Romantic and post-Romantic arias in this one. He is to be commended for focusing on music that, for the most part, is little-known in the West. Kwiecien brings the suave, seamless lyricism that characterizes his approach to Donizetti and Mozart to these substantially darker characters. He's especially effective in the Tchaikovsky arias, from "Eugene Onegin," "Iolanta," and "Mazeppa." His voice and temperament seem tailor-made for the role of Onegin and he beautifully conveys the character's development from shallow cad to a sincere, anguished adult. He also excels in the song-like excerpts from three operas by Moniuszko. Kwiecien doesn't have the weight usually associated with the role of Prince Igor, but his colorful voice is well-suited to the predominantly contemplative quality of the aria, "No sleep, no rest…" and he can summon the necessary power to put it across convincingly. Occasionally, as at the end of the scene from Szymanowski's "King Roger" and the end of the aria from "Iolanta," when Kwiecien pushes for volume, his tone loses focus. In spite of those lapses, the album is an admirable introduction to the baritone's fluency in a diverse range of music and his easy versatility in establishing a variety of dramatic moods. Lukasz Borowicz leads the Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra in rip-roaring but polished and nuanced performances of this fiery repertoire. The sound is clean, warmly resonant, and well balanced.

Product Details

Release Date:
01/10/2012
Label:
Harmonia Mundi Fr.
UPC:
3149020610121
catalogNumber:
906101
Rank:
143280

Tracks

  1. Król Roger (King Roger), opera in 3 acts, Op. 46, M55: Final scene, hymn to Apollo
  2. Prince Igor, opera (completed by Rimsky-Korsakov & Glazunov): No sleep, no rest
  3. Verbum Nobile, opera: Come, let envigorating sun
  4. Eugene Onegin, opera, Op. 24: Can it be the same Tatyana?
  5. Sadko, opera in 3 (or 5) acts: City of stone, mother of all cities
  6. Straszny Dwór (The Haunted Manor), opera: Who of my maidens whose heart
  7. The Cunning Peasant (Selma Sedlák), opera, B. 67 (Op.37): Aria. Who can express in words
  8. Mazeppa, opera: Arioso. O Maria, Maria!
  9. Halka, opera: Aria. As sure as the wind sighs
  10. Certova stena (The Devil's Wall), opera, JB 1:122: Aria. The Devil's Wall
  11. Aleko, opera, TN ii/70: The camp is asleep / How tenderly she caressed
  12. Iolanta, opera, Op. 69: Aria. Who can compare with my Mathilde
  13. Eugene Onegin, opera, Op. 24: You wrote to me...Had I wished to be bound

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