After the romantic opera Fedora, Piotr Beczała returns to the Metropolitan Opera stage in a new production of Richard Wagner’s Lohengrin directed by François Girard.

During the premiere, Piotr Beczała once again showed how good he feels in the role of the mysterious swan knight, and received a tremendous applause from the audience. Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin, who conducts the Metropolitan Orchestra in this production, said about Piotr Beczała: “(…) there is a luminous quality in his voice — a lot of light, like sunshine. He can float it, but he can also bring in the heroic aspects. That’s hard, and it’s what we need for this role.” (The New York Times).

After the February premiere, New York audience will enjoy 8 more performances throughout March, and the last 9th performance is scheduled on April 1. The cast also includes Tamara Wilson (Elsa), Christine Goerke (Ortrud), Evgeny Nikitin (Telramund) and Günther Groissböck (King Heinrich).

There will also be a life cinema transmission on March 18 as a part of the Met’s award-winning Live in HD series, bringing opera to movie theaters across the globe.


Selected press reviews:

The New York Times: “…some superb singers fill the frame. Most important, almost floating through the staging with uncanny serenity and dignity, is Piotr Beczala in the title role. This square-jawed, always stylish tenor, is better known at the Met for playing dashing men in French and Italian classics, like the Duke in ‘Rigoletto’, Rodolfo in ‘La Boheme’ and, this winter, the ardent Loris in ‘Fedora’. But the clearest precursor to his melancholy Lohengrin is his Lensky in Tchaikovsky’s ‘Eugene Onegin’, who sings with wintry loneliness as he prepares to duel and die. Beczala performs the Wagner role – pure, precise and often treacherously exposed – with total security and elegance. The soft passages have fairy-tale delicacy; his outpourings, a robust plangency reminiscent of his more extroverted roles. But this Lohengrin, even at his most passionate, has the proper coolness of an otherworldly figure. He is human, but not entirely.”

The New Yorker: “This staging is essential viewing on account of Piotr Beczala’s stupendously secure rendition of the title role. The star Polish tenor also appeared in Sharon’s ‘Lohengrin’, deploying his glorious voice to memorable dramatic effect; on this outing, the general theatrical vacuum seemed to free him to deliver a purely musical tour de force. Beauty of tone, precision of diction, crispness of attack, nobility of phrasing – nothing was lacking. The Grail Narrative, in Act III, gleamed like the object in question. Was it the words, the music, or the singer? Yes.”

Observer: “Beczala, in his first German role at the Met, sings a nearly ideal Grail Knight. The Polish tenor irresistibly combines melting lyricism with ringing heroics. Though directed by Girard to embody a nearly emotionless hero, the tenor’s urgent engagement breaks through. Where many of his predecessors have tired during the demanding third act, Beczala, who turned 56 in December, sounds fresh in his revealing “In fernam Land” and rueful greeting of the swan whose white wings at last make an appearance.”

New York Classical Review: “Lohengrin is one of Beczała’s finest creations. Girard doesn’t call upon him to do much more than be noble, but he nevertheless exuded confidence and glamour as the swan knight. His tenor is healthy, free and gleaming; its luster has not diminished even as it has grown in weight in color with the years. Lohengrin’s two great narratives in Act III, “In fernem Land” and “Mein Lieber Schwan” were spellbinding both for the sincerity of Beczała’s delivery and the pure beauty of his sound.“

Seen and Heard International: “The star of the evening was undoubtedly Piotr Beczała as Lohengrin, clearly an outsider in the world he comes into and his somewhat otherworldly sound – though grounded in the bel cantosinging in which he made his name at the start of his career – was perfect for this portrayal. Many phrases soared while others were exquisite, with some of the vocal colouring he achieved ever so sublime. One example must suffice and what he did with ‘eine Taube’ during his tireless rendition of the third-act narration ‘In fernem Land’ was a model by which all current singers of the role should be compared. This Lohengrin had seen the dove … and I believed I saw it too!”

Bachtrack: “But it was the lead couple that impressed the most, particularly Piotr Beczała’s burnished, bel canto Lohengrin. This is Beczała’s first German role at the Met, but his Italianate timbre works beautifully and he sings tirelessly with elegant, bronzed tone. He also looks suitably heroic in his simple white shirt, an effective contrast from the pleated robes of the rest of the cast. He was at his best in the third act love duet with Tamara Wilson’s Elsa, with both singers filling the auditorium with silvery tone.”

Parterre: “Beczala delivered a powerhouse performance in the opera’s title role (…) His “In fernem Land” was the quintessential Wagnerian narration, balancing raw vocal power with vividly expressive musical storytelling. This slightly more stentorian sound very much suited the austerity of Wagner’s writing for Lohengrin, foregrounding the hardy core of Beczala’s voice. The middle register was particularly magisterial, without ever feeling pushed, forced, or overly muscular. His “Nun sei bedankt, mein lieber Schwan,” for example, had a tender beauty and a commanding immediacy, communicating a certain force without sacrificing elegance or nuance.”

Opera News: “Piotr Beczała sings only one Wagner role, but he excels at it. His Lohengrin had plenty of heroic power for the end of Act II, but he has not lost the melting quality in his voice for moments like the beginning of the love duet and his rapt “In fernem Land.”

Broadway World: “Beczala gave a stylish, straightforward and dignified performance, with not a hint of pushing the voice that captivated in RIGOLETTO; he sang ravishingly in his Act III love duet (“Das süsse lied verhallt”) with Elsa, after the famed “Wedding March.”

Operawire: “Beczała’s spiritual transformation as Lohengrin was otherworldly and yet nostalgic. It was as though Beczała had been in this role lifetimes before. His voice was pure and truly captivating. His eyes radiated hope and sparkled through the darkness.”

Opera World: “Tras su triunfo en Fedora como Loris Ipanov, Beczala se ha convertido en el cantante más relevante de la temporada lírica en Nueva York. Su Lohengrin, lírico e inspirado, como era de esperar, da la talla como el Caballero del Cisne, aunque en la noche del estreno se mostró algo tenso y frío en sus intercambios con la Elsa de Tamara Wilson. Tanto la escena de entrada, como su negativo musical de la despedida en tercer acto, el tenor polaco dominó la escena y voló sobre la orquesta, dejando momentos de emocionante lirismo.”





Next & Previous Articles

Piotr Beczała welcomed the New Year with the premiere of Umberto Giordano’s romantic opera Fedora at the Metropolitan Opera.

Read Article