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Top opera singers help enhance Poland’s 'soft power' overseas: UN envoy

06.06.2023 14:00
Polish opera singers performing at prestigious international venues such as New York's Metropolitan Opera are helping raise the country’s profile and enhance its "soft power" overseas, Poland’s United Nations ambassador has said.
Tomasz Konieczny
Tomasz KoniecznyPR2

Krzysztof Szczerski was speaking after internationally acclaimed Polish bass-baritone Tomasz Konieczny gave a solo recital at the Kościuszko Foundation in New York on Monday.

Konieczny is currently appearing at the Metropolitan Opera in New York in the title role in Richard Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman opera.

His Kościuszko Foundation recital comprised songs by Richard Strauss and Polish composers Stanisław Moniuszko and Henryk Czyż, some of which were included in Konieczny’s latest CD released by Universal Music Polska.

Entitled From Secession to Distortion, the album also features songs by contemporary Polish composer Aleksander Nowak.

Konieczny was given a standing ovation. In an interview with the PAP news agency, he said that appearing before an audience of 150 "soon after singing at the 5,000-seat Metropolitan" was a big challenge.

He added that, in his CD recordings, he combines "the German and Polish repertoires, firmly believing that this is the best way to promote the music of Polish composers."

'Poland’s soft power on the international scene'

Referring to Konieczny’s performances at the Met, Szczerski, the Polish UN envoy, said that the presence of a sizable group of Polish singers at the prestigious New York venue "has enhanced Poland’s image abroad," the PAP news agency reported.

In addition to Konieczny, Polish singers regularly appearing at the Met include Piotr Beczała and Aleksandra Kurzak.

Piotr Beczała Piotr Beczała: Photo: Wojciech Kusiński/PR
Aleksandra Kurzak Aleksandra Kurzak. Photo: Jacek Bednarczyk/PAP

Szczerski added: “This is Poland’s soft power on the international scene. All of the Met soloists from Poland stress their Polish roots and their vocal studies in Poland.”

Krzysztof Szczerski. Krzysztof Szczerski is Poland's ambassador to the United Nations. Photo: PAP/Radek Pietruszka

In a review of Konieczny’s Met performance in The Flying Dutchman, David Salazar wrote on the OperaWire website: “This was undeniably one of the best singular performances of the entire Met season … Konieczny was so fascinating from the start that, despite all the other incredible performances taking place, you couldn’t wait for him to get back on stage if only to hear him for a few moments."