- POSK temporarily closed
Review by Richard Williams
London Jazz News preview
"strongly performed Polish opera"
as part of the Insiders /Outsiders festival
Opera Now magazine, May issue
Review in Opera Now magazine
Proposed new constitution for POSK
Dominic Williams for London Jazz News
Wednesday afternoon is now a popular time in the diaries of regular attendees at the Concerts with Coffee. On 13 March, the musicians invited by the Confraternity of Polish Artists were Magdalena Molendowska – a soprano known from previous appearances - and the Italian pianist Emma Abbate, who accompanied the vocalist this time.
Magdalena Molendowska, a singer with a beautiful soprano voice, is a soloist with the Wroclaw opera and Clonter Opera. Her debut was with the Warsaw National Opera in Jakob Lenz, an opera by Wolfgang Rihm. When she was in her third year of studies, she took the part of Atalanta in the Xerxes by G. F. Haendell. As she told Barbara Bakst, the chairman of the Confraternity of Polish Artists, she enjoyed a big success performing at the Barbican. She is a founding member of an Association helping artistically talented children from Kosakowo district and the University of the Third Age in her family town, where she also ran a group called Meetings with Music. The soprano, who is unusually musical with a wide scale of voice, made a big impression on her audience performing well known pieces.
The Concert Programme
Magdalena sang eight songs by Francisa Poulenc, two songs by the Italian composer and violinist Ottorino Respighi and three songs by the German composer and conductor Richard Strauss. She also included three pieces by Karol Szymanowski, Fryderyk Chopin and Sergej Rachmaninov.
It was a varied programme in which everybody found something to their liking. Songs of Poulenc, Chopin and Szymanowski, especially close for us Poles, were moving and crept into the deepest corners of the soul, to bring a gentle smile to our faces or sometimes deep reflection. The beautiful songs of Richard Strauss, full of expression and at the same time showing the apotheosis of love, sounded dramatic and engaging in her strong expressive voice.
Emma Abbate – the pianist, graduate of the Royal Academy of Music and University Federico II in Naples, where she graduated in the Department of Literature - returned for the third time to take part in a Confraternity concert. She is currently a professor at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London and also the official accompanist with Trinity College of Music and Opera North. She has performed in recitals at International Festivals in Salzburg, Naples, Kościerzyna and Sorrento as well as in prestigious concert halls in England, Italy and Spain.
This accomplished pianist and accompanist often works with Polish musicians. In an interview with the Dziennik newspaper she admitted that she really must learn to speak Polish. She effectively works with Polish artists with whom she has an ease in making contact. Since 2003 she performs with the Polish Cellist, Ewa Mizerska.
On the 23 March they will play at the University of Plymouth. They have also produced their own record together. She also works with Hanna Hipp, mezzo-soprano, with whom she performed at a concert organised by the Confraternity of Polish Artists in May 2011. Emma prefers to perform with singers and she especially values the voice of Magdalena Molendowska, who she first met at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama.
Magdalena Molendowska, in an interview with the Dziennik newspaper, told us that after the concert in POSK she will fly to Warsaw to perform in the role of Halka in the opera by Stanislaw Moniuszko in the Teatr Wielki Opery Narodowej (Great Theatre of the National Opera) in Warsaw. She will perform in Halka two times. Asked if she will be performing in Poland and England she said that she was not cutting herself from her roots and that she will be travelling between Warsaw and London. At the moment she is not tied to any one place, or house or family which makes it easy to travel between the two capitals.
Her debut in Teatr Wielki Opery Narodowej was in 2011, and her performance in the Moniuszko opera is a continuation of this work. She also has contact with the Glyndebourne Opera. She has practically completed her studies in London. At the moment she is one of four finalists competing for the Gold Medal awarded by the Guildhall School of Music & Drama. We will find out if she wins at the finalists’ concert in the Barbican on 2 May. We will keep our fingers crossed and wish her all the best.
Text and photograph Jolanta Potocka
Photo Emma Abbate and Magdalena Molendowska
Translated by Janek Kaczmarek