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, Riccardo in Un Ballo in maschera, Rodolfo in La Bohème as well as the soloist in orchestral songs by Richard Strauss.
Piotr Beczala made his debut in 2006 singing Duke of Mantua in Rigoletto at Teatro alla Scala in Milan, 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 regularly sings with 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 in 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 debut as Alfredo in 2008, Piotr Beczala has returned to Vienna annually singing Faust, Edgardo and Rodolfo. In 2012 he made his debut at the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, singing concert performances of Faust. At the Royal Opera House Covent Garden in London he made his debut in Der Rosenkavalier and returned singing in Faust, Rigoletto, Eugene Onegin, La Bohème, Roméo et Juliette, La Traviata and Verdi’s Requiem. His US debut saw Piotr Beczala perform as Lenski at the San Francisco Opera, followed by Tamino in 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 – Polish National Opera in Warsaw, and the Mariinsky Theatre, amongst many others.
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 in Puccini’s La Bohème, as well as in the title roles in Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette and Faust. In 2011 he accompanied the MET on a tour to Japan, singing Rodolfo and Edgardo. The year 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 MET’s Live in HD series 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 Singer of the Year Award in 2014.
Piotr Beczala is a regular guest at the Salzburg Festival. Since his debut as Tamino in 1997 he has sung Prince in Rusalka, Roméo in Roméo et Juliette, the cantata Rinaldo by Johannes Brahms under the baton of Sir Elliott Gardiner at the Whitsun Festival and Rodolfo in Damiano Michieletto’s new production of La Bohème opposite Anna Netrebko during the Summer Festival. The production was broadcast on TV and released on DVD by Deutsche Grammophon. 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 the Teatr 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 by Deutsche Grammophon. 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’s is represented on dozens of CDs in a vast array of works, ranging from staples of the repertory, including Faust live from Vienna (Orfeo) and La Traviata from Munich (Farao), which was nominated for a 2008 Grammy Award, to such rarely-heard works as Szymanowski’s Król Roger and Offenbach’s Rheinnixen (Accord) or Johann Strauss II’s Simplicius (EMI). 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 on the company’s own label.
Three solo aria CDs have been released on the Orfeo label. Salut, featuring French and Italian arias (2008), was followed by Slavic Opera Arias, presenting repertoire by Borodin, Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Rachmaninoff, Moniuszko, Żeleński, Nowowiejski, Smetana and Dvorak. Opera News declared it number one on its list of 2011’s Twelve Best Recital Discs; it also received Classica’s coveted Choc de l’année 2011. In 2013 a Verdi album was released. Since 2012 Piotr Beczala is an exclusive artist of Deutsche Grammophon. February 2011 saw the release of his second album, The French Collection with the yellow label.
His DVD releases include a series of performances from the Zurich Opera including: Rigoletto, La Traviata, Die lustige Witwe, Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Die Zauberflöte and Simplicius (all on Arthaus), as well as Don Giovanni (EMI). Also available are Der Rosenkavalier (TDK) from Salzburg, Don Giovanni (Decca), Rusalka alongside Renée Fleming (Decca) and Lucia di Lammermoor from the MET (DG). Other recent DVD releases include Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with Christian Thielemann leading the Wiener Philharmoniker (Unitel/C Major) and the Farewell Concert for the Wiener Staatsoper’s long standing Intendant, Ioan Holender (DG), among many others.
Piotr Beczala’s 2016/17 season will feature 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 Lyric Opera of Chicago. From there, he heads to New York for a revival of La Bohème at the Metropolitan Opera. He also joins 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. Furthermore Piotr Beczala can be 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 continue with stops in Frankfurt, Graz, Berlin, and Hamburg. Returning to the Wiener Staatsoper stage, Piotr headlines 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.
(photo by Jean-Baptiste Millot)