Internationally acclaimed Polish opera singer Ewa Podleś died aged 71 on Saturday, the Ruch Muzyczny magazine reported in a social media post.

Podleś was renowned for her distinctive, dramatic voice of staggering range and fine artistic achievements spanning several decades.

Born in Warsaw on April 26, 1952, she studied vocal performance with Alina Bolechowska at the city’s Academy of Music.

She has won many international competitions, including the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow.

Since her 1984 Metropolitan Opera debut in the title role in Handel’s Rinaldo, Podleś has been among a select group of singers who appeared regularly in the world’s most prestigious opera houses and concert halls, including Milan’s La Scala, the Covent Garden, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, London’s Wigmore Hall, and Théâtre des Champs Elysées.

She returned to the Metropolitan Opera after 25 years, in the 2008/2009 season, as La Cieca in Ponchielli’s La Gioconda.

Her extensive repertoire included Klytamnestra in Richard Strauss’s Elektra, Azucena in Verdi’s Il Trovatore, Cesare in Handel’s Giulio Cesare, Tancredi in Rossini’s Tancredi, Isabella in Rossini’s L’Italiana in Algeri, the Marquise de Birkenfeld in Donizetti’s La fille du regiment, the Countess in Tchaikovsky’s The Queen of Spades, Jeřibaba in Dvořak’s Rusalka in Monte Carlo, and Erda in Wagner’s Das Rheingold.

Many of her recordings have won prestigious awards, including the Diapason d’Or, Orphée d’Or, Grand Prix de l’Académie Française du Disque, and the Fryderyk Prize in Poland.

The singer’s biography by French author Brigitte Cormier, entitled Ewa Podleś – Contralto assoluto, has been published in a Polish translation by the Polish Music Publishers (PWM).

Foreign music critics contributing to Classic FM Magazine have included Podleś among the 10 best mezzo-sopranos of the first decade of the 21st century, while Operaarts.com named her one of 100 operatic legends of the last half-century.



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