Opera Arias – Wojciech Drabowicz

much concert and stage experience to his credit, Drabowicz has recorded a
number of well-know baritone arias that demonstrate not only facility with
various works and styles. Among the highlights of this recording are the
idiomatic interpretations of music from two Russian composers, Alexander
Borodin and Peter Tchaikovsky.

The extended aria from Borodin’s Prince Igor is memorable for its almost flawless execution and solid
interpretation. Taken from the scene in which Prince Igor recognizes his vast
losses and yet retains his sense of duty. The aria is essentially a
scena for baritone, and a critical point in the work. It is a
telling moment from the opera, and Drabowicz captures the spirit of the music
well and sustains not only the musical line, but also the emotional pitch of
the excerpt.

Likewise, the excerpts from several of Tchaikovsky’s operas are notable
for the arioso style he employs to bring across the musical line and also to
present the text. The lyrical passages demonstrate Drabowicz’s fluid sound.
Not only is his voice appealing, but he colors it well in shaping the line, as
at the end of the excerpt from The Queen of Spades. Onegin’s
aria is another fine example of Drabowicz’s command of Tchaikovsky’s style and
his understanding of the musical and emotional demands of his particular

Drabowicz’s voice is quite effective in performing Verdi’s music, where
the baritone roles demand equally lyricism and declamatory expression. His
approach to Germont’s aria reflects a sense of melodrama through the
inflection of various phrases and, at the same time, Drabowicz has colored his
voice to fit the character. It differs in style from his more dramatic
approach to the aria from Rigoletto, “Cortigiani,” which shows
another aspect of the baritone’s voice.

With the inclusion of two almost obligatory arias from Mozart’s operas,
the “Champagne” aria from Don Giovanni that opens the recording,
and the Count’s aria from Le nozze di Figaro, the CD
demonstrates Drabowicz’s abilities to cover most the standard repertoire for
this voice. Added to it is a finely lyric interpretation of the Toreador’s
aria from Carmen, which he executes well. In the final
selection, Drabowicz demonstrates his facility with Wagner, repertoire that
would seem demanding because of the scoring, not for the vocal line itself.
Yet Drabowicz’s lyricism is never lost in the famous “Song to the Evening
Star,” here presented in a somewhat subdued manner. It is welcome not to hear
this delicate music not taken in the stentorian fashion that some used for
this music. Moreover, the lingering sound suggests a promising Wolfram on
stage for Tannh‰user

While Drabowicz’s credits do not yet include Wagner’s operas, his
experience is notable for the number and variety of roles he has performed. In
addition to the traditional bass-baritone roles in
Mozart’s main operas, Drabowicz has performed in Il barbiere da
, I Puritani, The Queen of Spades, and
such Verdi operas as Don Carlos and
La forza del destino. In addition,
he has also been part of productions as such works as Debussy’s
PellÈas et MÈlisande, Szymanowski’s King Roger,
and Martin?’s Epic of Gilgamesh. Moreover, he has been part of
various festivals in Europe and worked with such conductors as Claudio Abbado,
Antoni Wit, and Sir Charles Mackeras.

This CD offers a fine introduction to a baritone who has much to offer.
Yet of criticism can be leveled, it must be directed to the length of the
recording, which is just about fifty minutes. With such an effective voice and
a performer with Drabowicz’s experience, the ten selection s found on this
recording do not seem like quite enough and, in a sense, it may be praise to
want to hear more from this fine singer, whose accomplishments merit attention
as he continues to perform repertoire roles and create new ones in recent

James L. Zychowicz

image_description=Opera Arias – Wojciech Drabowicz
product_title=Opera Arias – Wojciech Drabowicz
product_by=Wojciech Drabowicz, baritone, Pozna? Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra. Grzegorz Nowak (cond.)
product_id=Dux 0494A11904 [CD]
price=29.90 Zlotych ($9.79)