Tonight, January 22nd, lyric tenor Piotr Beczala will open the Season of Music and Dance 2020 (la Temporada de Música i Dansa d’Andorra la Vella MoraBanc). His repertoire in Andorra includes Puccini, Verdi, Bizet and Rimsky-Korsakov.
Piotr Beczala is considered to be one of the best lyric tenors in the world (He shares “Olympus” with figures like Jonas Kaufmann, Juan Diego Flórez and Javier Camarena, and has a solid career with a varied and very consistent repertoire). The Polish tenor has grown in technique, volume and vocal density over the past years and presently offers his full potential in the best theaters in the world. In addition to his performance in Andorra, Piotr Beczala will open the New York Metropolitan Opera House 2020 season with Aida.
At the Andorra la Vella concert, he will be accompanied by French pianist Sarah Tysman. She usually performs with the best singers and also as a soloist with famous people such as Kiril Petrenko (Berlin Philharmonic).
Before his concert, he talked about his understanding of singing and other things.
Interview: Irina Rybalchenko
Is this your first time in Andorra?
Yes, it is. I’ve just arrived and it is already dark. So I haven’t seen Andorra yet. But it reminds me of Switzerland a little bit…
Do you have any expectations for the performance?
No, I never have any expectations. I just try to make people happy.
What is singing for you? A talent? Hard work? Or just a desire to sing?
It is a combination of all those qualities. It is a lot of work. You have to discover your voice first and then you have to work hard to develop it but in my case, I just love what I do. Nobody helps me do what I have to do. Nobody pushes me to sing. I do love singing. It’s a really rare situation: my profession is to communicate with the public and this is the most important thing for me.
Do you think it is possible to learn singing professionally or it’s an inherited trait?
Yes, it is, absolutely. You could be a very good pianist if you do a lot of practice. Moreover, you can spend a lot of money and buy a good instrument and you will get a good sound. In the case of singing it’s more complicated as you cannot buy a voice.
A singer can be compared with a creator of a musical instrument and at the same time with a performer. Yes, working with voice – it’s some kind of “creating” a high-quality instrument. That’s how I could describe my profession.
And you can destroy this instrument very quickly if you make a wrong decision. This is an art.
The biggest tragedy of a singer is to be a singer without a voice. I mean, to lose their voice. Every singer knows how to care for their voice. And you cannot be comfortable with your voice all the time. You have to stretch your vocal cords to develop your voice each year. It’s like tuning a car if you like.
I was always interested to know how it must be – to “tune” in to the concert and not be nervous? After all, our voice always gives away the emotional state of the maestro. Could you share your secret?
There is no secret. It’s very individual. I know some colleagues who are really paralyzed before concerts. And they are great singers! To lose focus maybe… I don’t know. To turn left or right twice (laughing). I mean to do something symbolic which could help you not to be nervous and to be positive.
I always a little bit nervous and it’s normal. But you can work on it to learn how to control it. It’s difficult though and you have to learn through experience which we gain after many years of our professional careers.
You just know that you have to be calm…You should never lose your centre of gravity. I mean you should never cry on the stage. Your public has to cry but not you! Every concert is different. I can give you an example; a couple of months ago we had completely different acoustics in a hall, I just tried to ignore it and do my best.
How long have you been performing on stage?
What would you say about the audience’s perception of music? Has anything changed over the years?
Not really. My repertoire has changed. I started with Mozart or even with some operettas. Actually, for me, there are no changes. The pressure is bigger, it’s true. Now I am invited to sing in very important places such as the Metropolitan Opera in New York, so all the world will be watching… And at the beginning, I wasn’t performing in such grand venues, but I still did my best. Young singers have the right to be wrong and make small mistakes. Experienced singers don’t have these rights.
What inspires you?
You. People. Public. I sing for people who are coming to my concerts. I don’t care how many people and who they are. I just do my best and it makes me happy. It gives me the energy for life that I need.
What do you dream about in a professional sense?
I would say that I have plans, not dreams. I had dreams before when I was young. I was dreaming about a phone call from an agency giving me a chance to have a big performance. Today I deem to stay healthy to keep singing and manage my schedule which is more or less planned until 2025. The problem is that there is not the same kind of adventure anymore. I mean, you know your future. And the most important dream for me is not to have to cancel my performances. I feel guilty if I have to cancel a concert for some reason.