By Jennifer Pugsley, Media Relations Manager
In recent years, the Canadian Opera Company has lured Canada’s internationally acclaimed soprano Adrianne Pieczonka from the world’s stages of New York, London, Paris, Milan, Berlin, Vienna, Bayreuth and Salzburg to the Four Seasons Centre for one riveting performance after another. This winter, COC audiences are the first to witness Pieczonka in a role she calls “more dramatic than any other Verdi role I have sung to date” – Amelia in Verdi’s Un ballo in maschera.
“I have sung more lyric Verdi parts in the past, such as Alice Ford, Desdemona, Elisabetta and Amelia in Simon Boccanegra. For a time, I considered singing Aida and Elvira, but I realized that these roles didn’t fit me quite right, vocally. Amelia in Ballo fits better as it lies in a slight lower tessitura where my voice feels more comfortable,” she says.
Adrianne Pieczonka as Elisabeth in Verdi's Don Carlos.
It’s also a role that requires a singer who can mine vast reserves of musical power and sensitivity. “Personally, I find that singing Verdi is more technically demanding than singing Wagner or Strauss. In Verdi, the voice is the main focus. In Wagner and Strauss, the voice can sometimes hide a bit in the thick orchestrations,” shares Pieczonka. “[In Verdi], the art of bel canto is required, the ability to spin long legato lines and imbue phrases with many vocal colours. Verdi operas challenge singers technically, but they are so highly rewarding and thrilling to perform.”
“Amelia appeals to me because she is a mature woman – she is married and she is a mother, both of which I can relate to,” shares Pieczonka. “Amelia sings a heartbreaking aria begging her husband that, before she is killed, she be allowed to say goodbye to her young son. It’s this kind of emotion which really affects me deeply.”
Learn more about Adrianne's career from her COC debut in 1988 to more recent moments in this world-renowned soprano’s career abroad and here at home in our current winter issue of Prelude magazine. Sign up here to receive a digital copy.
You can follow Adrianne on Twitter and learn more about her on her website.
Photos: (top) Carlo Ventre as Cavaradossi and Adrianne Pieczonka as Tosca in the Canadian Opera Company production of Tosca, 2012. Photo by Michael Cooper; (middle) Adrianne Pieczonka. Photo by Johannes Ifkovits; (bottom) Adrianne Pieczonka as Elisabeth de Valois and the COC Chorus in the Canadian Opera Company’s production of Don Carlos, 2007. Photo by Michael Cooper.
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Sara Fulgoni in the COC production of Bluebeard's Castle. Photo: Michael Cooper © 2001