Aleksandra Kurzak has much to be joyful about, and as befits the title of her first solo disc for Decca there is a definite smile in her voice. Only a few years ago the Polish soprano seemed to be a pleasant soubrette whose performances were occasionally compromised by some pinched high notes, but in the last two seasons or so she has blossomed into a star. One turning point, on disc anyway, was the album of Chopin songs she shared with Mariusz Kwiecieñ on the Chopin Institute’s label (NIFCCD 016), where her glinting soprano moves easily between melancholy and shy eroticism—perfect casting. In the theatre, her triumphant role debut as Lucia at Seattle Opera in autumn 2010 was another important step, as our not-easily-impressed Seattle correspondent, Theodore Deacon, wrote in these pages: ‘My wife’s first Lucia was Sutherland, mine was Sills. So you can imagine our astonishment at being left breathless by Seattle Opera’s new bride of Lammermoor, Aleksandra Kurzak …’ Lucia’s ‘Regnava nel silenzio’ is featured here—showing the character’s fragile state of mind, it is the only downbeat aria of the collection—and it allows Kurzak to demonstrate her flexible coloratura in an enthralling profusion of trills. Another recent addition to her repertory is Violetta, and Traviata’s first-act scene gives scope for Kurzak to sparkle and capture the courtesan’s free-spirited philosophy. In addition to such new parts, this CD is something of a souvenir of her career so far and includes a part she has already dropped, Musetta; the self-assured glamour she brings here makes one regret this move, even if it is doubtless right for her as she progresses into heavier roles. One sign of things to come, and a role she has not yet (so far as I know) sung on stage, is Elvira in I puritani, whose ‘Son vergin vezzosa’ seems doubly appropriate here on account of its joyful tone and its aria polacca tag. If Kurzak’s soprano sounds bigger than before, it is still not one of those large voices that naturally command a wide range of colour, yet her musical intelligence ensures that there is no hint of monotony here even in some over-exposed repertoire (Rosina’s ‘Una voce poco fa’, which launches the disc in fine fashion, and Lauretta’s ‘O mio babbino caro’, for instance). She achieves everything without resorting to show-off tactics; indeed, a few numbers might almost be described as reserved. Every track gives pleasure, but highlights include a seductive ‘Deh vieni’ (Susanna, a role she has even sung along the Countess of her mother, the distinguished Jolanta Żmurko) and a laughing ‘Mein Herr Marquis’ (Adele). The dazzling Moniuszko aria for Hanna represents far more that mere patriotic duty and forms a genuine climax to the disc: even in music that is unfamiliar to most orchestras outside Poland, the playing is first-rate, but then Omer Meir Wellber is an attentive conductor and a natural opera accompanist. And it’s wonderful to hear Kurzak in her native language.

Opera Magazine - John Allison

Piękna kobieta, piękny głos i radość (gioia) słuchania...Program jest tak skonstruowany, że w pełni oddaje ciepłą barwę głosu artystki, ale także pokazuje jej niezwykłe umiejętności wokalne - pasaże i gamy, arcytrudne tryle śpiewa brawurowo, bez wysiłku, jakby to była igraszka. W śpiewie Kurzak zachwyca lekkość, precyzja, maestria i rzeczywiście słyszalna radość. Aleksandra Kurzak ma ogromny talent, ale jej legendarna już pracowitość jest równie ważna. Dzięki niej ma doskonały warsztat. Nienaganna dykcja, gra emocji, żonglowanie nastrojami potrafi nas przekonać do każdej postaci, nieważne czy tragicznej, czy filuternie zalotnej. A przy tym nigdy nie traci nic ze swego uroku. Trudno wybrać arię, która się wybija, całość tworzy piękne dzieło i dobrze się stało, że do tego światowego repertuaru została dołożona aria Hanny ze "Strasznego dworu" Stanisława Moniuszki, bowiem muzyka polska jest dla Aleksandry Kurzak także bardzo ważna...Po przesłuchaniu albumu nie wyciąga się go z odtwarzacza, tylko słucha się tej pięknej muzyki po raz kolejny, i jeszcze raz, i jeszcze... A potem chce się iść do opery i zobaczyć panią Aleksandrę w roli. Jestem przekonana, że Aleksandra Kurzak jest nową wielką gwiazdą, na którą melomani czekali...Nagranie zrealizowano w pomieszczeniu o doskonałej akustyce, bardzo dobrze zachowano proporcje pomiędzy orkiestrą a solistką. Podobno praca w studiu dla śpiewaczki nie była łatwa, brak publiczności wymaga wyzwolenia innych emocji, ale i Aleksandra Kurzak, i inżynierowie dźwięku znają się na swojej pracy doskonale. Nie ma ani jednego dźwięku, który byłby ostry, świdrujący, nie na miejscu. Polecam z całym przekonaniem, że to świetna płyta w każdym aspekcie, również brzmieniowym. *****

Hi-Fi Choice - Beata Górecka-Młyńczak

First up is a recital debut disc from a young Polish soprano, Aleksandra Kurzak, who’s making quite an impact in the world’s major opera houses of late. From the glimpse we get of her sensual, witty Susanna on this disc it’s easy to see why: every ounce of the feline charm which is currently bewitching audiences and critics at the Royal Opera House comes across on record, and she’s as compelling in the simple phrases of Deh, vieni as she is in the bravura showpieces which dominate the rest of the disc. Her diamantine soprano sits so high that it actually confused my sense of pitch on several occasions (‘surely that can’t have been a high D?!’) but there’s not so much as a hint of shrillness even at the very top of the voice: her warm middle register has a mellowness and body which isn’t normally associated with coloratura sopranos and she never lapses into the generic arch mannerisms which can sometimes creep into these roles (listen to her warm, sincere O mio babbino car to hear these virtues to best effect). This disc is effectively a portfolio of all the great display pieces for this voice type (Adina, Musetta, Violetta, Lucia and Gilda all feature). It’s a box of (familiar) delights, chiefly because each aria is so deftly characterised and because Kurzak simply exudes such joy from beginning to end. (Apparently the title ‘Gioia’ was suggested by her agent, who remarked that he could see the joy in her face each time she sang, and you can certainly hear it in every phrase!) Every item fits her supple, full-bodied instrument like a glove, but the stand-outs for me were her deliciously impertinent Adele (you can sense her every gleeful reaction to the befuddled Eisenstein as she teases him at the masked ball); a vulnerable, volatile Violetta; and the utterly exhilarating cabaletta from Lucia di Lammermoor, despatched with such tangible exultation in the act of singing that it brought a lump to my throat even after three hearings.

Presto Classical - Katherine Cooper

It was pure coincidence that this debut operatic recital disc from Aleksandra Kurzak dropped through the letter box the very same day I saw the Polish soprano perform the role of Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. It was the perfect assumption of the role – her light soprano silvery glinted, but without being hard-edged, allied to a truly enchanting stage presence to melt the stoniest of hearts – so that it was easy to be smitten by Kurzak’s singing on this disc, where ‘Deh vieni, non tardar’ is a suitable memento of a role she’s also taking to La Scala and Vienna this year...The choice of repertoire is, for the most part, predictable, including her Susanna, Rosina and Adina, which will already be familiar to Covent Garden audiences, samples of her Lucia and Elvira (Puritani), some Verdi (Gilda and Violetta) and a couple of brief Puccini roles, one (Musetta) already retired from her repertory. She reminds me a little of the great Rita Streich, though perhaps the voice isn’t as rich at present. Her soprano has warmth, but it’s not a huge voice – her Lucia is lighter than Sutherland’s, for example, and more girlish. Her coloratura has a crystalline quality and is razor-sharp. She is also the proud owner of an excellent trill, which should put some of the other big-name sopranos singing bel canto repertoire to shame. Her diction is excellent and she rolls her ‘r’s deliciously: just listen to ‘che col dolce sussurro il cor ristaura’ in her exquisite rendition of Susanna’s Act IV aria. In the Barbiere ‘Una voce poco fa’, which opens the disc, Kurzak takes the traditional soprano ornaments to conjure up a minx of a Rosina, whose feisty spirit is never in doubt. The Donizetti and Bellini items are wonderful. I especially enjoyed the jaunty polacca rhythms of ‘Son vergin vezzosa’ from I Puritani, which Kurzak brings off vivaciously, while Lucia’s ‘Regnava nel silenzio’, lighter-voiced than usual, displays an excellent sequence of controlled trills. A duet from L’elisir d’amore, in which she is well partnered by Francesco Demuro, is a lovely way to break the disc up from solo items and allows Kurzak to demonstrate her skill at building character through interaction...Her Musetta is suitably coquettish and she makes a, predictably, charming Lauretta whose ‘O mio babbino caro’ is winning. Poor Gianni Schicchi - who would not be moved to give in to such a plea?...Kurzak offers us the whole closing scene from Act I of La traviata...She does throw in the interpolated E flat at the end, which she approaches (and leaves) expertly...Gilda’s ‘Caro nome’ from Rigoletto is beautifully controlled and contained – pure and simple – the coloratura finding each note beautifully weighted and placed...her closing trill is quite marvellous, tightly controlled and she diminuendos on the final E superbly (and as written)...At 61 minutes, this thoroughly enjoyable recital is over with far too quickly. It acts as a welcome calling card for Kurzak, though I doubt anyone who’s seen her live will need any invitation to grab this disc.

Opera Britannia - Mark Pullinger

...She has moved on to larger-voiced roles with more dramatic heft but her coloratura facility is splendidly intact, sprinkling its stardust almost profligately over the repertoire Kurzak now favours.Her soprano still has the cut, polish and gleam of diamonds, but it's ripening, too, and warmed by an acute understanding of character... She is an insouciant Rosina, plushly phrased Susanna and charming Elvira (Bellini's I Puritani) and Adina (Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore)... Kurzak is also a vivid, individual Violetta in the Act I recitative and aria from La traviata... She pours on the pace and there's a touch of desperation to give warning of the tragedy to come. Kurzak would like to tackle more Puccini and Verdi. She's certainly heading in the right direction.

The Australian - Deborah Jones

And still they keep coming! Here is another singer, of whom I had never heard, who seems to be as good as any other now appearing before the public. Kurzak, who is Polish, made her professional debut at 21 as Susanna and has appeared at Hamburg, La Scala, Chicago, Berlin and other famous opera houses. She made her Metropolitan debut in 2004 in The Tales of Hoffmann. Here she presents some of the most famous soprano arias including ‘Caro nome’, ‘Una voce poco fa’, ‘Deh vieni non tardar’, the ‘Laughing Song’ from Die Fledermaus and ‘Ah fors’ e lui’ ... and she is triumphantly successful in all of them. Her voice is of excellent quality, her style and technique are secure, her enunciation of Italian and German satisfactory (her Polish is presumably perfect) and her musical instincts sound. The accompaniments under Omer Meir Wellber leave nothing to be desired... The only unfamiliar aria is from a Polish opera The Haunted Manor by Stanislaw Moniuszko (1819–1872) who is the most important figure in the development of Polish national opera. The quality of this aria suggests that more of Moniuszko’s music could be well worth hearing.

Sydney’s Fine Music Station - Richard Gate

Delectable debut: Aleksandra Kurzak is a big star of the future. Polish soprano Aleksandra Kurzak is the real and dazzling deal. Her choice of repertoire for Gioia! may be on the conventional side, but if she invites comparison with the greats, she well and truly lives up to it, with performances whose technical brilliance is matched by stylish, sensitive artistry. The arias here represent some of the mainstays of Kurzak’s career – Violetta, Lucia, Susanna and so on – and her mastery of them is thrillingly apparent. Flawless coloratura and silvery top notes are underpinned by a timbre of surprising warmth and depth, and by a vivid and versatile vocal presence. She’s remarkably good at teenagers and coquettes, but a full-blooded and ferociously well-sung rendition of Violetta’s Act I aria proves they’re far from the limit of her talents, and as Musetta and Lauretta, she manages Puccini’s lyrical legatos as perfectly as any of the fireworks. Having aced all these repertoire favourites, Kurzak concludes with a rare treat from her native land: an aria from Moniuszko’s The Haunted Manor, sung with radiant beauty. Omer Meir Wellber’s leadership of the Orquestra de la Comunitat Valenciana is strong and dramatically astute, but the laurels here belong overwhelmingly to Kurzak. A sensational début.

Limelight Magazine - Sarah Noble

The lyric soprano Aleksandra Kurzak is one of the most exciting young singers on the international stage - thrilling press and public alike with her performances in Europe and the US. "Gioia", her debut on Decca, is the eagerly anticipated proof of her excellence. This debut is capturing the current state of Aleksandra's voice by contrasting lyric and coloratura arias, focusing on roles which she has performed on stage. The album features much-loved Puccini arias from La Bohème and Gianni Schicchi, bel canto showpieces from I Puritani and Lucia di Lammermoor and the taxing First Act aria from La traviata "Sempre libera" which showcases both her effortless agility and the full, warm intensity of a Verdi lyric soprano.

Presto Classical

...there’s no doubt that her voice is stupendous: firm, true, crystal-clear in coloratura, beautifully rich in legato. I enjoyed this far more than recent releases by more famous sopranos. The Times – Richard Morrison

The Times - Richard Morrison

Kurzak impresses as a coloratura soprano of the old school.

BBC Music Magazine, September 2011 - George Hall

There's a gamine appeal about young Polish soprano Aleksandra Kurzak, who brings an innocent enthusiasm to the arias on this debut collection, negotiating the richly ornamented phrases with an almost exultant relish. Her joie de vivre is well-suited to the "laughing aria" from Die Fledermaus, "Mein Herr Marquis", while her vibrato during "Regnava nel silenzio", from Lucia Di Lammermoor, is so controlled it's astonishing to learn she received no vocal training till she was 19. She had prepared to be violinist or pianist, before following in the footsteps of her mother, with whom she appeared in Le Nozze Di Figaro, from whence derives the seductive "Deh vieni, non tardar".

The Independent - Andy Gill

Die als "sensationelles Nachwuchstalent" gefeierte junge Künstlerin . . . [überwältigt] auf ihrer ersten CD "Gioia!" (Freude!) den Hörer mit dem Riesenspektrum ihrer stimmlichen Ausdrucksmöglichkeiten. Dabei verfügt die polnische Sängerin über einen unverwechselbaren, biegsamem Sopran, der glockenhell in der Höhe, warm und voluminös in der Mittellage ist. Sie begeistert auf ihrem Debüt unter anderem als anrührende "La Bohème", als jugendlich-spritzige "Fledermaus"-Adele und scheint geradezu prädestiniert zu sein für Belcanto-Partien wie die der Adina aus "L'Elisir d'amore".

Financial Times Deutschland - Dagmar Zurek

Auf “Gioia!” präsentiert sich die Kurzak als lyrische Koloratursopranistin, von der Natur prädestiniert für den Belcanto, jedoch behutsam Kurs nehmend auf zunehmend dramatischere Rollen im Stil Giuseppe Verdis und Giacomo Puccinis. Das Album gibt uns die Gelegenheit, die beeindruckende Belcanto-Virtuosität dieser Ausnahmesängerin ebenso zu bewundern wie ihre beständig wachsenden Qualitäten für Rollen des schwereren Fachs.Zu den Höhepunkten auf “Gioia!” gehören die wie für Aleksandra Kurzak geschaffen klingende Arie “Caro nome” aus Verdis “Rigoletto” mit schwindelerregenden Trillern und perlenden Staccatos ebenso wie Donizettis Lucia, nach Kurzaks eigener Auskunft derzeit die anspruchsvollste Rolle in ihrem Repertoire. In der Arie “Sempre libera” der Violetta aus dem 1. Akt “La traviata” lässt es sich Kurzak nicht nehmen, das finale dreigestrichene Es erstrahlen zu lassen. Den lyrischen, warm strömenden Grundklang ihrer Stimme können wir in Musettas Canzone “Quando me n' vò” genießen. Und als sei die Vorstellung der italienischsprachigen (und zwei deutschen) Arien idiomatisch nicht staunenswert glaubwürdig gelungen, beschließt Aleksandra Kurzak ihr Debütalbum “Gioia!” mit einer hinreißenden Cabaletta in ihrer Muttersprache aus der Feder Stanisław Moniuszkos. Diese CD lässt keinen Zweifel daran, dass hier ein “Superstar in the making“ ist, möchte man gemeinsam mit der Sunday Times ausrufen!


Wie diese klingen kann (Susannas Rosenarie), wenn sich neben der Stimme auch das Herz einer Sängerin öffnet, führt Aleksandra Kurzak in ihrem ersten Solo-Album vor. Die junge Polin, ebenfalls mit dem Entrée zu den ersten Opernhäusern der Welt, erinnert mich ein wenig an die junge Lucia Popp: eine Stimme mit rundem vollem Bouquet, mit slawischem Glitzern und vorzüglich bemeisterten Koloraturen – Letztere frappant etwa in «Una voce poco fa» zu Beginn – auch, weil die Verzierungen nicht nur als «g’schnittene Nudeln», sondern durchaus im Sinne der Figurenzeichnung eingesetzt sind. Denn bei aller Stimmschönheit stellt Kurzak, einfühlend begleitet vom Orquestra de la Comunitat Valenciana unter Omer Meir Welber, individuell durchleuchtete Figuren vor, wobei keine der anderen gleicht. Äußerst berührend gelingen ihr die nachdenklichen, melancholischen Situationen; Violettas «Ah, fors’è lui» bekommt man selten so intensiv, ergreifend und zugleich so perfekt auf Linie gesungen zu hören. Doch auch Lucias «Regnava nel silenzio» gelingt ihr überzeugend.

Opernwelt - Gerhard Persché

Rising star Aleksandra Kurzak is a Polish coloratura soprano who tackles a diverse repertoire of arias on her 2011 Decca debut. Beginning with Rossini, Kurzak's "Una voce poco fa" demonstrates her power, solid technique, and unique dark vocal color. Her sound is clean, and she is clearly a wonderful musician, as she gives careful attention to each phrase and score marking: she is not simply a singer with a good, big sound. Some might question her frequent use of ornaments, but they do not seem to be out of place with Rossini. Also demonstrating her vocal flexibility is "Regnava il silenzio" by Donizetti. She lilts and sways through the aria with excellent vocal control and yet a sense of delicacy, with a strong high C and D. Yet long, lyrical lines are also seemingly effortless to Kurzak, for her "O mio babbino caro" is graceful and moving. One of the undoubted highlights is her Traviata in Verdi's "È strano... Sempre libera," which fits her like a glove: hers is a perfect Verdi voice full of rich passion. The same goes for Verdi's "Caro nome," which is warm and straight from the heart, each R rolled perfectly, and a birdlike trill at the end. Singing with Kurzak in these arias is tenor Francesco Demuro, whose bright, deeply expressive voice absolutely sobs with perfect Italian emotion in Donizetti's "Una parola, o Adina Chiedi all'aura." One must absolutely commend the Orquestra de la Comunitat Valenciana with conductor Omer Meir Wellber, who match Kurzak's passion and excellent musicianship. One can only question her choice of Susanna in Mozart's "Giunse alfin … Deh vieni," for though she sings it with warmth, emotion, and much nuance, it is rather slow and heavy-sounding. Her voice seems too big and dark for it; perhaps this decision is taken to play it safe, as it were, and not to rush bigger, more demanding roles. The album concludes with "Do grobu trwac…" by Moniuszko from Straszny Dwór (The Haunted Manor) in Kurzak's native Polish. This aria from a famous Polish opera is done justice. She covers the range of emotions, bringing a clear sense of patriotism to the music with its march-like section. There is a lovely violin solo that is uncredited but certainly noteworthy. Kurzak is certainly one of the stronger artists around now, and here's to wishing her a long, productive career. - V. Vasan

Polish coloratura Aleksandra Kurzak is a far more welcome addition to the ranks of recording artists than several coevals who have recently issued similar "calling-card discs." Some such issues only serve to showcase the inadequacies of the young artists so promoted. But Kurzak's gifts — an attractive voice of which one remembers the timbre, impressive musicality and the ability to characterize — are evident, and one would like to hear her sing almost all of the roles represented in this collection, recorded in Valencia in December 2010... her staccatos and trills remain impressive, the basic sound of her voice is far warmer and more liquid than many artists who sing this music can offer, and her Italian and German are creditably idiomatic, not heard through a Slavic filter... most everything she sings here — firmly supported by Omer Meir Wellber's Valencian forces — is stylish, nuanced and movingly presented...

Opera News, November 2011 - David Shengold

Jeżeli ten album miał być jej artystyczną wizytówką, to trudno o lepszą (zarazem jest to rodzaj operowego CV). Sopranistka jest bowiem diwą wszechstronną i czuje się równie dobrze w koloraturze („Cyrulik sewilski”) co w rolach lirycznych („Traviata”). Rozrzut repertuarowy jest na tej płycie zaskakujący – od Mozarta po Verdiego, od belcanta (Bellini i Donizetti) po werystów (Puccini). Miłym akcentem jest dołączenie do tego operowego panteonu… arii Hanny ze „Strasznego dworu” Stanisława Moniuszki. Najpiękniej jest wtedy, kiedy przyjemność jest obustronna, a debiutanckim albumem artystka ewidentnie zrobiła przyjemność sobie, przy okazji uszczęśliwiając słuchaczy. Ale też zaostrzyła apetyt na posłuchanie na żywo jej niebiańsko ciepłego sopranu.

Zwierciadło - Daniel Wyszogrodzki

"Oh no, not another coloratura-chestnut collection!" (First reaction--sorry.) Turns out this young Polish soprano is individual enough to pull this off and fears of another "-ina" (Desp, Ad, Am, Zerl) were unfounded. The voice is more substantial than that and it's never cute or shrill…the tone is beautiful and recognizable, her trill is the real thing, and she always sings on the note…Her "Regnava nel silenzio" is girlish and nicely acrobatic; "Mein Herr Marquis" is witty and filled with coy, effortless charm; the aria and duet from L'elisir... (with fine tenor Francesco Demuro) is well-characterized. A dreamy "Caro nome" is unspoiled by the highest of interpolated notes (which only tend to make audiences nervous), and "Son vergin vezzosa", with its Polish rhythms, seems to make her very comfortable (she opts out of the final high D, a gentle alternative). And her forays into Puccini--"O mio babbino caro" is impressive in its use of rubato; "Musetta's Waltz" is less irritating than usual--suggest that she will ripen…her Violetta… she sings it as if Act 1 were the only act and puts some pressure on the voice for excellent dramatic effect in the recitative. And she takes the high E-flat with ease, both rising to it and descending from it musically. Her "Deh vieni" is lovely without breaking any records, and an aria from Straszny dwor by Moniuszko ends the recital more interestingly than it began. And I know that this sounds flimsy, but she sounds intelligent. Accompaniments led by sympathetic, equally musical Omer Meir Wellber make this CD a real pleasure.

Classics - Robert Levine

Die junge polnische Sopranistin Aleksandra Kurzak ist längst kein Geheimtipp mehr. Auf den internationalen Opernbühnen wird sie inzwischen als "heißes Eisen" gehandelt; mit ihrer Stimme, ihren halsbrecherischen Koloraturen und mit ihrer Schauspielkunst begeistert sie Publikum und Rezensenten in London genauso wie an der New Yorker Met, in Verona oder in Warschau…Schön, wenn die Sängerin selbst Freude an ihrem Beruf hat - noch schöner, wenn diese Freude sich auch auf die Hörer überträgt. Aber man müsste schon ein ziemlich hartgesottener Opernfeind sein, um sich nicht von dieser verliebten jungen Braut bezaubern zu lassen…Als die junge Elvira aus Bellinis "Puritanern" sich von ihrem Geliebten im Stich gelassen wähnt, wird sie wahnsinnig. Ein Schicksal, das sie mit ihrer Opernschwestern Lucia di Lammermoor teilt. Die berühmte "Wahnsinnsarie" hat Kurzak zwar nicht mit ins Programm genommen, aber auch an Donizettis Kavatine kann sie schon demonstrieren, dass sie zu Recht für ihre halsbrecherischen Koloraturen und ihre gestochen scharfen Spitzentöne gefeiert wird…Kurzak hat nicht nur eine geläufige Gurgel, sondern auch eine wunderbar warme und volle Stimme mit einem erfreulich wohldosierten Vibrato. Aber vielleicht am beeindruckendsten ist ihre Wandlungsfähigkeit: Wenn sie in eine neue Rolle schlüpft, dann passt das Kostüm perfekt…Und weil das nebem dem Star häufig vergessen wird: Das begleitende Orchester der Comunitat Valenciana und dessen Chefdirigent, der junge Israeli Omer Meir Wellber, sind dem Star durchaus ebenbürtige Partner und tragen mit dazu bei, dass dieses Album tatsächlich rundum Freude macht.

NDR Kulrur (CD der Woche) - Christiane Irrgang

Ein Koloratursopran, gewiss, aber einer, der ein sicheres Fundament zu haben scheint. Da ist ein angedunkelter Kern, der den mit lockerem Federstrich hingezauberten Spitzentönen überhaupt nicht im Wege steht. Die Beweglichkeit der Stimme ist eindrücklich . . . Neben all diesen technischen "Daten" weiß die 34-jährige Polin durchaus, wie man Charaktere schafft.

Sonntag - Christian Berzins

The young cast of this “Così” is cause for celebration...Aleksandra Kurzak, a Polish soprano who has just released a dazzling CD of arias on Decca, was an affecting, soulful Fiordiligi.

Los Angeles Times - Mark Swed

The sextet of singers — four of them making their company debuts — looked appropriately young, sang beautifully, and acted their roles in this “battle of the sexes” story with saucy panache. Polish-born soprano Aleksandra Kurzak handled the wide range of Fiordigi with seeming ease and brought real pathos to her moving arias in both acts.

Class Act & - Robert D. Thomas

. . . sung with the "joy" of the title, freshness and elegance. Such precision of ornamentation . . . we only encounter in a handful of voices anywhere in the world. Yet these interpretations are more than only technically great trills. Even though they enrich most of those arias we can hardly find them long-winded. The polish singer diversifies styles and atmosphere of this operatic potpourri . . . With all these differentiated set Kurzak creates her own interesting musical self-portrait . . . Her voice sounds brilliantly and the Valencia's orchestra under Omer Meir Wellber performs . . . with temperament. ...hity zaśpiewane z tytułową radością (po włosku – gioia), lekkością i elegancją. Taką precyzją koloraturowych ozdobników jak w ariach z „Łucji z Lammermooru" czy „Purytanów" może się poszczycić niewiele śpiewaczek. W tych interpretacjach jest jednak znacznie więcej niż technicznie doskonałe tryle. Choć ozdabiają niemal każdą arię, słuchając całego albumu, nie odczuwamy znużenia. Polka potrafi różnicować styl i klimat, z operowego miszmaszu, w którym Mozart sąsiaduje z Johannem Straussem, stworzyła swój interesu- jący autoportret artystyczny. Szczególne uznanie należy się za dodaną arię jedenastą, ze „Strasznego dworu". Śpiewa ją błyskotliwie, a orkiestra z Walencji pod dyrekcją Omera Meir Willbera gra z temperamentem. I tak oto Moniuszko dorównał mistrzom włoskiego belcanta.

Rzeczpospolita - Jacek Marczyński

Jej „Gioia!” to właśnie czysty zachwyt nad śpiewem. Czysta radość. Śpiewaczka prowadzi nas przez losy kilku kobiet (Zuzanna z „Wesela Figara”, Lucia z Lammermoor Donizettiego, Violetta i Gilda Verdiego, Musetta Pucciniego, Elvira z „Purytan” Belliniego), pokazując, że nawet w smutku jest szczelina światła. Szczególnie kiedy przynosi ją śpiew. Kurzak śpiewa lekko, z tą nutką płochliwości, która pozwala zachować dystans wobec postaci, a nam nie uwierzyć do końca w wypowiadane słowa i emocje. Jej głos od czasu poznańskiego koncertu dojrzał, nabrał głębi, siły tajemnicy. Wciąż – coraz lepiej i piękniej – przeskakuje po najwyższych stopniach, lekko i bezboleśnie, jakby „skacząc po górach”, „przeskakując pagórki”. Żaden dźwięk nie ucieka, żadna nuta. Wszystko wybrzmiałe, nabrzmiałe, wdzięczne. Warto zaznaczyć, że ostatnim utworem na płycie jest aria Hanny ze „Strasznego dworu” Moniuszki. To dobrze, że śpiewaczka nie zapomina o polskim repertuarze, umieszczając go w tak szerokim (i wysokim) kontekście. A choćby jej Lucia (Donizetti), a już na pewno Violetta (Verdi) przypominają słynne zdanie poety Wystana Hugh Audena: „Każde dobrze wzięte wysokie C obala teorię, wedle której jesteśmy nieodpowiedzialnymi marionetkami w teatrze losu i przypadku”. A choćby nawet... Gioia! - Tomasz Cyz

Tytuł płyty „Gioia!” (po włosku – radość) nawiązuje do roli Violetty z „Traviaty”, jednej z jej najwspanialszych kreacji, ale bardziej do charakteru samej artystki. Wymyślił go jej agent uzasadniając, że gdy Kurzak śpiewa, widoczna jest radość na jej twarzy. Że to prawda, zauważył pewnie każdy, kto ją widział na scenie. Jak na sopran koloraturowy jej głos ma barwę ciemną... Dzięki tej barwie jest w stanie śpiewać bardzo zróżnicowany repertuar. Wspaniale czuje się w rolach typu tzw. subretki, w których może też przy okazji pokazać na scenie swoje wielkie poczucie humoru. Równie znakomicie prezentuje się w partiach bardziej heroicznych. W operach Mozarta zachwyca zarówno jako sprytna i dowcipna Zuzanna (to od czasu debiutu jedna z jej koronnych ról), jak i jako złowroga Królowa Nocy albo też dramatyczna Donna Anna w „Don Giovannim”... Wzrusza dramatyzmem w Verdiowskich rolach nieszczęśliwych kobiet – Violetty w „Traviacie”, Gildy w „Rigoletcie”... A z drugiej strony, śmieszy i bawi w rolach kokietek: Adiny w „Napoju miłosnym” Donizettiego, sprytnej Rozyny w „Cyruliku sewilskim” Rossiniego, która to rola jest właściwie przeznaczona dla mezzosopranu (prasa brytyjska pisała o jej występie w Covent Garden, że „zachowała doskonałą równowagę między słodyczą i pikanterią”), no i Adeli w „Zemście nietoperza” Johanna Straussa – to jak dotąd jej jedyny wypad w stronę operetki... Ta płyta ma wzruszać, ale przede wszystkim, zgodnie z tytułem – cieszyć... A na zakończenie niespodzianka: bojowa i energiczna aria Hanny z IV aktu „Strasznego dworu”. Niech świat poznaje Moniuszkę w jak najlepszym wykonaniu... Na razie cieszmy się płytą. Warto było na nią czekać.

Polityka - Dorota Szwarcman

W czasie gdy firmy fonograficzne uparcie lansują kopie Anny Netrebko, a na płytach śpiewaczki popisują się głównie rozpiętością skali i beznamiętną techniką album wrocławskiej sopranistki może stać się dla melomanów ciekawą alternatywą. Aleksandra Kurzak nie proponuje wprawdzie w bel cantowych ariach ani przełomowych ani kontrowersyjnych rozwiązań, ale jej muzykalność to skarb na wagę złota... Baczną uwagę zwrócić należy na wybór arii pod kątem pokazania wszystkich wokalnych atutów Aleksandry Kurzak, a więc przede wszystkim zdumiewającej muzykalności, umiejętności kształtowania frazy w sposób pozbawiony jakiejkolwiek sztuczności, doskonałej koloratury, za sprawą której dźwięki brzmią perliście i lekko, jakby realizacja wszystkich najbardziej nawet karkołomnych ozdobników nie sprawiała solistce żadnego trudu. Posłuchajmy zwłaszcza otwierającej płytę cavatiny Rozyny „Una voce poco fa”... Kurzak mnoży przeszkody techniczne (nie wszystkie solistki dodają tak wiele koloraturowych ozdobników), a jednocześnie pokonuje je z niezwykłą brawurą i naturalnością. Perełką „Gioia!” jest aria Zuzanny z „Wesela Figara”. Z różnych powodów... daje w niej wciąż popis pokazując, jaki jest idealnie wyważony mozartowski styl. Partią marzeń (spełnionych w Seattle) była Łucja z Lammermooru w operze Gaetano Donizettiego. Kurzak wykonywała ją na amerykańskiej scenie gdy odeszła wielka Joan Sutherland, nieodżałowana wybitna sopranistka, kochana zwłaszcza za kreację Łucji. Aleksandrę Kurzak niemal obwołano w Seattle jej następczynią. Słuchając „Regnava nel silenzio” zaczynamy rozumieć, dlaczego, bo Wrocławianka konsekwentnie buduje nastrój i idealnie panuje nad emocjami, jednocześnie kreując typową romantyczną heroinę z powieści sir Waltera Scotta... Gilda z „Rigoletta” to jedna z koronnych kreacji Aleksandry Kurzak... Subtelny, miękki sopran dodaje tu uroku i tkliwości miłosnemu wyznaniu zakochanej w biednym studencie dziewczyny...

Informacje kulturalne - Magdalena Talik

What enchants the listeners in Kurzak's creations are, first of all, a freshness and a real joy of singing . . . everything seems to be properly ordered and educated. This lightness is an effect of technical precision, irreproachable diction, emotional juggle. The characters she performs are highly convincing, no matter if they are tragic or comic ones . . . she never loses her unique charm. To, co zachwyca w kreacjach Kurzak, to przede wszystkim lekkość i - rzeczywiście - radość śpiewania. U tej artystki wszystko wydaje się doskonale ułożone i skonstruowane. Ta lekkość wynika z precyzyjnie przygotowanego warsztatu. Nienaganna dykcja, gra emocji, żonglowanie nastrojami. Kurzak potrafi nas przekonać do każdej postaci, nieważne, czy tragicznej, czy filuternie zalotnej. A przy tym nigdy nie traci nic ze swego uroku.

Gazeta Wyborcza - Jacek Hawryluk

Urodziła się do bel canta i o tym świadczy Gioia! Płyta zaczyna się mocnym akcentem – Una voce poco fa z Cyrulika sewilskiego Rossiniego brzmi po prostu koncertowo. Kurzak unosi się lekko nad trudnościami tej partii. Zaraz potem pojawia się kolejna perła – aria Zuzanny z Wesela Figara, „wędrująca” po prawie całej skali głosu sopranowego. I znów lekkość. Przypomina mi się zdanie, które wypowiedziała w wywiadzie dla „Beethoven Magazine”: „Zdarza mi się fruwać”. Istotnie – posłuchajmy choćby Sempre libery z I aktu Traviaty. Gioia! jest od początku do końca znakomita. Donizetti (Łucja z Lammermooru, Napój miłosny), Bellini (Purytanie), Verdi (Rigoletto) świetnie leżą w głosie solistki. Canzona Musetty z Cyganerii Pucciniego brzmi upajająco – głos Kurzak jest płynny, „lejący się”. Może to nie skowronek, jak Gruberova, czy kryształ, jak Caballé, dawniejsze królowe koloratury. Ale w głosie Aleksandry Kurzak – elastycznym, precyzyjnym, ruchliwym – oprócz „dzwoneczków”, znajdziemy też inne tony, ciemne i mocne, jak dobre wino. Bogactwo kolorystyczne to jeszcze jeden atut polskiego sopranu. Wspaniała płyta.

Beethoven Magazine - Anna S. Dębowska

On her Decca debut, Aleksandra Kurzak shows off personality, musicality and an unmistakable sound, unusually dark and plummy in the middle for a coloratura soprano, but still bell-like on top. Kurzak makes a grand entrance with “Una voce poco fa” from “Il Barbiere di Siviglia,” sung with playful warmth ideal for Rosina and easily tossed off interpolated high notes. “Regnava nel silenzio” from “Lucia di Lammermoor” carries nice weight in its foreboding aria and a fittingly ecstatic lilt (and a serious trill) in its cabaletta... Still, it’s refreshing that this isn’t a recording of all party-trick arias — no “Der Hölle Rache,” no “Doll Song,” even though they’re both in her repertoire — but instead goes with choices that allow her to show her depth of interpretation and her growth potential. - Ronni Reich

“Gioia!” is the title of Aleksandra Kurzak‘s debut aria recital , her first international release under a new exclusive contract with Decca Music Group, and—not surprisingly—this writer’s response to the soprano’s sparkling vocalism. In the liner notes, the Polish soprano explains that the title of this recording was her agent’s suggestion: “He said that he can see the joy on my face when I’m singing. I’ve also heard from fans that listening to me sing makes them smile, because they can tell how much I enjoy performing.”trained, prodigiously gifted vocalist rewarded with celebrity. This is no media creation built on a foundation of Botox, unrestrained décolletage and marketing gimmickry. This is not to say Kurzak is less than beautiful—she is! But the emphasis here is rightly where it should be: voice, voice and more voice. By any measure, this disc is a feast of great singing. The voice is simply gorgeous with a liquid, While I don’t dispute any of that, my “joy” also derives from witnessing a well-unforced flow of limpid, pearly tone. Her approach is very instrumental and the round, flute-like appeal of her voice is immediately apparent. She possesses a flawless coloratura technique, with both precision and fleet agility. Her florid singing is refreshingly clean, the scales free of aspirates and devoid of Bartoli-like clucking. Her intonation is perfect. This is singing of uncommon quality, refinement and musicianship. The disc opens with “Una voce poco fa” from Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia, a recent Kurzak triumph in London and Verona. She sings it in the higher key of F major, allowing her to show off some truly dazzling staccati and acuti. The crystalline high notes glitter and burn but she uses other parts of her voice equally well and sings fully throughout the range. The characterization is flirtatious without resorting to annoying coyness. Kurzak is much in demand for Mozart’s Susanna and her “Deh, vieni non tardar” demonstrates why. Her rock-steady, poised legato singing and sense of line are evident throughout. What a feminine, beguiling way she has with both text and music! While the vocal line is fairly plain here, Kurzak has employed far more appogiature and ornamentation in live performance. Anyone with the good fortune to have witnessed Kurzak’s role debut as Lucia di Lammermoor in Seattle last fall already knows she is heavily favored to become her generation’s leading exponent of the iconic Donizetti heroine. She is a compelling storyteller in “Regnava nel silenzio,” conveying the rapt, hypnotic focus required. Her trills are spot on and the inclusion of the cabaletta’s second verse allows her the chance to execute some generous embellishments and interpolated high notes. Adele’s “Mein Herr Marquis” is a delightful souvenir of her soubrette days as a member of the Hamburg State Opera ensemble. She sings it with natural ease and breezy charm. “O mio babbino caro” may seem an odd choice but her girlish, unaffected manner make a positive impression and—knock me down with a feather—she uses portamenti! Kurzak made her role debut as Violetta last year in Warsaw and will introduce her portrayal to many of the world’s stages over the next few seasons. She bites into the “E strano” recitative with real passion. “Ah, fors’è lui” is a true reverie, fully capturing the vulnerability of the character’s dilemma. “Sempre libera” has both emotional depth and easily dispatched brilliance—a rare combination in this piece. She caps it all with a thrilling high E-flat. “Caro nome” is a Kurzak signature number (Gilda was her debut role at La Scala and one familiar to Met audiences). Her sound blends exquisitely with the flutes and the final cadenza is perfectly judged and executed. Again, the flawless intonation is appreciable here... Kurzak is joined by promising Italian tenor Francesco Demuro in “Una parola, o Adina.” The two have sung these parts together at the Wiener Staatsoper and they are a winning duo. Demuro’s warm timbre contrasts nicely with Kurzak’s cooler sound. While listening to this, I had an association to my first experiences hearing Kathleen Battle in her youth. Kurzak displays the same devastatingly seductive purity of tone and simple, direct utterance that made Battle so cherishable. Musetta’s Waltz is utterly bewitching: Kurzak is content to let the music do its work without layering on fake sexiness and breathy attacks. (Incidentally, she sings her first Mimi for Naples in May 2012.) The disc concludes with a scena from Moniuszko’s The Haunted Manor, a comic work deeply loved by the Polish opera community. It’s a honey of an aria, with a solo violin supplying some virtuosic obbligato accompaniment. Kurzak is proud of her Polish heritage and happily serves as an ambassador for Polish culture. Omer Meir Wellber provides sensitive support on the podium and both Kurzak and the Orquestra de la Comunitat Valenciana are well-served by the recording engineers. All in all, this is a triumphant offering from an artist whom I believe to be most important vocal discovery of the past five years. This is a long overdue rebuttal to an industry obsessed with Coppertoned divas capable of executing Madonna-like choreography but who couldn’t sing their way out of a Mozart phrase if their lives depended upon it. May Kurzak enjoy the same long and fruitful partnership with Decca that Joan Sutherland did during her career. Highly recommended! - Enzo Bordello

Allow me to begin my praise of this CD by quoting from my 2010 review of an unforgettable debut at Seattle Opera: 'Aleksandra Kurzak, in her first time as Lucia, scored the kind of triumph one seldom gets to witness. And not just for her singing. Oh yes, she has a gorgeous, warm, large, and perfectly controlled voice, with all the musicianship one could wish for. Her high E-flats were absolutely confident and so well focused that, without great volume, they could easily be heard over the entire chorus and orchestra at full bore. And she has a real trill (rare these days) and accurate coloratura to burn... Now, with her first CD, Gioia! on Decca, you have a chance to evaluate this young Polish soprano, even if you missed her stage performance. What you will find is vocalism with almost no faults and a whole lot of virtues. The voice is gorgeous and very well recorded. Her technique is nearly flawless. Now, imagine a singer who sounds perfect but cautiously executes every note. Then imagine another soprano who sings just as perfectly but sounds like she is eager for every challenging phrase, whose voice conveys not caution but joyful exuberance. That's Aleksandra Kurzak! It's clear why her producer chose Gioia! for the title of this CD... Nonetheless, this is an exciting recording debut. Her singing makes one smile, such is the obvious joy with which she launches into each aria. Included are the usual favorite lyric arias, everything from Violetta's 'Sempre libera' and Rossina's 'Una voce poco fa' to Gilda's 'Caro mome.' The only unusual number is a delightful recitative and aria from the Polish opera Straszny dwór by Stanislaw Moniuszko (1819-'72).

Seattle Gay News - Rod Parke

The title of the young Polish soprano‘s CD debutis a cliche but one befitting theenergy with which she dispaches top notes, both written and unwritten. London has done well by Aleksandra Kurzak – seven roles at Covent Garden since 2005, several of which can be sampled here. So, what’s special? The tone quality of the voice, in which apparently endless sparkle is subtly coloured by darker, East European tints. The accurancy of pitch and intervals (the London Times used a cricketing anatology, „straight sixes“, to describe her virtuosity in Matilde di Shabran. The ability to act with the voice (Adele and Lauretta, which follow each other here, sound really radically different). Also, and it’s not as common as you may think, she conveys a real sence of text understood... The young Israeli maestro Omer Meir Wellber, a Barenboim pupil and the new music director of Valencia’s Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia, accompanies with exceptional style and imagination.

Gramophone, October 2011 - Mike Ashman

Aleksandra Kurzak grew up in Communist Poland, where her mother, Jolanta Zmurko, was a noted soprano. Originally trained as a violinist, she began singing on a whim at 19. She now takes center stage, singing Susanna to her mother’s Countess in “The Marriage of Figaro” (Mozart’s exquisite “Deh vieni, non tardar,” though it sounds out of place among the lighter fare on this disc, is enchanting) and Adele to her mother’s Rosalinde in “Die Fledermaus.” It’s a pleasure just to hear Kurzak nail the notes in the Rossini warhorse “Una voce poco fa.” Her tone changes from note to note. Her subtlety is such that she makes even bel canto warhorses a delight — it’s fun just to listen to her voice. - Mary Kunz Goldman

Les photos que la soprano polonaise dispense sur son site internet montre l’empreinte marketing indélébile initiée par Anna Netrebko, la star russe des scènes lyriques. Poses lascives, recherche dans le regard, tout est réuni pour la vente du nouveau « produit » vocal. Et le voici dans les bacs des disquaires. Un album réunissant tous les tubes qu’une jeune soprano chantera dans ses prochaines années. De Rosine du Barbier de Séville à Lucia di Lammermoor, de Violetta de La Traviata à l’Elvira des Puritani en passant par la Musetta de La Bohème, tout y est. A se demander ce qu’elle pourrait bien chanter d’autre pour affirmer son originalité. Mais derrière cette démarche strictement commerciale, derrière l’emballage, il y a un contenu. Avec son Una voce poco fa du Barbier de Séville, Aleksandra Kurzak prend l’auditeur de court. La voix est d’une étonnante maturité, d’une sûreté d’émission étonnante. Certes, les rossiniens purs et durs opposeront à son interprétation un discutable respect de l’esprit rossinien tel qu’on le pratique de nos jours mais, entendre Maria Callas dans l’air de Rosine n’était-il pas antinomique avec le même esprit ? C’est la même impression qui surgit avec Aleksandra Kurzak. Elle s’empare de cet air avec une audace extraordinaire faisant de cette rengaine enregistrée des milliers de fois, le chant d’un véritable personnage de comédie. On retrouve la comédienne chantant un très beau Regnava nel silenzio de la Lucia di Lammermoor où émergent quelques étonnants accents callassiens. Et quelle santé ! Une voix qui semble ne pas avoir de limites, et dont les passages du registre médium à l’aigu est totalement dominé. Et puis, chose rare chez une jeune interprète, elle sait ce qu’elle chante. Sachant moduler, elle colore son instrument pour donner la réalité du personnage. Surprenante dans l’audace de ses vocalises, elle affiche une insolente aisance vocale. Ecoutez-là encore dans son Caro nome du Rigoletto de Verdi, la douceur avec laquelle elle termine sa romance la propulse au niveau des plus grandes interprètes lyriques du rôle. En résumé, avec cet album sortant sans grand tapage médiatique, on découvre une véritable révélation. Avec ce que le marché du disque nous offre actuellement, difficile de ne pas faire de comparaisons. Si la voix d’Alksandra Kurzak est aussi belle que celle d’Anna Netrebko, son chant reste beaucoup plus intéressant que celui de la star russe en ce sens que ses interprétations sont pétries d’une intelligence et d’une évidence rares chez une artiste si jeune. Un must absolu !

ResMusica - Jacques Schmitt