ICE Classic: Diana Damrau – the heavenly singer in Krakow

The first performance in Poland of one of the best soprano opera singers in the world made musical history in Krakow. The star of the Metropolitan Opera and La Scala performed together with the magnificent French bass-baritone Nicolas Testé, who is her husband, at one of the ICE Classic concerts. They were accompanied by one of the leading orchestra ensembles of the Czech Republic – the outstanding Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by its artistic director, Emmanuel Villaume.

This exceptional evening was Diana Damrau’s homage to the great German opera composer - Giacomo Meyerbeer. She released an album with Meyerbeer’s music Grand Opera in May of this year. Meyerbeer composed in three languages. He is regarded as the greatest composer of the French grand opera genre. He was a master of combining in an eclectic way, a variety of styles and genres – from opera seria to opera buffa.

Following a dazzling overture from the Les Huguenots,  Diana Damrau, wearing a splendid cobalt dress, welcomed the audience in  breath-taking style, with the aria Nobles seigneurs, salut! of this opera.  Another Les Huguenots aria, the battle one Pif, paf pouf was performed by Testé. Ombre légère from Dinorah, Le pardon de Ploërmel (Dinorah, The Pardon of Ploërmel), in which the heroine played by Damrau danced with her shadow, was the third aria by Meyerbeer performed that night.  Singing this aria, the artist demonstrated not only her impressive voice scale and the stunning technique of her phenomenal coloraturas, but also showed off her unbelievable acting talent, skilfully mastering the reactions of the audience. The singing couple were very convincing in the duet of Manon and her beloved’ father – Pardon, mais j’étais là from Manon by Jules Massenet. The first part of the concert was dominated by the French repertoire.  But following the intermission, the audience had the opportunity to listen to arias in Italian and German.

The second part of the evening started with a beautiful melodramatic aria Sulla rupe triste, sola from Meyerbeer’s Emma di Resburgo sung by Damrau, followed by Daland’s aria from Der fliegende Holländer (The Flying Dutchman) by Richard Wagner, presented in a magnificent performance by Testé. Meyerbeer’s aria of Therese from the Singspiel with its meaningful title  Ein Feldlager in Schlesien (A Camp in Silesia) was an interesting experience. The mood was changed with the only known composition of Amilcare Ponchielli – La Gioconda. The audience listened to the famous Danza delle ore (Dance of the Hours), which was followed by the drama-filled aria of the main heroine Si, morir ella dé. The last but one aria performer by Damrau proved to be a virtuosity or vocal fireworks – this was the famous, joy-filled Mercé dilette amiche from Giuseppe Verdi’s Les vêpres siciliennes (The Sicilian Vespers).  The concert ended with the duet of the uncle and niece O amato zio, o mio secondo padre! from the 1st act of I Puritani (The Puritans) by Vincenzo Bellini, which was performed by Damrau and her husband. The star of the evening stole the hearts of Krakow’s audience with her natural grace on stage, vocal virtuosity, breath-taking coloraturas that she performed effortlessly with unstoppable energy. It is not surprising that after all the emotions raised by the magnificent voices and stage charisma, the audience rewarded the artists with an endless standing ovation. The singers decided to end the evening with selected ‘farewell’ arias – first  Nicolas Testé bid his farewell with an aria form La Boheme which was followed by the lyrical aria  Adieu mon doux rivage from Meyerbeer’s L'Africaine (The African Woman) performed by Diana Damrau. The third encore, involved the couple singing a love duet from Porgy and Bess by George Gershwin, ended with a kiss. Opera fans could also get autographs of the heavenly Diana and Nicolas in the Foyer of ICE Krakow. 

fot. Alicja Wróblewska Black Shadow Studio

fot. Alicja Wróblewska Black Shadow Studio

fot. Alicja Wróblewska Black Shadow Studio

fot. Alicja Wróblewska Black Shadow Studio

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All journalists interested in the events organized in the ICE Kraków, please contact

Michał Zalewski
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