Karina Skrzeszewska – 9th Ranking of Actors in Krakow

This is probably the first time in the nine year history of actor rankings which I have been preparing when I have mentioned the name of an opera singer. Karina Skrzeszewska, an outstanding soprano from the Krakow Opera has definitely earned this distinction. Her creation in the marvellous theatre production directed by Magdalena Łazarkiewicz – Anna Bolena by Gaetano Donizetti is one of the most important acting (not just vocal) enchantments of the season. Skrzeszewska breaks away from the usual manner of performing and presenting bel canto roles which to me have always had something over the top about them, an old fashioned ingratiation. Meanwhile, together with the outstanding film director, Skrzeszewska has managed to prove that the role of The Queen of England, second wife of Henry VIII is precisely a contemporary dramatic acting challenge. Skrzeszewska, presenting as if she was one of the characters in a Caravaggio painting, speaks passionately of abuse, betrayal and hypocrisy. In the times of Anne Boleyn and contemporarily. And she sings like an angel!

Łukasz Maciejewski, 11.01.2019, “Polska Gazeta Krakowska” no. 9
Anna Bolena, photo by Dariusz Pawelec

Karina Bolena

It so happened that I visited the Krakow Opera to watch the second premiere of Anna Bolena by Donizetti together with the majority of the local critics (yesterday a concert by the Nurnberg Orchestra was performed here). It was worth it.

I saw this most prominent bel canto role once, exactly five years ago in Lodz. The main character in that performance was Joanna Woś who was ideally suited for this royal and challenging part. Karina Skrzeszewska whom I had the opportunity to admire today is her equal in beauty, singing voice and dramatic talent. I don’t know why she usually performs in the second cast at this theatre – she deserves to be more appreciated. (Back then in Lodz she performed in the second cast but I did not see her).

So as I have mentioned, Karina Skrzeszewska gives a truly royal performance in this role.

Dorota Szwarcman, 26.05.2018, Polityka”

The alphabet of the Polish Opera: the power of the female voice

She showed that you can move up from the back row and become a star. The Krakow Opera stage is reigned by a different artist so her place is in the second cast. This was how she presented herself last season in two major roles which are usually reserved for the world’s greatest stars: as Norma and Anna Boleyn in Vincenzo Bellini’s two operas. In both roles she was able to show what bel canto can achieve when the artist knows how to combine beautiful singing of sweet melodies, which can only be composed by the Italians, with the power of dramatic expression conveying the abundance of human passions.

Jacek Marczyński, 28.06.2018, Onet.pl website

The performance of „Anna Bolena” at the Krakow Opera. About the tyranny which condemns women to suffering

The greatest thing about the Sunday performance was the title role performed by Karina Skrzeszewska (second cast).

Łukasz Gazur, 30.05.2018, Dziennik Polski”

Anna Bolena at the Krakow Opera – A directing misunderstanding, wonderfully conducted

Karina Skrzeszewska (Anna Bolena) – is a singer with extraordinary vocal capabilities. She has a phenomenal soprano with thundering low tones, beautiful meds and exceptional, electrifying high tones – I have not heard such for a long time. [.…] She has built her part marvellously. You could picture all the emotions on her face, in her gestures and body posture. She was fantastic in her role as Anna Bolena. Huge congratulations!

Oskar Świtała, 29.05.2018, Sympatycy sztuki website

Monumentale, ma non troppo

Whilst writing about the final scenes of the performance one simply has to highlight the great vocal and physical shape of Karina Skrzeszewska who plays the lead part. The effort she has put into her singing and acting of the story, the moods, dilemmas and the final helpless, crazy despair of her character is incredibly intensive. Her acting and vocal shape are admirable.

Juliusz Tyszka, 08.06.2018, Teatralny.pl

“Anna Bolena” Gaetano Donizetti

What are music, set design and costumes in opera without the singing? Everyone sang perfectly. No one however could equal the voice of the title role of the Queen, Karina Skrzeszewska. Her whole performance, right to the dramatic finale, was wonderful. The finale (Coppia iniqua) made one’s back tingle and was incredibly impactful. It was awarded with the biggest applause I have ever heard at the Krakow Opera.

Paweł Tondera, 29.05.2018, KULTURALNE MEDIA website

The destructive power of love. “Anna Bolena” at the Krakow Opera

Karina Skrzeszewska in the role of Anna embodies an honourable heroine. Her royal gestures and looks make her seem much more composed. The more poignant are the moments when her explosive temperament and oversensitivity make themselves known. Karina Skrzeszewska managed to create an extremely complex character which is authentic and universal. What is more, she sings with true virtuosity. Her world-class Italian bel canto is pure delight for the listeners.

Beata Fisher, 28.05.2018, Vissi d’arte website

Anna Bolena in Krakow 29.05.2018

In one of the reviews which appeared on the internet after the performance on the 26th May the critic used a beautiful and extremely appropriate expression “Karina Bolena”. How aptly! I couldn’t agree more with this critic and I would even like to own a t-shirt imprinted with these words! I doubt if there is at all an opera singer in Poland apart from Karina Skrzeszewska who would be able to perform this role like she does. The second act in particular is a true bel canto and acting masterpiece.

Female singers in opera are wonderful and Karina is an absolutely captivating embodiment of the female opera power – she is a diva! In her beautiful dresses (costumes by Maria Balcerek) – purple and gold, which emphasize the Queen’s imperious character but also in the modest white petticoat in which Anna walks to the scaffold, Karina looks striking. She leads her character through the meanders of loneliness, emotions, fear of rejection, firmness of character, madness and most of all the music notes in a truly genius way. Captivating and addictive from the very beginning to the very end – an opera heroine!

Nadia Attavanti, 29.05.2018, BLOG

The two faces of Norma

Karina Skrzeszewska, a gifted dramatic soprano, performing the heroic characters of the Italian bel canto has been an indisputable heroine of the second premiere. The artist of Greek descent presented not only high vocal culture but also an interpretation filled with genuine emotions. Her Norma was a suffering, humiliated woman who aroused true compassion but also a confident and proud one aware of the sacrifice she was making. Skrzeszewska managed to bear the weight of her role and sang brilliantly in her duets with Paolo Lardizzone from Sicily (Pollione) and with Agnieszka Cząstka (Adalgisa).

The audience appreciated the honesty of her artistic expression and awarded Karina Skrzeszewska with a long applause. Such emotions make it worthwhile to watch performances which are production-wise average but with the appropriate singer-actors turn into moving and important spectacles.

Mateusz Borkowski, 10.01.2018, Ruch muzyczny”

THEATRE OF DESIRES AND EMOTIONS; the most important trait was meticulousness (Norma)

The premiere of Norma at the Krakow Opera. […] Also Karina Skrzeszewska inspired with her beautiful and rich vocal timbre and brilliant coloraturas. Her lyrical scenes were moving.

Anna Woźniakowska, 01.11.2017, Polska Muza blog

The moving Norma in Krakow

Among all the soloists of the second premiere (Saturday, 28th October) Karina Skrzeszewska, successfully singing the virtuoso part of the lead character, stood out as a true revelation. Gifted with a beautiful soprano and strong tones in every register she impressed with mastery and subtleness in leading the bel canto phrase and confident coloratura passages. Her creation sparkled with a pallet of extreme emotions which allowed the artist to present a fully dramatic picture of a woman torn between love and hate. The grand scene presenting the ritual of cutting mistletoe by Norma featuring the famous “Casta Diva” aria as its central part, sung in a subtle and moving way, was exquisite […].

It has to be said that the audience created a wonderful and welcoming atmosphere for the artists from the very beginning of the performance. Most of the arias and duets were applauded and at the end of the performance all the artists and producers in the show received a standing ovation. Genuine tears of emotion were shed by Karina Skrzeszewska who received a particularly loud ovation.

Adam Czopek, 30.10.2017, MAESTRO website

The Traviata in Gdansk

The cast was dominated by Karina Skrzeszewska who performed the part of Violetta with true passion and vocal virtuosity. The artist presented a genuine yet subtle portrait of a woman who is prepared to make any sacrifice in the name of her unconditional love. A subtly lyrical creation combined with the poignant power of dramatic expression […].

The great duet of Violetta and Father Alfred in the second act was a true masterpiece.

Adam Czopek, 10.10.2018, MAESTRO Portal
Nabucco, photo by Maciej Urlich

An eclectic take on history (Nabucco)

You cannot help but get the impression that Karina Skrzeszewska in her guest appearance as Abigail stole the show. The audience applauded every one of her arias and her acting was as good as her singing.

Aleksandra Wach, 22.10.2018, Teatralia” online magazine, no. 262/2018

There is no solace in power. The premiere of „Nabucco” in Opera Bałtycka

Skrzeszewska created the most interesting part in „Nabucco” – her pent up emotions exploded during the „Abigeille Aria” and her duets with Shkurhan made for the best dramatic and vocal moments of the performance.

Łukasz Rudziński, 26.05.2018, Kultura.trojmiasto.pl

Verdi in the tone of bel canto

„…And that was why the final confession „Su me… morente… esamine” sung in long gentle phrases was so poignant and Abigaille, usually pictured in a one-dimensional manner, was presented with more complex and pleasant traits. Karina Skrzeszewska who mainly performs at Opera Śląską is an experienced bel canto singer. She had sung the parts of Lucia di Lammermoor and Mary Stuart before but this was the first time she created such a dramatic part. In Abigail’s most important aria preceded by an expressive „Ben io t’invenni” […] recitative she presented the ability to naturally move within the whole scale and added to that some light and effortless coloraturas.

Jacek Marczyński, 30.06.2018, e-teatr website

The King of Babylon sings in Gdansk

Karina Skrzeszewska created the most interesting part in this performance. She presented the part of Abigaille, the King’s evil daughter, as a character from a bel canto opera, both subtle and dramatic.

Jacek Marczyński, 28.05.2018, Rzeczpospolita