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Datum objave: 22.05.2020

László Polgár, Hungarian bass best known for Duke Bluebeard

LÁSZLÓ POLGÁR 1 January 1947, Somogyszentpál - 19 September 2010, Zürich

László Polgár obituary

Hungarian bass best known for Duke Bluebeard

Tchaikovsky: Eugene Onegin - Gremin's aria / Ария Гремина (László Polgár)

The Hungarian bass László Polgár, notable for his outstanding interpretation of the saturnine antihero in Bartók's opera Duke Bluebeard's Castle, has died unexpectedly at the age of 63. From the time of his international breakthrough in the early 1980s, he was renowned for the major bass roles he took at leading opera houses round the world, but it was for his assumption of Duke Bluebeard that he will be chiefly remembered. The recording he made with Jessye Norman as Judith and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Pierre Boulez won a Grammy award for best opera recording in 1999.

Born in Somogyszentpál, south-west Hungary, Polgár studied first at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music with Eva Kutrucz, from 1967 to 1972, and later privately with Hans Hotter and Yevgeny Nesterenko. Having won prizes at several major singing competitions, he made his debut at the Hungarian State Opera in 1971 as Count Ceprano in Rigoletto. Other roles he sang with that company included Osmin (Die Entführung aus dem Serail), Sarastro (Die Zauberflöte), Don Basilio (Il Barbiere di Siviglia) and Philip II (Don Carlos).

He first came to international attention when he appeared at Covent Garden in 1981 as Rodolfo in Bellini's La Sonnambula. At this time, too, he appeared as Leporello in Yuri Lyubimov's Budapest production of Don Giovanni (1982) and as Gurnemanz in András Mikó's staging of Parsifal (the first in Budapest for four decades) the following year. He was a regular guest at the Vienna State Opera, the Munich State Opera and the Paris Opera in these years, appearing too in Hamburg, and at the Salzburg and Aix-en-Provence festivals.

In 1989 he returned to Covent Garden, with the Hungarian State Opera, as Duke Bluebeard. This was a role for which he had a natural affinity and he sang it at Aix and elsewhere, including a memorable BBC Prom in 2001, as well as participating in the prizewinning recording with Boulez for Deutsche Grammophon. Polgár's deeply resonant, sepulchral voice, coupled with an impressive timbral range, enabled him to explore the mysteries of that role, fusing the sinister and vulnerable qualities of the hirsute phallocrat in a deeply satisfying reading. The Prom performance was described in the Guardian by Andrew Clements as "the definitive Bluebeard of our time, implacably dark-toned and inscrutable".

Yet, dark-hued as his voice was, Polgár could also conjure up a tone of velvety beauty – a true basso cantante – which when harnessed to impressive declamation enabled him to shine in lieder and oratorio as well as opera repertoire as varied as Mozart and Wagner.

Having won the Kossuth prize, Hungary's most prestigious cultural award, in 1990, he moved to Zurich, of whose opera he was a member from 1991. There he earned an income 20 times that of the wage he had been paid in Hungary, a point he alluded to in an interview in a Hungarian newspaper in 1994: "I do not expect the Hungarian Opera to compete with it," he said of his fee. "What I expect is respect and affection. If I get these two, I happily go home and sing there." Love and affection were, for Polgár, "the most important things in life", without which a career would be intolerable.

Polgár also taught at the Hochschule für Musik in Winterthur, Zurich, and at the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest. He was in Zurich when he died, and is survived by his wife, Agnes, and three daughters Katalin, Judit and Eva 

Laszlo Polgár bass, born 1 January 1947; died 19 September 2010

Gregor József-Kováts Kolos-Polgár László - Don Giovanni - Finálé 

László Polgár - In diesen heil'gen Hallen

László Polgár - O Isis und Osiris

László Polgár Sarastro

László Polgár - Don Carlo - Ella giammai m'amò

László Polgár as Filippo II 3/5 - Ella giammai m'amò...! (Verdi: Don Carlo)

Verdi: Don Carlo - „Son io dinanzi al Rè...?" (László Polgár, István Berczelly)

Polgár László - Ivan Szuszanyin áriája

Miklósa Erika (Zerlina) - Polgár László (Don Giovanni)

Mozart - La ci darem la mano (Polgár László és Kincses Veronika)

László Polgár & Lajos Miller (Mozart: Don Giovanni)

László Polgár: La calunnia (Rossini - Il barbiere di Siviglia)

László Polgár - La calunnia (Rossini: Il barbiere di Siviglia)

Schumann: Die beiden Grenadiere (A két gránátos) - László Polgár

Polgár László - Schubert: Der Lindenbaum (A hársfa)

Tokody Ilona-Polgár László - Rossini: Cat duet (Macskaduett)

Wagner: Parsifal - Nagypénteki varázs - Polgár László, Molnár András

László Polgár: Kodály - Hej a mohi hegy

Polgár László Örökös tagság riportfilm 4.flv

Polgár László Örökös tagság riportfilm 5.flv

Polgár László Örökös tagság riportfilm 6.flv

László Polgár: Der Leiermann

Laszlo Polgar Fiesco

László Polgár: Vecchia zimarra, senti (Puccini - La bohème)

LÁSZLÓ POLGÁR  1 January 1947, Somogyszentpál - 19 September 2010, Zürich

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