900 miles from home

1st June, 2015

What got you started? When did your adventure in classical music begin?
I’ve always wanted to be a musician.  I was 4 years old when I heard opera for the first time. When I turned seven, I attended a music school, where I learnt to play the piano and clarinet. I performed jazz music before being pulled towards gospel music. I played with several bands. However, I was never as confident playing instruments as I was singing.

I fell completely in love with opera and started my training to become a professional opera singer. I graduated with a distinction from the Music Academy in Lodz, where I was taught by Wlodzimierz Zalewski. He also taught renowned baritone - Mariusz KwiecieĊ„.

Who influenced you musically?
My father. He is a true inspiration. He initially trained as an opera singer before turning to gospel music. After years of performing, he eventually decided to become a minister. Although he chose to follow a different path, music will always be in his heart.

Who or what have you sacrificed for music?
I believe you must sacrifice something in order to succeed in life. Me; I sacrificed my friends and family.

In order to become a great singer, you must have the best education; something I feel I couldn’t have had in Poland. I had to leave.

My parents have always been supportive of my choices in life. They all love music. They follow all of my performances and I truly thank them for their love and support. I hope they’re proud of me.

What made you decide to come to Cardiff and study at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama?
After 3 years of vocal training in Lodz I decided I wanted to expand my horizons and study abroad. After numerous auditions and internal vocal competitions, I was granted a full scholarship to the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. I graduated with distinction from the Master of Arts Opera Performance Course in 2013.

How does music education in the UK differ from that in Poland?
Different methods of teaching are used in the UK and in Poland.

In Poland, I was taught to sing as loud as possible; to show off the voice. This resulted in losing the lightness, colour and beauty of the voice.

I was taught to sing differently in the UK. Emphasis was placed on flexibility and freedom of voice. It’s easy, natural and delicate.

People don’t want to see you struggling on stage. They want to see you flourish, and having the time of your life. I have become much more confident in my abilities and I’ve found a new truth in what I’m singing about. I’ve also had more opportunities to develop as a singer since moving to the UK. My sacrifices have been worth it.

Who’s your favourite composer?
My favourite composer is Peter Tchaikovsky. I adore all of his works, especially his song, ‘Reconciliation’ which I have been fortunate enough to perform.

What’s been your most memorable experience so far?
My most memorable experience so far was performing Flora’s Servant in La Traviata with Glyndebourne Festival Opera at the Dublin Opera House. I felt privileged to have the opportunity to sing in this production. The atmosphere we created, as a team, during the show was extraordinary. It was an unforgettable moment in my life. It was thrilling and touching to have a standing ovation at the end.

What’s been your most nerve-racking performance to date?
I will never forget Welsh National Youth Opera’s production of Paul Bunyan at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff. I sang the role of Hel Helson and it was my debut on the main stage. I stood on a shed, centre stage, surrounded by darkness. A single spotlight fell on me as I prepared for my aria.  I was so nervous. I’ve never felt such adrenaline.  I will never forget it.

Where and what would you like to sing in five years’ time?
Eugene Onegin, Toreador, Rigoletto would be fantastic roles to take on. I would love to appear on stage at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in 5 years' time. Who knows what fate has in store for me.

What’s your dream?
One day I would like to combine my musical life with my family and religion. They’ve given me so much in life and for that I will be forever grateful.

If you weren’t singing opera, what do you think you’d be doing now?
If I was not a singer, I would definitely become a dancer. It is my second passion. Dancing can express emotions in the same way as singing, which I find so beautiful. I discovered my love for dancing 10 years ago and had the opportunity to train at a dance school for several years. Unfortunately, it was impossible to fully develop both skills, so I sacrificed dance. I have not danced intensively for about 3 years now but would like to revisit dancing at some point in the future.