Tuesday, 21 September 2010

László Polgár - moving personal tribute

László Polgár, who died unexpectedly on Sunday, was a wonderful bass, who sang with  feeling and authority.  Yet he was also a man with personality. It does make a difference if an artist has soul. Once I met a TV actress famous for playing feisty. In real life, she was, one might say, a "blank canvas" who'd take on any projection. In opera, I hope and believe, it helps that the performer cares deeply enough  to know their music "from within" so when they communicate, it's more than outward form.

So here is a personal tribute from someone who appreciated Polgár very deeply. In the media, we usually read standardized bumpf but this is different. It's extremely moving because it's sincere and genuine.

"He was a wonderful example of what is sometimes termed a 'bass noble'. His dark and resonant voice, always expressive, was produced through an excellent technique that served him well in all ranges. This was coupled with an innate dignity of delivery -- well, Laszlo was about as noble as they come."

"Having said that, I have to admit that the role in which I perhaps loved him the most was Leporello! He could be very funny when he wanted to be. The most disreputable Pistola that ever was! And his Basilio was simply a hoot."

"These were just fun things, though -- his serious repertoire included Filippo, Gurnemanz, Arkel, Gremin. Major roles in all languages, in theaters around the world. But the role for which he will always be remembered is Bartok's Bluebeard. He sang the part innumerable times all over the world; it fitted like a glove."

"Anyone who ever heard him in a Liederabend will have wonderful memories of the evening. I remember hearing him sing 'Auch kleine Dinge können uns entzücken' and thinking that he was a stellar example of one who understood the art of intimate communication as well as the big scope needed for a Sarastro of monumental stature."

"He communicated effortlessly in many languages; he loved to rehearse even more than he loved to perform; he was a strikingly handsome man who often made jokes about his big nose: 'Nature blessed me with this nose, I didn't invent it myself!'"


Unknown said...

Thank you very much for sharing this. The writer obviously knew Polgar personally; the comments are written from the heart.

I heard Polgar many times, in opera and in concert. One was always aware of a fierce intelligence and a mighty heart. And then there was that voice, the perfect instrument for his individual expression, which seemed to reach every listener personally.

Doundou Tchil said...

Thank you Jochen. Artists like Polgar are so good, we feel we know them as closely as our own family. As you guessed it's written by someone who did know and care. For me the personal touch always most precious ! ,