“No Make-Up!”…Piotr Beczala

Piotr Beczalas name is definitely no stranger to everyone who loves opera. He surely is one of the most internationally acclaimed tenors nowadays. Currently starring in Rigoletto at Opéra de Paris, Beczala will star in many important productions. In March, he will debut as Des Grieux in Massenet’s Manon at the Met in New York (which will also be broadcast in HD), then he will be in Zurich for La Bohème and Un Ballo in maschera and in Vienna, at Staatsoper, for Lucia di Lammermoor. After singing  Bohème at the Salzburg Festival (August 2012), Beczala will sing Rodolfo at La Scala in Milan in September 2012. For further information on this artist, you can visit his website.
Which is the main feature of your personality?
Honesty, I am also very serious about my work.  I like people… 
Your worst flaw?
Ask my wife. 
Which is your star sign?
Are you superstitious?
Not more than other normal  people (not singers).
Are you a spiritual person?
Yes , but I still have both feet on the ground.
Have you ever envied someone?
Never , I am free from jealousy.
What did you dream to become as an adult when you were a child?
My dream was to be a Ship’s Captain.
Did your family influence your choices?
Not at all before I started to sing , but now we (my wife Kasia and I) make all  decisions together.
Which is your most cherished memory?
My 40th birthday.  My wife invited my friends to surprise me in Krakow, we spent the afternoon in a salt mine in Wieliczka , had dinner in a restaurant 130 meters underground and finally landed in an old Polish Manor It was the last time I was able to spend some time with my great friend Wojtek Drabowicz who died four months later in a car crash.
The moment you felt the proudest?
After my last Edgardo in Lucia in my second season at the Met . When I stepped onto the stage for my solo bow it started to “rain” confetti from above the stage.  I didn’t know what it is meant but my friends told me that happens very rarely and means “ we love you” from the audience…It was a very special moment.
The greatest disappointment?
I don’t have one … I learned from my wife to see all situations in a positive way, which is not always easy.
What’s missing in your life today?
Time for vacation , without thinking about singing.
What are you afraid of the most?
To not be needed…
Do you have a recurrent dream?
Yes , a single handicap in golf and to play with Sean Connery on the Old Course at St . Andrews.
How important is money to you?
At our level, we singers are making good money , but I am singbecause I love to and money is secondary.
Which is the item you like spending money on the most?
You mean , something for fun?? That would be my new “toy” – an old timer  from 1958 !  I took four years to restore it and it is wonderful now!
Do you collect anything?
Except good memories?  I have a couple of nice watches, and I love old long play recordings.
Which are your favorite readings?
I try to read a lot, whatever I can get.  I especially enjoy Polish literature , but also some mystery thrillers by international writers, my favorite now is Paulo Coelho and his mystic, philosophic world. 
Which is your favorite perfume?
I buy perfume to my wife;   for myself it is different in summer and winter… currently “Bel Ami” from Hermè.
Favorite city?
Paris, New York, Vienna and Krakow!!!
Favorite color?
Favorite flower?
My wife loves Lilies of the Valley and orchids.
Your favourite singers?
Fritz Wunderlich , Tito Schipa, Georges Thill, Sergiej Lemeschev, Jussi Bjoerling.
Which is the first record you ever bought?
A Fritz Wunderlich recital.
The film you love the most?
All James Bond…!
Your favorite season and why?
I love all Four Seasons (not only Vivaldi’s). I am happy with snow in winter and sun and heat in summer.  I like balance in life and four seasons are a part of it!  Many generations ago, my family came from Italy and another part from Sweden , which makes it hard to decide.
How is your relationship with technology and which is the electronic gadget you can’t do without?
Technology is very important today; it is a time of communication. But to be honest the only electronic gadget which I really need is my own brain!
How’s your attitude towards TV ?
TV is a part of our lives, whether someone likes it or not.  It is especially important in art and culture!
How is your relationship with politics?
My profession is international and it means not being political! Music is non-political or should be, I have of course my political opinion , like everybody .  I like pure democracy as it exists in Switzerland, a small country where all important questions are decided by the people.
Do you have causes that are very important for you?
Yes, too many!  From big to small things. What is most important is “World Peace” but also to respect other people and not hurt anybody. There should be less greed.
Day or night?
Day and night.
Which is the situation you consider the most relaxing?
Relaxing is a pure luxury in these days… I am looking for it whenever I can , because it is so important to find relaxation after stress. I go outdoors , walking in the mountains to hear the sound of nature, breathing FRESH air deeply!
Tell us your ideal day.
I wake up late, make breakfast together with my wife Kasia, enjoy it on the terrace of our country house;  after a nice round of golf with friends, go back home to prepare the barbecue (that is my job),have a great evening with friends ending with playing bridge and having wine and hearing Fritz Wunderlich singing Viennese songs… that is perfect!
Which is your hideaway?
That’s Zabnica, our country home in Poland, in the mountains with a small creek at the end of the road;  no cellphone service. and only three hours by car to Vienna. 
What’s the soundtrack to your everyday life?
I am singing in my head, mostly the new music which I am studying at that moment …
What do you miss the most when you’re away from home?
Home?  We try to create a “home” wherever we are at that moment! My wife is great at this! We rent apartments for long stays in Paris , London or Munich and after couple of small fix-ups we have a home. We have our own homes in Krakow , Switzerland and New York.  Someday, we will create a real HOME  , that is our plan for the future!
The holiday or the trip you’d like to take?
Many ideas… a trip along the west coast from San Diego to the north of USA with a camper , or ten days going from one château to another in France with friends and a driver to taste the great wines or on a boat in the Caribbean  Islands.
What or who makes you feel embarrassed?
People without class… someone whose behavior indicates bad upbringing .
How would you define your relation with food ?
Oh! I love good food, but I have to be careful; quality not quantity, like some tenors with pasta after the performance !!
Mediterranean diet, macrobiotics or fast food?
Mediterrean: Spain , France , Italy or Greece But nooooo fast food!  
Your favourite dish?
I love the antipasti in Italy and Greece , terrines and paté’ in France , Serrano ham and steaks in Spain. I love good fish as well. I have to stop thinking about it. This is making me hungry.  
Red or white wine
Red , but it depends on the food of course , I don’t like the new style which does not differentiate.   Chardonnay with duck is maybe “cool” but it tastes bad or even worse Merlot with grilled shrimp . Brrrrrr! You kill the wine and the food at the same time. What a pity!
Which is the place where cooking is the worst ever?
North Pole.
Was music a vocation?
Not at the beginning, but now … YES. It is also an obligation! I am singing not only for me , but for the public , critics and at times just for fun.  I am doing it also for the next generation of singers to show them the way.
What would you want someone who doesn’t know your voice to listen to?
Come to the performance and we will talk about it afterwards!
If you were granted the chance to choose a role, which one would it be?
For already many years, I am enjoying this wonderful and comfortable situation.  I am singing roles which I like and think are good for my voice: Faust , Werther , Romeo , Duca , Lensky but I would like someday to sing  Verdi’s Otello.  I hope my singers’s  life is not too short to make this happen.
What do you do an hour prior to go on stage?
I am always at the opera house one and a half hours before the start and I warm up a little; then I am going to makeup ,get in my costume, , finish warming up the voice and start!  What’s never missing in your dressing room?
No special routine, no pictures or a talisman.  I need fresh air,  nice atmosphere and my wife with her happy smile!
What do you  think of when looking at yourself in the mirror?
Before the performance starts: who is that guy???  Faust?? … I try hard to imagine the person who I am playing , my character, not myself! It helps to be believeable on stage. Privately I am agreeing with myself , with who I am , what I am doing with my life… let’s shave!
Your mood at the moment?
Great, but it is Monday.
What’s your motto?
With honesty go your way…