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Olomoucký deník - Tribute to Gustav Mahler, Concert review, April 2011

Olomoucký deník daily newspaper, 5.4.2011, David Kaňovský

Artists in Concert Paying Tribute to Gustav Mahler

A concert in tribute to Gustav Mahler took place in the Corpus Christi Chapel of Palacký University Art Centre in Olomouc, on Wednesday, March 30. A soloist of the Moravian Theatre opera company, mezzosoprano Barbora Polášková, accompanied by pianist Milada Jehličková, appeared in a programme from song cycles of Vítězslava Kaprálová, Alma Mahler, Jan Vičar, and Gustav Mahler.

The evening was opened by the cycle, Selected Songs, from the pen of Vítězslava Kaprálová, an outstanding woman composer of the first half of the 20th century. A set of five songs in which the composer succeeded in capturing on a very small scale the inner atmosphere of the individual texts, was rendered by Ms Polášková in a highly expressive manner, yet at the same time with the utmost sensitivity. Perhaps the only minor reservation would concern a touch of unease felt on some of the singer´s high notes.

The second part of the concert featured the song cycle by Gustav Mahler´s wife, Alma Mahler, entitled Sämtliche Lieder. The cycles´s six numbers proved the perfect match for Barbora Polášková´s thoroughly natural and at the same time distinctly individual voice. Her deeply felt account of the series brought to surface the ardent emotion with which Alma wrote her songs. ...

After the intermission came the time for Jan Vičar´s cycle of Four Songs to the words of Jiří Žáček. ... The playful combination of Jiří Žáček´s verse with a melodious vocal line and modern piano accompaniment gave rise to a fresh song cycle whose performance by the two interpreters ushered into the chapel´s interior an atmosphere of serene joy.

The concert´s final part bore the hallmark of its title, with the rendition of Gustav Mahler´s song cycle, Kindertotenlieder. The “Songs of Dead Children” is a solemn, even sorrowful collection, in whose musical element the composer manifested a touch of genius in linking the various song lines whose vocal and instrumental components are intertwined in an indivisible whole. Ms Polášková made a virtually flawless display of her velvety-hued voice in getting across Mahler´s yearning. Moreover, here even the high notes were rendered with all due brilliance, without the least sign of falter.

The concert as a whole deserves praise as an outstanding occasion. Both interpreters performed with impeccable co-ordination, the result being a rare evening of musical delight. This was a tribute to Mahler in the truest sense of the term.

 

Opera PLUS - Helena Havlíková´s Operatic Panorama, Opera 2011: First Sights

Opera PLUS, 8.3.2011, Helena Havlíková

Helena Havlíková´s Operatic Panorama, Opera 2011: First Sights

A promising talent has been acquired by the Olomouc Opera in the person of Barbora Polášková. Her reading of Carmen builds on the assets of this very young mezzo: at first sight a charming ingenue endowed with a pliant, well balanced voice, deep down she is perfectly aware of the kind of bait men are ever ready to jump at, and she knows how to “snap.” She would still need some more experience to achieve a truly all-round portrayal, expression-wise, of the unbridled, violently passionate female character, plus a stage direction which would help her find a wider register of acting devices.

 

Hudební rozhledy - Concerts with Zdeněk Mácal and Prague Symphony Orchestra, March 2011

Hudební rozhledy magazine, No. 3/2011, p. 14, Ludvík Kašpárek

Review of the concerts with Zdeněk Mácal and Prague Symphony Orchestra, 26th and 27th of January 2011.

Appearing before the audience as the songs´ interpreter was the exquisite mezzo-soprano, Barbora Polášková. The convincingness with which this young artist gave proof of her ambitions as one of the most notable representatives of the up-and-coming generation of singers, was truly awesome. She demonstrated flawless feeling for the atmosphere of each song, her cultured voice carrying without any problem, with utter ease and avoiding even the slightest hint of excessive force, over the orchestral web modelled with great restraint by Mácal. What proved particularly imposing was not just the sheer volume, but also the range of her pleasant voice, resonant even in extreme registers. 

 

Opera PLUS - Eugene Onegin, opera review, February 2011

Opera PLUS, 11.2.2011, Zdena Plachá

A Stark Onegin at the Moravian Theatre Olomouc

On the new production´s second night, Onegin was guest performed by Filip Tůma, Elena Gazdíková was Tatyana, Barbora Polášková sang Olga, and Milan Vlček was Lensky. This time out, the voices of Olga and Tatyana sounded delectably sweet and well balanced, with every word perfectly discernible to this writer from the start. Elena Gazdíková´s singing and acting were equally brilliant; though her voice may be rather more suited for coloratura parts, it does display a thrilling palette in lyrical ones as well. Barbora Polášková´s dramatic and vocal skills, too, left a much more lasting imprint on memory. All in all therefore, I found that account of the first act much more enticing. ... To me, the second night was in more than a few respects a hugely more exciting show. A pity then that this cast didn´t get the chance to be on stage for the opening performance.

 

Opera PLUS - Concert with Eva Urbanová, concert review, October 2010

Opera PLUS, 14.10.2010, Ondřej Šupka

Eva Urbanová vs Václav Klaus - concert for the First Lady - Spanish Hall, Prague Castle, 12th of October 2010.

Urbanová, however, was not the night´s only soloist, for she invited the young mezzo, Barbora Polášková, to “help her out.” The latter delivered her accounts of both lullabies from Smetana´s The Kiss, Rosina´s aria “Una voce poco fa” from Rossini´s Il barbiere di Siviglia, and Dalila´s aria “Mon coeur s´ouvre à ta voix” from Saint-Saëns´ opera Samson et Dalila. Polášková impressed the audience by a pliant voice which tackled the abundance of Rossini coloraturas not just with technical assurance, but also with pleasurable absence of pomposity.

Read more: Opera PLUS - Concert with Eva Urbanová, concert review, October 2010

 

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