"A great organ of a voice

Podles opened her recital with music we never hear: five little songs of her illustrious early 19th-century countryman, Frederic Chopin. We might have expected her to sound like cannon hunting quail, but no. Podles confided them with perfect delicacy and every discretion, sure of the idiom and with a larger-than-linguistic sense of the Polish that made the words an indivisible part of the music. What Podles does with these songs may well take them out of the overwhelming shadow of Chopin's piano music and create a revival of interest in them.
From those intimate, romantic revelations, Podles moved into full operatic form with the vocal cantata Arianna a Nasso by Franz Joseph Haydn. Again, music we never hear, but thrilling to encounter in this phenomenal singer's account of it.

Podles pulled out all the stops in her great organ of a voice to let its emotions pour forth. The audience was swept away, bellowed its admiration, and sent Podles and her capable young Polish piano collaborator Ania Marchwinska off and back onto the platform several times on a tide of unflagging applause. "

March 20, 2007

by Ken Winters