Teatr Wielki Opera Narodowa
Kazimierz Pustelak

   One of the greatest Polish post-war opera singers, a prize-winner of international vocal competitions, long-time soloist of the Warsaw opera house, singer of countless tenor parts in operas and oratorio/cantata repertoire, featured on many radio recordings and albums, eminent teacher of vocal art. Born in Nowa Wieś near Rzeszów, he began his vocal studies with Prof. Maria Świerzawska in Rzeszów, continuing them in Kraków with Prof. Czesław Zaremba. He was a student of agriculture at Jagiellonian University at the same time. Józef Gaczyński was another of his vocal teachers.

   His career began in Kraków, where he collaborated with the opera house and the radio. The parts he sang included Lensky in Tchaikovsky's "Eugene Onegin", Pinkerton in Puccini's "Madame Butterfly", the Duke of Mantua in Verdi's "Rigoletto", Count Almaviva in Rossini's "Il Barbiere di Siviglia", Rodolfo in Puccini's "La Bohème", and the title role in Offenbach's "The Tales of Hoffmann". He has numerous recordings of opera, oratorio, and operetta repertoire to his credit. He was very active as a concert singer at philharmonics all over the country. The crowning events of this period were two prizes from international vocal competitions: a Silver Medal in Moscow (1957) and a Gold Medal in Toulouse (1960). In 1960 he received a scholarship to attend a course for opera singers at Milan's La Scala, where he prepared six opera parts and took part in performances of excerpts from Rossini's operas at the Small Scala.

   Upon returning to Poland, he joined the Warsaw Opera, moving to the Teatr Wielki with the company and becoming one of the main interpreters of tenor parts across the range of our theatre's opera repertoire. He has performed in practically all the countries of Europe as well as in America and Asia. Without interrupting his vocal career, in 1971 he also started teaching at the State Higher School of Music in Warsaw. He was the dean of its vocal department in 1972-1982. Later at the Academy of Music in Warsaw, he was an associate professor. He has trained a dozen or so very good singers who have already won leading positions at opera houses in Poland and other countries. They also include prize-winners of international vocal competitions. For his artistic and teaching achievements, Kazimierz Pustelak has received a Knight's Cross of the Polonia Restituta Order (1964) and the Award of the Ministry of Culture and Art - second degree (1977) and first degree (1992). He celebrated the 40th anniversary of his artistic career on 11 June 1995 at the Teatr Wielki in Warsaw, singing the part of Stefan in Moniuszko's "The Haunted Manor".


Photo: Wanda Bietkowska