Wieslaw Ochman in Concert

Bouquets and Bravos

Washington, D.C. - A filled-to-capacity audience was most privileged to hear internationally renown Polish tenor Wieslaw Ochman, and his guest artists, excel in a concert here at the Embassy of the Republic of Poland on March 8, 2006. The Polish Library in Washington and Embassy co-sponsored the event, hosted by Counselor Mariusz Brymora, Head of Culture & Public Affairs. Son Maciej Ochman and his wife Dorota were the concert's prime and tireless generators.

A Living Legend Sings On - Wieslaw Ochman, the anointed doyen of Poland's tenors, was featured in a concert of Polish and international music at the Embassy of Poland in Washington, D.C. Pictured above (from left) are sopranos Aleksandra Stoklosa and Renata Dobosz, with Wieslaw Ochman, all taking their bows after their performance. Ignacy Jan Paderewski looks on from his portrait in the background. (click inside the image to magnify it)

Led by the vibrant, melodic voice of Ochman, there occurred a beautiful harmonic convergence of the past, present and future of Polish opera, which was very evident in the performance of a large selection of Polish and international music heard in a program entitled "I Sing This Song For You" (‘Tobie Spiewam Te Piesn'). Included was the master works of Chopin, Moniuszko, Paderewski, Stolz, Bixio, di Caputa, Chiara, Falvi and others.

The vivacious and very charming guest artists were Aleksandra Stoklosa (soprano) and Renata Dobosz (mezzo soprano), young stars of Opera Slaska in Bytom, (Silesia) Poland. The duo's sterling performances gave absolute assurance of the continued, future blossoming of world-class opera in Poland. Varsovian Helena Christenko, the much accomplished pianist of the National Opera in Warsaw, was also enthusiastically received by the audience in her own right. The entire par excellence concert was one that the audience will remember always, undoubtedly with a favorite song or two held in their hearts.

Maestro Ochman, at age 69, is still very active in the operatic environment not only as a performer, but also as a recognized director and Master Class Teacher of Voice/Singing at the Music Academy in Warsaw. During his continuing career, he has sung in many of the world's leading opera houses. Currently he has 57 recordings of operas, songs and symphony works to his credit. In 2005 Ochman was awarded the "Gloria Artis"- Poland's highest recognition for artistic achievement. And he has received the rarely awarded title of "Arts Patron" (‘Mecenas Sztuki') from Poland's Ministry of Culture. These bestowed honors have made him a member of a very elite artistic fraternity who are all considered to be cultural icons and national treasures of Poland.

In addition to his operatic and artist/painting achievements (totaling 65 individual exhibitions), Ochman is involved in extensive Polish charity works and the promotion of Polish culture in Poland and abroad. At the aforementioned Polish Embassy performance, he generously donated $2,000 to the Embassy/Consulate Children's School in Washington.

As auctioneer Ochman, for the past 10 years at Poland's Consulate General in New York, he has been successfully raising charity/cultural money from the periodic auctioning of varied works of contemporary art from Poland's leading artists (including Ochman's own paintings). The many beneficiaries in Poland includes medical foundations and hospitals, Youth Cultural Centers, Opera Slaska, the Bytom Ballet School, and individual artists. The Adam Mickiewicz Foundation at Columbia University in New York City and the Adam Mickiewicz Museum in Vilnius, Lithuania, which was fully renovated, are both counted among the many abroad recipients.

And so with voice as big as the sky - and with a heart bigger than his voice - Wieslaw Ochman personifies the best of it's sons that Poland has time and again generously shared with the entire world.

Washington DC Bureau, April 19, 2006
text and photographs by Richard P. Poremski, contact the author by e-mail
This article was published originally in Polish American Journal, Washington, D.C. Bureau

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I recommend a CD with Ochman performance:
Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 7, 8, 9

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Polka Music - Polish Jazz & other Music Selection

Polish Christmas (Carols) Music Store

Polish Folk Music Store

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