Singers In The News
We have wonderful news to share about our Career Bridges Winners. We are very proud of the accomplishments of our singers, and our three-year mentoring and nurturing program has enabled many of them to fulfill their dream of a career. Barbara and I are deeply appreciative of your continuing interest and support which makes this all possible and look forward to seeing you at our future events.
After her successful American debut as Aglaonice in Philip Glass’ Orphée at the Virginia Opera Company, young Polish mezzo-soprano Marta Wryk came to the attention of European audiences and the press when she stepped in the role of Smeton in Anna Bolena at Oper Köln. Critics praised her for having “the most promising voice with spectacular high notes” (ResMusica) and for her “remarkable Italianitá” (Der nueu Merker ). In 2012-2013 she was also seen on the stage of Oper Köln as Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro, Suora Dolcina in Suora Angelica as well as Blumenmädchen and Knappe in Parsifal. Next season, while still a member of the Oper Köln Opera Studio, she will be featured in several leading roles, including Hänsel in Hänsel und Gretel, Oberto in Alcina and Gianetta in the new production of L’elisir d’amore.
Her last season appearance as Aglaonice in “a strong and thought provoking” [Washington Post] production of Philip Glass’ Orphée also captivated the critics. Her performance was described as “great” by the Washington City Paper. The Washington Times wrote: “special hat tips due to Marta Wryk”. The busy 2011-2012 season took her also to the Republic of Trindad and Tobago, where she performed L’enfant in L’enfant et Les Sortilièges. She also covered the roles of Mother and the Witch in Hänsel and Gretel and Katisha in The Mikado at Virginia Opera as well as the title role in Carmen at Lyric Opera Virginia. This was followed by singing the role of Marianne and covering the role of Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier at Chautauqua Music Festival in New York.
A recent graduate of Manhattan School of Music, Ms. Wryk has sung the roles of Mirtillo in Händel’s Il Pastor Fido and Prince Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus. For these portrayals she has been praised in Q on Stage for her “radiance [and her] clear sound and assured presence”. The Polish Daily News singled out her “noble sound and natural stage presence”. Other opera credits include Third Lady in The Magic Flute with Manhattan School of Music Outreach Program and Elisabeth Proctor in The Crucible with Chautauqua Institution. She also covered Gondi in Maria di Rohan and Clotilde in Norma at the Bel Canto at Caramoor Festival.
Equally at home on the recital stage, Marta Wryk performed in Symphony Space in New York with pianist Anne-Marie McDermott and in Kiva Auditorium in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with the pianist Kevin Kenner and the cellist William De Rosa. She has appeared in the Music at the White Hall concert series at the invitation of the Henryk Wieniawski Music Society in Poznan, Poland, and has performed at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory at the invitation of Dr. James Watson, the Nobel Prize laureate. Other important concert appearances include the Caramoor Music Festival, the Chopin Foundation of the United States and the Kosciuszko Foundation. In Europe she has appeared at Kammeroper Schloss Rheinsberg in Germany, the University Hall in Poznan, the International Festival Art-Connection in Rotterdam and at the Chopin Konfrontacje Festival in Antonin.
Ms. Wryk received prizes from the Career Bridges Competition and the Marcella Sembrich Voice Competition. She also won first prize at the International Voice Competition in Gorizia, Italy.
In addition to musical performance, Ms. Wryk is a musicologist and writer. Her work has been published in Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland’s major daily newspaper, and in literature journals and magazines including Zeszyty Literackie and Arkusz. Her music journalism appeared in Polish Daily News. She teaches classes about opera to gifted children through the Polish Children’s Fund’s Summer Workshop. She has received awards from the Prime Minister of Poland and the Ministry of Education, and scholarships from the Leszek Czarnecki Foundation, the Business and Professional Women`s Club, the Lions Club Polonia and the Polish and Slavic Federal Credit Union. She was also awarded the Carolyn Marlow Vocal Scholarship from the Manhattan School of Music. Ms Wryk holds a degree from the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music in Warsaw and from Manhattan School of Music. She participated in Young Artist Programs at Virginia Opera, Lyric Opera Virginia, Chautauqua Institution and Bel Canto at Caramoor.
Robert Balonek, baritone, hails from Rochester NY. At Purchase College where he received his bachelors and masters degrees in music, he performed; Figaro; Le Nozze di Figaro, Prospero and Ferdinand; Hoibys Tempest (NY Premiere), Ottone; Poppea, Gêolier; Carmelites, Gianni Schicchi; Schicchi, and Confession; Francis (World Premiere). At Mannes School of music, he performed Guglielmo in Cosi as well as Ford in Fallstaff, the Bach Mathew Passion Soloist and Fauré Requiem soloist.
Professionally, he has performed the role of Count Robinson in Pine Mountin’s Il Matrimonio Segreta, Figaro at Chelsea Opera and Richard Coeur de Lion with the American Classical Orchestra. He has also performed roles with Opera Omaha, Central City Opera, Westchester Group Theater, and Quisisana.
Robert is a Liederkranz Competition winner, MONC NYC district finalist and a Career Bridges Scholarship winner. Robert has also recorded for Albany Records; Hoibys Tempest as Prospero and Francis in Confessions.
This Summer, Robert will be performing the world premiere of “Steal a Pencil for me” as Jaap, the “Boston Tea Party Opera” as Paul Revere and in the Phoenicia festival of the voice, Marullo and Rigoletto cover in Rigoletto. In the fall, he will be performing Escamillo for Opera Hamilton, Bass soloist for ACO’s production of Handels Alceste at Alice Tully Hall and with Chelsea Opera with La Pizza con Funghi/Winners. For more, go to www.robertbalonek.com