Bayreuth’s new Lohengrin likes to share the credit. From a couples interview:
At age 50, Piotr Beczala is one of the biggest opera stars, performs on the world’s biggest stages as a lyric tenor, and counts Anna Netrebko among his circle of friends. He modestly attributes his success to his wife Katarzyna, a fellow Pole who gave up her own opera singing career for him. An interview with the two on the power of love, the strengths of taking it slow, and why Mrs. Beczala dreams of goats….
Katarzyna Bak-Beczala: It’s important to mention that I was also a singer. I gave up my career for Piotr. It was easy for me, because I am still working in art through him. I sing with him, I breathe with him and – of course – I criticize him, too. Singers can’t hear themselves. Piotr also knows that I only say something if I’m sure that he can do better.
Piotr Beczala: She always goes for the jugular and ends up saying too much. Then I just go.
Katarzyna Bak-Beczala: He always thinks that, and he always says that. But I have to say, we’ve been married for 26 years now and I’m still learning how to speak to him. It’s the hardest thing, because I know that every artist is, shall we say, very sensitive. I need to wait for the right moment and find the right words to reach him. I don’t want to hurt him, of course.
Piotr Beczala: Thank God I’m a half-decent singer… (laughing)