People

Artur Rucinski: “I just enjoy singing for the people of the world”

Lyric Opera presents IL Trovatore – one of the most famous operas of Giuseppe Verdi. Based on the 1836 play El Trovador by Antonio Garcia Gutierrez, the opera is one of three considered to represent the culmination of Verdi’s artistry to that point. (The other two are Rigoletto and La Traviata). Opera IL Trovatore was a triumph from the first night and remains one of the most popular operas on the world stage.

An extraordinary cast is coming together for the IL Trovatore production in Lyric Opera. Among the other famous singers is Artur Rucinski – internationally acclaimed baritone opera singer from Poland. He is successfully performing on prestigious European and world opera stages, and now Rucinsky is going to debut in Lyric Opera: he sings the part of Conte di Luna.  

 

Artur, this is your debut at Lyric Opera of Chicago, but this is not your first Conte di Luna role in Il trovatore. What are the differences in productions of this opera in Italy and in Chicago? Perhaps, which production could you relate to more?

Interesting. You know, Conte di Luna is one of my favorite characters and I had the pleasure of performing it in many productions around the world; all of them had quite traditional staging and portrayal with not too many differences.

I always have so much satisfaction when I sing this role and with every performance I try to discover something new for myself in this character. Although, everything we need, Verdi already wrote in the score, it is always fun and a great challenge to discover its many depths. I am always trying to find a real relation to the personaggio, trying to show the dramaturgy and the two faces of Conte di Luna: on one side, di Luna who is in love with Leonora; and on another side, he is greedy and he wants to get what he wants no matter what; he also knows that Leonora loves Manrico and he realizes that she will never love him, di Luna, because of many faults of his character.

Also, I am an open-minded person, so it is quite easy for me to grasp a director’s ideas and understand how his imagination works. One production in Germany comes to mind from a couple of years ago, where the staging reminded of a scary fairytale, with many colorful and extravagant costumes, makeup that enhances the highlighted personalities of each character.

You made a great career on the world opera stage. You have performed in many famous theatres; have worked with world class conductors and directors. Are there any theatres where you would always love to return? Are there people who you would enjoy working the most?

I must say I am in a wonderful situation, I am doing what I love and that makes me happy. I have a privilege to sing in many great theaters, and I am always looking forward to returning to every each of them. Also, I just enjoy singing for the people of the world and I am lucky to have never had arguments with any singers or conductors. I have always enjoyed respectful working relationships, and some of them even grew into great friendships. So, I am always thrilled when I see some familiar faces on the first day of our rehearsals.

What are your favorite opera roles to perform?

My main repertoire is Verdi and Italian Bel Canto. For fun or for the sake of keeping my voice healthy I enjoy singing “Don Giovanni”, “Figaro”, Tchajkovskij’s “Evgenij Onegin”, Prinz Jelecky in “The Queen of Spades”, Duke of Burgundy in “Iolanta”. But every time I am singing Verdi I am discovering something new about my voice; new depths, new colors, new tones. I present myself best in this repertoire.  

This is not the first time you’ve performed in the U.S. as you have already appeared with the Metropolitan Opera, NY. What can you say about Chicago? Do you like it here?

Of course, I do! The whole team is wonderful and everyone was very welcoming from the very beginning. I have learned that there is a big Polish community in Chicago, which really warmed my heart. During the first day of rehearsal at the Lyric I met three lovely Polish women from the costume department. The next day they brought me some Polish treats. How could one not like that?! ☺

I am very happy to be in Chicago and to make my house debut in such a wonderful theater, with such a great orchestra, team and singers. It is a pleasure to work with professionals of high caliber.

There is an international team working on Il trovatore at Lyric Opera. Have you worked before with Sir David McVicar (director) or Marco Armiliato (conductor) or any other singers performing in this production?

Of course, I have heard a great deal about Sir David McVicar. Naturally, I know of him and about his work, and was really happy to hear that I will be working with him for the first time. David is an incredible director; his productions receive great admirations all over the world.

I have met Maestro Marco Armiliato a couple of times in Europe and I must say that Marco is not only one of the greatest conductors of our time, but he is an outstanding person.

Tamara Wilson and I were in the same production of “Il Trovatore” in Barcelona that we did last summer, but we were in different casts, so we have never had a chance to perform together. Roberto Tagliavini is a good friend of mine, we performed in several productions all over the world.   

Artur Ruciński as Count di Luna / Photo by Shelby Homiston (Lyric Opera, Chicago)

What are your expectations for your Chicago debut, from the Chicago production of Il trovatore? Are you planning to work with Lyric Opera again in the future?

My greatest expectation and hope is for the people to enjoy my performance. I will do my best to sing as best as I can, just like I am trying to do everywhere. I can only hope that people will experience real emotions and true joy. That is all I can expect.

As for me coming back to the Lyric Opera again, it is not only my decision. If I will receive more invitations in the future, I will be very happy to come back. All I know is that I need to sing well and then see what the future will bring us.

You are a world famous opera singer with experience performing in various countries. What do you feel before your Chicago debut? Are you getting nervous? Thrilled?

I wouldn’t say I am nervous. After 20 years on stage, it is not really a concern anymore. Of course, a little stress and excitement is always present, but it just tends to help me to stay more focused.

At the moment I am just staying very healthy and praying to stay so until the end of the run… the weather is quite cold here.

… And I wanted to send my warmest greetings to everyone and I would like to invite you to all our performances that are running from November 17th, with our seventh and final show on December 9th. Happy Holidays everyone! It will be my first Thanksgiving in the United States so I am very curious to experience this holiday.

 

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