From the YouTube Music Archives XXII: Ewa Podleś

The incomparable Polish contralto Ewa Podleś begins performing in Seattle Opera’s production of Handel’s Giulio Cesare tonight at McCaw Hall. As a contralto she’s the best we can do for the part of Caesar, since the role was originally written for castrati, and the last one of those died off around the turn of the last century. I went looking for previous performances by Podleś from Canada and San Diego, but unfortunately there was nothing on line. Interestingly enough, there is a clip from the same opera, but here Podleś is in the role of Cornelia, Pompey’s wife, singing Cessa Omai di Sospirare. As Pompey’s wife she spends most of the opera threatening to kill herself because her husband’s head was lopped off in one of the early scenes.

If that wasn’t complicated enough, there’s also a stunning performance by Podleś as Cleopatra in Berlioz’s ‘scène lyrique’, La mort de Cléopâtre, recorded in Montreal with Charles Dutoit conducting. According to one colorful review of the concert at, this is a performance that “will knock your dick in the dirt.” Which might come in handy for some of those castrati roles. Or something like that. In another fine clip she plays the part of La Cieca (the Blindwoman) singing Voce di donna o d’angelo from Ponchielli’s La Gioconda. No testicles required there. Or eyes, come to think of it.

And if you can’t make it to Julius Caesar, she’ll be back in Seattle at the end of June to sing Mahler’s 3rd Symphony, a performance that promises to be as anatomically destructive as anything we’ve seen her do yet.


  1. I love her singing. She’s so direct and honest, and what a technique! Thanks for posting this.

  2. I saw her in Giulio Cesare and in recital and she has one of the most remarkable voices in opera today. Rich, dark, and expressive.

  3. Podles is a true coloratura contralto…a phenomenal voice. I’ve seen her in Tancredi, Rodelinda, Trovatore, and twice in recital. And was fortunate to have dined with her twice. The voice is huge, flexible, and with great range – as this video indicates. She is expressive and a convincing actress. One of the subline opera singers of our time. Search out her performances and go. She never disappoints.

  4. Henri Young says

    Seen Podles.

    She was a good time.

  5. Henri Young says

    She’s one of the finest female tenors.

  6. Henri Young says

    She was great with the Three Tenors.

  7. Look what happened to my voice when I quit smoking! Smooth as silk.

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