Vienna’s Salzburg Festival—one of the world’s most prestigious festivals dedicated to classical vocal music—experienced quite a shock when, due to an acute infection of the bladder and respiratory tract and a very high fever, world renown Spanish singer Plácido Domingo was forced to withdraw from the performances of Il trovatore on August 18, 21 and 24, 2014. Best known for his work as a member of the famous “Three Tenors” with Luciano Pavarotti and José Carreras, Domingo had previously sung in performances of this beloved Verdi opera at the Festival for three years.
However, Festival audiences warmly welcomed his replacement, Polish baritone Artur Ruciński, who performed the role of Conte di Luna alongside Russian soprano Anna Netrebko in the role of Leonora.
According to the external news service of Polish Radio:
Alongside Piotr Beczała, Mariusz Kwiecień and Aleksandra Kurzak, Artur Ruciński belongs to a select group of Polish opera singers who have skyrocketed to stardom in recent years. He made his debut at the National Opera in Warsaw in 2002. The turning point of his career came with Daniel Barenboim’s invitation to sing Eugene Onegin under his baton and alongside Rolando Villazon at the Deutsche Staatsoper in Berlin in 2010.
Artur Ruciński studied vocal performance at the Warsaw Music Academy. Since his 2002 debut at the National Theatre in Warsaw he has made regular guest appearances in Berlin, Vienna, Bregenz, Cracow and Tokyo. His repertoire includes the roles of Ford (Falstaff), Sharpless (Madama Butterfly), Lescaut (Manon Lescaut), Silvio (I Pagliacci), Guglielmo (Così fan tutte), Papageno (Die Zauberflöte) and Graf Almaviva (Le Nozze di Figaro). At the Berlin State Opera he sang the title role in Eugene Onegin under Daniel Barenboim, opposite Rolando Villazón. In Harry Kupfer’s production of Les Contes d’Hoffmann at the National Theatre in Warsaw, Artur Ruciński took on a baritone version of the role of Niklausse/La Muse, as well as Valentin in Robert Wilson’s new production of Faust. He performed on Polish radio and TV in the world premiere of Balakauskas’ opera La Lointaine, part of the Warsaw Autumn Festival. The baritone is also sought after as a concert performer; thus he has performed solo parts in Handel’s Messiah as well as in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in Paris, and has been heard on Bulgarian TV in Fauré’sRequiem. In April 2010, the baritone performed Carmina Burana at Vienna’s Musikverein, followed by the opening gala of the Wiener Festwochen in May, broadcast live in more than 25 countries. Furthermore, the singer has participated in numerous recordings, for example as Ford in Falstaff, and has released the solo album Songs and Arias. Artur Ruciński has won several awards for his artistic achievements. [Bio courtesy of the Salzburg Festival blog]