opera singer (bass-baritone); b. 24th July 1922 in Vilnius; d. 25th July 2020 in Warsaw. He came from a musical family: his parents and brothers were members of the Harp choir, led in the interwar period by professor and conductor Jan Żebrowski. In 1940-41 he studied in Vilnius, and after the war, in 1946-48, he studied singing at the State Higher School of Music in Warsaw.
From 1946 to 1950 he was a soloist of the Central Artistic Ensemble of the Polish Army, with which he also performed outside the country. In 1950 he was involved in the Warsaw Opera. He made his debut as Griemin in Piotr Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin. The artist's greatest creation in this first period of his performances on the opera stage was the role of Mephisto in Charles Gounod's Faust, which gave him the opportunity to fully show both the extraordinary qualities of his voice, as well as temperament and stage talent. The turning point in Bernard Ładysz's career was the singing competition in Vercelli in September 1956, where he gained international recognition by winning the 1st prize. This success gave him the opportunity to perform in Italy with artists like Victoria de los Angeles, Antonietta Stella, Anita Cerquetti and Tullio Serafin. In 1959 he recorded in London Gaetano Donizetti's Lucia of Lammermoor with Maria Callas under Tullio Serafin for Columbia. The same company also invited him to record an entire LP with opera arias by Giuseppe Verdi and Russian composers.
His great artistic success was the creation of the title role in Modest Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov at the Warsaw Opera (1960) and in its new staging at the Grand Theatre in Warsaw (1972). Bernard Ładysz's repertoire also included Polish works. He performed in Stanisław Moniuszko's operas and sang his songs. He took part in the recordings of the opera King Roger by Karol Szymanowski and the radio opera Usziko by Tadeusz Paciorkiewicz. He has performed at many festivals, including the "Warsaw Autumn". He took part in the premieres of Krzysztof Penderecki's St Luke Passion and Utrenja and in the world premiere of his opera The Devils of Loudun (as Father Barré), later recorded by the Philips Records. He has appeared in films, including The Promised Land (directed by Andrzej Wajda) and The Quack (directed by Jerzy Hoffamn), in musicals, including Joseph Stein and Jerry Bock's Fiddler on the Roof (as Tewie), and in the song repertoire.
In recognition of his outstanding artistic merits, Bernard Ładysz was honored with many awards and decorations. He received the Golden Cross of Merit (1951), the Officer's Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta (1959), the Knight's Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta (1956), the Medal Polonia Mater Nostra Est (1998) the Commander's Cross with a Star of the Order of Polonia Restituta (2000), the Minister of Culture Award (2001), the Gold Medal for Merit to Culture – Gloria Artis (2006), an honorary doctorate of the Academy of Music in Warsaw (2008), the Award of the Capital City of Warsaw (2009), the Honorary Pearl of the Polish Economy in the culture category (2012), the Medal "Milito Pro Christo" (2013), the Golden Fryderyk Award of the Polish Phonographic Academy for lifetime achievement (2016).
updated: 2020 (ac)