Freszel, Joanna

A graduate (with honours) of the Vocal Department and Lieder class of Jadwiga Rappé at the Fryderyk Chopin Music University in Warsaw, she has held scholarships from the Polish Ministry of Culture, Pro Polonia, and Young Poland programmes as well as ISA2012. In 2013 she received an award as the best graduate of the Fryderyk Chopin Music University, where she is currently a PhD student. In 2017, she was nominated to the Coryphaeus Award and won the coveted Polityka weekly Passport Award. Her other accolades include the 2nd Prize at the Halina Halska Competition in Wrocław (2009), 3rd Prize and Special Prize at the Karol Szymanowski Competition in Łódź (2009), 1st Prize and three special prizes at the Reszke Competition in Częstochowa (2011), Special Prize at the Hans Gabor Belvedere Competition in Vienna (2011), and Giuseppe Sinopoli Award and special prize of the Frankfurt Opera at the J:opera Voice Competition ISA. She was also a finalist of the Viotti Competition in Vercelli (2012). 

She has recorded music for Polish films such as Copernicus’s StarJoannaJohn Paul II, and Battle of Warsaw 1920. She has appeared at numerous festivals including Warsaw Autumn (2010, 2015, 2016, 2017), Contrechamps, Saaremaa Opera Days, Melos–Étos in Bratislava, and the 7 reads and 7 Premieres concert cycle organised for the 70th anniversary of the Polish Composers’ Union. In 2011 she sang at the UNESCO seat in Paris and made her debut as Musetta in Puccini’s La Bohème (Poland), Vénus and Phrygienne in Rameau’s Dardanus (Ireland and Britain), and Fiordiligi in Mozart’s Cosí fan tutte (Poland and Italy). 

She sang the role of Marguerite in Gounod’s Faust at the Estonian National Opera, Machine in Krzysztof Wołek’s reads at the NFM in Wrocław, Susanna in Figaro Gets a Divorce by Elena Langer and David Pountney at the Stanisław Moniuszko Grand Theatre in Poznań, and Psyche in Eros and Psyche at Warsaw’s Grand Theatre – National Opera. 

Joanna Freszel is equally at home in works of all musical periods. She specialises in contemporary music (including Roman Haubenstock-Ramati’s Credentials or “Think, Think Lucky”, Paweł Mykietyn’s Shakespeare Sonnets, Stravinsky’s Les Noces). She has given numerous first performances, including of Arvo Pärt’s Stabat Mater, Marko Nikodijević’s Sadness Untitled, Oscar Bianchi’s Primordia Rerum, Uri Caine’s In Memoriam, and Eugeniusz Knapik’s Canticum Puerorum

She has cooperated with many orchestras internationally including the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, Sinfonia Iuventus, Beethoven Academy Orchestra, Białystok Opera and Philharmonic, the philharmonics of Cracow, Katowice, Kielce and Szczecin, Capella Bydgostiensis, New Music Orchestra, Österreichisches Ensemble für Neue Musik, Camerata Viva, de ereprijs, and AUKSO Orchestra, under conductors such as Jerzy Maksymiuk, Gabriel Chmura, Jacek Kaspszyk, Krzesimir Dębski, Jerzy Salwarowski, Marek Moś, Paul Esswood, Wim Boerman, Szymon Bywalec, Tadeusz Strugała, Jacek Rogala, Adam Klocek, Arturo Tamayo, and Michał Dworzyński. 

During a Ukrainian concert tour, she has performed Witold Lutosławski’s Chantefleurs et chantefables with the philharmonic orchestras of Lviv, Odessa, Chernihiv, Donetsk, and Dnipro. In 2015, DUX Records released Joanna Freszel’s debut CD real life song, featuring works written specially for her by Miłosz Bembinow, Aleksander Kościów, Rafał Janiak, Agata Zubel, Sławomir Zamuszko, Andrzej Borzym Jr, Jagoda Szmytka, and Katarzyna Szwed. The album was nominated to a 2016 Fryderyk Award in two categories and to the Orphée d’Or, awarded by Académie du Disque Lyrique for the best performance of contemporary music.