Founded in the mid-fifties as the Poznań State Operetta, this cultural establishment was renamed to the Music Theatre in 1973 due to the new director Henryk Olszewski’s preference for musical comedies over operettas (which met with some resistance from the audience). Currently, the theatre stages musicals, comedies, kids’ shows, and hosts guest musicians. We met up with Robert Nakoneczny who works together with Poznan’s Music Theatre’ to find out how he got into the music business and how he ended up being one of Poznans best known vocal consultants.
Hi. So tell us what is a vocal consultant?
Vocal consultant is a kind of vocal coach working together with singers on their technique and repertoire.
Apparently you started off learning the cello at the Poznan Music academy, right? Yes. Actually, I graduated from the Poznan Music Academy as a cello player.
Do you still remember what year that was? ?
Well, it was a long time ago indeed but I can still remember the years -I started in 1979 and graduated in 1984!
So how did you start singing? I heard it was by accident. Is that true?
Well, it sort of all began when I was 9. It was a fantastic time for me.Thanks to my teacher I learnt the real old Italian vocal school of belcanto singing. However, my first appearance as counter-tenor was an accident. It was in 1979 my first year in the Poznan Music Academy. Suddenly I received an invitation for a recording session with Capella Bydgostiensis. Surprisingly enough the invitation came to the address of the academy and as far as I know I owe it to the fact I used to sing a lot when walking along the halls or waiting for my classes, which was noticed and remenbered by somebody and reported to the head of this orchestra. They must have liked me since a series of concerts followed. Soon, I started to feel more like a vocalist than a cello player. Things started to develop rather fast.
So how long were you with the Bydgosc Philarmonic?
I have performed many times on various occasions with the Bydgoszcz Philharmonic during my vocal carrier years which followed my first adventure with the Capella Bydgostiensis
Have you met any famous singers during your travels ?
I have met many fantastic singers on my path. First, I would name the ones who turned out to be my masters: Stefania Woytowicz, Hellen Donath, Arrigo Pola, Jarmila Novotna and Kaludi Kaludov.
Where is your favourite place you have sung?
Teatro Real Madrid – beatiful theater, marvelous audience and it was a Mozart Opera Festival. Apart from my own performance I attended many other events and met lots of great people. Monreale Festival in Palermo also remains in my memory – mixture of cultures in magic settings, one must see it.
How did you transform from being a singer to a trainer?
Well, it was so natural. I used to share my expertise with people, practise together, cooperate. Actually, I cannot recall anything like my first real lessons I gave to someone. However the fact is I found myself giving regular lessons much earlier than even thinking about withdrawing from my own vocal carrier. Now I am sure that teaching is my great passion.
Which city in Poland is the best if your looking for work connected with singing?
Definitely Warsaw. Many theaters with musical productions, not to mention the National Opera, Chamber Opera, etc. Nevertheless, Poznań is my home town now and my theater – Poznan Music Theater – is the best for me.
Are Polish singers generally as good as those from the west?
I would never think about such differenciation. Polish vocalists like Piotr Beczala, Aleksandra Kurzak, Artur Rucinski, Tomasz Konieczny, Mariusz Kwiecien, Daniel Borowski, Rafal Siwek and many more are all world class.
What type of students do you have?
Take your pick: musical, pop, rock, opera
Apparently you are a consultant for the Theatre of Music in Poznan but you also have your own singing studio?
Correct. Actually, I cooperate with the Theater of Music and other institutions as Robert Nakoneczny Studio.
How did you end up working with Poznan’s Theatre of Music?
Przemyslaw Kieliszewski was appointed director of this theater in 2013 and invited me to cooperate. Director Kieliszewski has managed to transform the theatre into the best musical theater in Poland and a real cult place.
Do you prefer singing or teaching?
Two separate professions. Do not make me choose. I love both.
Why did you choose the cello? Its an unusual instrument.
Unusual maybe but beautiful for sure and very similar to a human voice. You can literally sing on a cello!
Its been a pleasure speaking with you. Finally, how can people contact you if they want to try some of your singing classes?
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