prof. dr hab.
Born in Łódź.
A singer affiliated with the Great Theatre — National Opera in Warsaw and the Great Theatre in Łódź, the Grażyna and Kiejstut Bacewicz Academy of Music in Łódź and the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music in Warsaw.
He graduated from the Vocal and Acting Department at the State Higher School of Music in Łódź, Professor Zdzisław Krzywicki’s class, in 1976 (diploma with honours). He is the winner of many vocal competitions, awards and honourable mentions.
He has over 50 leading operatic roles in his repertory and has presented them in Poland and abroad, e.g., in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, Greece and Holland. The roles he holds in greatest esteem are: Gurnemanza in Richard Wagner’s Parsifal, the title role in his Flying Dutchman, Zachary in Nabucco, the title role in Attila, Philip the Second and the Grand Inquisitor in Don Carlos, Walter in Giuseppe Verdi’s Luisa Miller, Fiesco in his Simon Boccanegra, Scarpi in Giacomo Puccini’s Tosca, Baron Ochs von Lerchenau in Richard Strauss’s The Rose Cavalier, Don Pizzaro in Ludwig van Beethoven’s Fidelio, the title role in Modest Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov, Gremin in Pyotr Ilyich Tschaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, Kochubey in his Mazeppa, Mendoza in Sergei Prokofiev’s Betrothal in the Monastery, Creon in Igor Stravinsky’s Oedipus Rex, Duke Bluebeard in Bela Bartok’s Duke Bluebeard’s Castle, the title role in Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Sarastro in his Magic Flute, Van Bett in Albert Lortzing’s Zar and Zimmermann, Zbigniew and Skołuba in Stanisław Moniuszko’s Haunted Manor and Esquire in his Halka.
He has sung in Polish and world premieres of the following works: Sandor Balassy’s Drausen von der Tur (Einbiniger), title role in Karl Kogler’s Kohlhass (record and film), Romuald Twardowski’s Maria Stuart and Lord Jim, Krzysztof Penderecki’s Ubu Rex and Elżbieta Sikora’s Heartsnatcher (l’Arrache-coeur).
He has made many CD, television and radio recordings.
He also has a rich oratorio repertory including: Georg Friedrich Händel’s Messiah, Johann Sebastian Bach’s St. John Passion, St. Matthew Passion, Mass in B Minor, Christmas Oratorio, Easter Oratorio, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Requiem, Gioachino Rossini’s Stabat Mater, Petite Messe Solennelle, Giuseppe Verdi’s Messa da Requiem, Antonin Dvorak’s Requiem, Stabat Mater, Ludwig van Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis and Symphony No. 9. He also has many song cycles in his repertory: Franz Schubert’s Schwanengesang, Winterreise, Robert Schumann’s Dichterliebe, Johannes Brahms’s Vier ernste Gesänge, Modest Mussorgsky’s Songs and Dances of Death, Hugo Wolf’s Michael Angelo Lieder, and many other songs by Polish and foreign composers.
He has collaborated with renowned conductors including Zygmunt Latoszewski, Jerzy Katlewicz, Jerzy Semkow, Henryk Czyż, Antoni Wicherek, Bogusław Madey, Antoni Wit, Semyon Bychkov, Manfred Mayrhofer Gerd Mediez, Roman Zeilinger, and Christian Thieleman. He has performed under such stage directors as Andrzej Żuławski, Marek Weiss-Grzesiński, Paul Flieder, Pier Luigi Pizzi, Pier Luigi Pier’Alli, Gilbert Deflo, Marcel Bluwal, Willi Decker, or Christof Loy.
Włodzimierz Zalewski has been teaching since 1980. He is a full professor. His former students have won many prizes at Polish and international competitions. They sing at the best opera stages in the world (MET, La Scala, Cowent Garden, Bolshoi….). Among his most outstanding former students are Piotr Nowacki, Mariusz Kwiecień, Daniel Borowski, Piotr Miciński, Dariusz Machej, Remigiusz Łukomski, Arnold Rutkowski, Stanisław Kierner, Łukasz Rosiak, Tomasz Rudnicki, Damian Konieczek, Piotr Płuska, Mirosław Witkowski, and Szymon Komasa.
The artist is an author of lectures on vocal teaching. He is also a jury member (often head of jury) at many singing competitions.
He conducts master courses for young singers in Poland, e.g.: in Nowy Sącz, Duszniki-Zdrój, academies of music in Katowice, Bydgoszcz, Wrocław, Białystok, as well as abroad, e.g.: Royal College of Music in Stockholm, Hochschule für Musik Detmold, Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Graz.
Every year since 2004 he has been the founder of master courses and concerts Glanzlichter der Oper in Rheinsberg (Musikacademie).
He has supervised and reviewed many doctoral dissertations and reviewed postdoctoral dissertations and professorships. He was the supervisor of Honorary Doctorates of outstanding singers: Teresa Kubiak and Christa Ludwig.
In the period of 2002–2005 he was Head of the Chair of Vocal Studies at the Fryderyk Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw, and between 2002 and 2008 he held the function of Dean of the Department of Vocal and Acting Studies at the Grażyna and Kiejstut Academy of Music in Łódź.