INTERVIEW. Alicja Węgorzewska for AWPE: The most beautiful thing that can be done is to promote Poland through culture

You sang – and still sing – on the greatest opera stages. A greater ambassador and animator of Polish culture and Polish music cannot be found. What are your most important memories related to it? Through your music, you promoted Poland, you promoted our composers, because you recorded Chopin’s songs…

Alicja Węgorzewska: Yes. I believe that the most beautiful thing that can be done is to promote Poland, your country, through culture, which is the foundation. As John Paul II said that a nation exists through culture. Where does John Paul II’s strength come from? Also because he was a great creator, a man of the theater, a writer, and then through this foundation he could reach millions, actually billions, around the world. I think that every man of culture is obliged to spread and carry this national foundation, because it is what distinguishes us.

Chopin’s songs… Chopin wrote great patriotic ballads, he also wrote idyllic songs, which later, as an older composer, he was a little ashamed of and wanted them to be destroyed. Fortunately, no one destroyed it and today we are happy with all the achievements. Just like Mozart, Schubert and other great composers. I would never distance myself from culture, because in such a beautiful, soft, elegant way you can reach – believe me – everyone.

Would you agree that culture, in order to really be culture, must be high culture, firmly grounded in very specific values, otherwise it really loses its character?

We are talking about real art. Popular music, on the other hand, is also needed, but it has a completely different means of expression, a different purpose. However, we really need to support high culture, we need to support people of art, because sometimes they are helpless. High culture is not commercial, so for example, it was with great regret that I learned this week that one of the biggest music festivals in Italy, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, is said to be closing because it does not have the support of its government. We have to be careful not to let this happen to us.

And from your personal memories… Do you remember the most moving moment when you felt proudly Polish, when with tears in your eyes you felt that this was the one and only moment in your life?

Believe me, there is no such moment. This moment is from the beginning to the end of life. These moments are behind me. Today I was just as moved during the Mass dedicated to General Kukliński (in Stromiec – ed.) and there will be many such moments. Certainly, such a point that I can highlight was the funeral of Danuta Czekakówna “Inka” and “Inka’s Hymn”, to which I wrote the words and when I performed at her state funeral in Gdańsk, it was certainly such a moving, highly patriotic moment, but it was, it is and I hope it will last in my life.

I admit that listening to today’s concert in Stromiec, I’m all trembling inside. Beautiful music… You have an incredibly huge talent. How do you feel going abroad? What are your personal experiences?

You know, I don’t distinguish between the audience – whether it’s a small town or a huge concert hall, a great opener or a TV concert, whether in Poland or abroad. For me, the audience is absolutely the same everywhere. In every place I give my best so that whoever comes to listen to me will experience what I have to offer.

What advice would you give to young animators of the image of Poland, whom I represent here today? For the future. What to do to effectively promote the image of Poland?

We just have to start with ourselves, because this is not what we will write and share on portals, only we represent our nation as people and I think that we are simply the image of this country, so we should reach people to simply behaved beautiful and decently everywhere, representing our country abroad.

Interview by Anna Wiejak

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