Popiel (Chosciak Popiel) Jan Antoni Franciszek (1894-1966), a singer, an opera director and a pedagogue. Born in Warsaw on March 9, he was a son of Bronislaw and Julia Nizycki. He was not of the branch of the family that used by-name Chosciak, decendants from Pawel, the Sandomierz castellan. After graduating from the M. Rej High School in Warsaw he studied during 1914 - 1915 at the Law School of the Moscow University., and during 1915/16 - 1918/19 at the School of Law of the Warsaw University, he did not graduate. Concurrently with studying, he was taking singing classes with professor Waclaw Brzezinski. His singing career started from performing Dziemba in the S. Moniuszko's opera "Halka" on July 31, 1919, durin the Great Openong of the Poznan Opera House. For four seasons he performed on the stage of the Poznan Opera nearby 25 parties from the bass repertory, such as: Skoluba (S. Moniuszko "Straszny dwor"), Bartlomiej (Moniuszko "Verbum nobile"), King (G. Verdi "Aida"), Hunding (R. Wagner "Walkiria"), Ferrando (Verdi "Trubadur"), Daland (R. Wagner "Holender tulacz"), Zuniga (G. Bizet "Carmen"), Gremin (P. Czajkowski "Eugeniusz Oniegin"), Osmin (W. A. Mozart "Uprowadzenie z seraju"). After supplement studies at professor Castellano's in Milano he used to be engaged with Wilno, Torun and Katowice opera assemblies. He was recognized as a very good singer in a box office repertory, singing among others: Stolnik (Moniuszko "Halka"), Zbigniew (Moniuszko "Straszny dwor") i Podczaszyc (Moniuszko "Hrabina"), Kecal ("Sprzedana narzeczona" B. Smetana), Gudal ("Cyrulik sewilski" Rossini), Ramfis ("Aida" Verdi), Mefistofeles ("Faust" Ch. Gounod), Kardynal ("Zydowka" J. Haleva). In 1930 - 1934 he performed at the Grand Theatre in Warsaw as a soloist and also he was an Executive Secretary for the Management of the Company. After the war in 1946 - 1948 he was a soloist and a director at the State Opera in Wroclaw, being also an art director. He directed 15 operas, among them Moniuszko ("Verbum nobile", "Straszny dwor", "Halka", "Flis"), Verdi ("Traviata", "Rigoletto", "Aida"), G. Puccini ("Tosca", "Cyganeria") oraz: R. Leoncavallo "Pajace", G. Rossini "Cyrulik sewilski", O. Nicolai "Wesole kumoszki z Windsoru", Czajkowski "Eugeniusz Oniegin", Smetana "Sprzedana narzeczona", W. Zelenski "Janek". In the season of 1956/7 he staged in the State Opera in Bytom J. Massenet's "Manon" i Moniuszko's "Hrabina" and repeated "Tosca". After a few years he directed with the Itinerant Opera of Warsaw operas "Pajace"i "Rigoletto" in 1965/6. Popiel was also a professor of soloist singing at Pomorska Srednia Szkola Muzyczna in Bydgoszcz (1949 - 1956) and in State Conservatory in Wroclaw (1949-1956) and Katowice (1956-1957) and Warsaw (1957-1963), as well as a teacher of drama, costiumology, make-up and Italian language. Popiel translated from Italian, French, Russian, Tchech and German 23 librettos of the operas of Verdi, Puccini, Smetana, A. Dvorak, Czajkowski, M. Rimski-Korsakow, C. Orff, C. Debussy and others. His other interest was zoology and he was completin materials for the onomastics of the verbetratae in eight languages (presently in the Dept. of Zoology and History, Institute of Zoology, PAN, Warsaw). Popiel died on September 3, 1966 in Warsaw and was buried in Powazki Cemetery (no. 37/2). Popiel was married (February 19, 1928) with Halina Adamkiewicz, a singer.


 Almanach Sceny Polskiej 1966/7, W.1968 s. 253;-"Kur. Pol." 1966 nr 210; "Kur. Pozn." 1919 nr 201, 211,232, 253, 1920 nr 120, 229 (dod.), 258, 1921 nr 30, 53, 280, 292, 1922 nr 24, 44, 85, 1923 nr 21,41, oraz z dn. 7 III, 22 IV i 7 V; "Slowo Powsz." 1965 nr 154; "Tryb. Ludu" 1965 nr 191, 1966 nr 248; "Tryb. Mazowiecki" 1965 nr 163; "Zycie Warszawy" 1966 nr z 9 IX; - Recenzje i korespodencja z archiwum Jozefa Grugowskiego.

 Jozef Grubowski

Translation from Polish to English: sp

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This site was created on June 15, 1998 and updated on May 11, 2007
Copyright 1998. Jan Popiel & Slawomir Popiel.