Kraków may not be one of the world's great opera centers, but it's Mariusz Kwiecien's home town and a true gem among Central European cities. Kwiecien loves going back to perform there. Its pull on him has been so strong that he recently bought a home on its outskirts among the forests and fields that lead to the scenic Tatra mountains.
"Performing in Kraków is fantastic," he says. "You know, when I made my debut there, it was six years after my debut at the Metropolitan Opera. So when I came back to Kraków, I came as a small star. And I was very excited, more nervous even than when I sang at the Met. When I come to Kraków to sing now, I know it will be sold out within an hour after the tickets go on sale, because our opera house is rather small, around 700 seats only. I always try to do three or four performances, and my colleagues at the opera house are always fantastic. And it's wonderful to sing opera in Poland with an all-Polish cast! Everywhere else I go, I have to speak many languages at once — Russian, English, Italian, German — and when I come to Kraków, I just have my wonderful Polish friends to sing with."
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