Iwona Sobotka has received great critical acclaim for her role debut at the Teatr Wielki in Poznan, where she stars as Rusalka in Dvorak’s masterpiece.
“The stunning performer of the titular part was Iwona Sobotka, an artist who can express with her voice all the spiritual fluctuations of the protagonist, perfectly finding herself in moments of great vocal longing, as well as the realization that the Prince’s love is unattainable for her.” – Tomasz Pasternak
“Iwona Sobotka does not resemble an ethereal nymph, she is an attractive woman in an elegant, shining dress. She can convey the full spectrum of emotions – from hidden desires to desperation, from love infatuation to anger and readiness for the greatest sacrifice. In this outstanding creation, subtle acting intertwines with the richness of vocal means. The artist skillfully operates her lyrical soprano and can reach for truly dramatic expression, without losing its natural sound.” – Jacek Marczynski
“Iwona Sobotka enchanted me with her acting, more cinematic than operatic – readable, but not exaggerated. As a Rusalka, she ethereally floats above the ground, and since she becomes a woman, her whole character is strangely concretized, gestures acquire body and gravity. In the following scenes, she remains present in a way reminiscent of a supporting character in a movie, who consciously does not try to attract the viewer’s attention more than the main characters, but knowing that at any moment the camera can be directed to her with maximum close-up. She is the mature guide of the spectacle, the connector and reference to everything that happens on or off stage beside her.” – Magdalena Lubocka
“Performing as Rusalka, Iwona Sobotka has thoroughly thought out and reinterpreted every phrase of her part. At the same time, she has built a quality that goes beyond the excellent preparation for a single role, showing a broader and truly noteworthy reflection on modern opera artistry. This concept was illustrated by the way she performed the first, key phrases of the character: ‘(…) sečkej se mnou chviličku, / ať mi smutno není’ and ‘(…) člověkem být / a v zlatém slunci žíti!’. It is precisely here that it is easy to fall into tackiness, both in terms of interpretation and vocal technique, in the way of achieving the climactic points of longer phrases. Sobotka avoids both dangers. She seeks the golden mean between coldness and sentimentality. She gives an interpretation that is rich in nuances and fervent. Rarely, truly rarely, does one hear a great role from an iron (almost) repertoire sung in a way so devoid of bad, operatic mannerisms. I asked myself about the traditions to which the artist refers. The Poznań “Rusalka” shows how important a reference point for Sobotka’s operatic thinking is her experience in the field of vocal lyricism. This is clearly visible in the aria “Měsíčku na nebi hlubokém”, where each phrase is assigned a slightly different emotional shade, and where – despite the variety – everything comes together as a whole, creating a coherent narrative arc, just like in a Schubert song. This does not mean that the singer extinguishes emotions. There are also distinctly hysterical accents there, in the spirit of Anna Magnani. However, these colors are consciously dosed and with great restraint. They do not appear as an expression of helplessness (so-called last-ditch effort), but as a boiling point, prepared by gradually raising the emotional temperature of the scene. – Michal Bajer