She is a musician with comprehensive artistic interests. She performs operas, oratorios, chamber works, songs and modern works. She has a dramatic coloratura soprano.
While she was born on 9 July 1976 in Knurów, in a family, which has lived for ages in the region of Upper Silesia, in the last 25 years, her professional life has been associated mainly with Krakow, in which she has become one of the well-known personalities.
She is a graduate of the piano class at the Władysław Żeleński 2nd Level State Music School in Krakow. In June of 2001, she graduated with the best grade from the Faculty of Voice and Drama of the Krzysztof Penderecki Academy of Music in Krakow in the class of Professor Wojciech Jan Śmietana. In 2018, she completed her postgraduate studies in Culture Management at the Jagiellonian University.
Since October of 2001, she has worked as an assistant, and since year 2008 - as an associate professor at the Voice Department of the Academy of Music in Krakow. She teaches solo singing. In September of 2006, she earned her Ph.D. in musical arts - voice arts, and in July of 2014, she completed her post-doctoral degree. She conducts voice workshops and master classes for the youth and for students of vocal arts.
She perfected her skills during numerous master and interpretation classes taught by the most renowned educators and signers, including Professor Ryszard Karczykowski, Professor Christian Elssner, Paul Esswood, Anne Raynolds.
She is a laureate of many domestic and international competitions and festivals. Still as a student, in year 1998, she got the first prize at the 7th International Vocal Festival in Powell River in Canada in the category of young soloists below 25 years of age. She is also a laureate of the Audience Award at the 8th International Vocal Seminar in Beeskow near Berlin (1999) and the 3rd Prize and the Audience Award during the Course in Interpretation of Italian Music, conducted by Professor Ryszard Karczykowski in Warsaw (2000). In 2010, she received the 3rd prize in the female voice category at the Stanisław Moniuszko 7th International Vocal Competition in Warsaw.
In the season of 1999/2000, she was a scholar of the Minister of Culture and Art, and in year 2000, she received the Creative Award of the City of Krakow. In year 2012, she was awarded the Jan Kiepura Theatrical Music Award in the “Best Female Singer” category. In July of 2014, she received the “Ars Quaerendi” award for Outstanding Contribution to Promotion of Culture.
Her début was the role of the Queen of the Night in Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's “The Magic Flute” on 09.01.2000 during a tour with the ensemble of the “Pro Musica” from Wrocław under direction of Marek Tracz. Her performance of the role met with a spontaneous reaction of the German audience, among others, in Hanover, Munich, Stuttgart, Wolfsburg and Berlin. She sung the part many times in various theatres and productions, including during her début at the Krakow Opera in 2001. She has stayed at the Opera on a full-time basis since 2006 until today. For the role of the Queen of the Night in the production of the Opera presented at the Szczecin Castle, she was nominated for the “Amber Ring” for the best actor of the year 2003. In this role, she also appeared in the spectacle of the Grand Theatre in Poznań and the Silesian Opera in Bytom. The subsequent staging of the “Magic Flute”, in which she appeared, was the spectacle of the Nova Opera in Bydgoszcz presented to the Dutch audience; the Polish première took place during the 13th Opera Festival in Bydgoszcz in May of 2006; in the Netherlands, the production was presented for the first time in Eindhoven on 6 April 2006. In the Baltic Opera, she appeared in the role of the Queen of the Night in 2015, in a spectacle directed by Mark Weiss and conducted by Noam Zur.
The following roles can be considered to be of particular importance in the artist’s portfolio: Rosina (“The Barber of Seville” by Gioacchino Rossini), Gilda (“Rigoletto” by Giuseppe Verdi), Roxana (“King Roger” by Karol Szymanowski), Fiorilla (“The Turk in Italy” by Gioacchino Rossini), Zerbinetta (“Ariadne on Naxos” by Richard Strauss), Violetta (“La Traviata” by Giuseppe Verdi), Leonora (“The Troubadour” by Giuseppe Verdi), Olympia, Antonia, Giulietta, Stella (“The Tales of Hoffmann” by Jacques Offenbach), Norma (“Norma” by Vincenzo Bellini), Anna (“Anna Bolena” by Gaetano Donizetti), Fiordiligi, Donna Anna and the Countess, as well as the Queen of the Night, performed by her more often than any other role in masterpieces by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Her first role at the National Opera in Wrocław was Lucia (“Lucia di Lammermoor” by Gaetano Donizetti). The most recent premières, in which she has appeared, include “The Daughter of the Regiment” by Gaetano Donizetti and “Candide” by Leonard Bernstein.
The artist’s extensive portfolio includes more than 50 leading roles in operas, operettas and musicals, which she presented during various festivals and in the repertoires of many opera theatres in Poland and abroad.
She has completed a number of tours with the Nova Opera of Bydgoszcz, the Grand Theatre in Łódź, the Baltic Opera in Gdańsk, the Musical Theatre in Lublin, the Krakow Opera, the Castle Opera in Szczecin, travelling to Austria, Belgium, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland and Norway to perform on such prestigious stages as: Festspiel und Kongresshaus in Bregenz, Theater am Aegi in Hanover, Philharmonie in Berlin, Philharmonie in Munich, Gewandhaus in Leipzig, Rotterdamse Schouwburg in Rotterdam.
Artistic interests of Katarzyna Oleś-Blacha include also early music (cooperation with the Cappella Cracoviensis ensemble), oratorio-cantata works, as well as chamber works. She has been guest to many philharmonic orchestras and concert halls, performing works by Johann Sebastian Bach, Georg Friedrich Haendel, Joseph Haydn, Ludwig van Beethoven, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Richard Strauss, Carl Orff, Józef Michał Ksawery Poniatowski and many other composers. The significance of this field of artistic activity of the soprano signer is proven by numerous concerts in the country and abroad (among others, in Krakow, Warsaw, Wrocław, Szczecin, Katowice, Stuttgart, Wolfsburg, Innsbruck, Linz, Hanover, Berlin, Munich, Regensburg, Fulda, Graz, Strasburg, Shanghai, Al Kuwait, Lisbon, Paris, Bogotá, Rome).
She has recorded many CDs and has made a number of archive recordings for the Radio and Television - among others, in year 2005, the “Concert for Soprano and Orchestra” by Tadeusz Zygfryd Kassern, performed very rarely, which has been broadcast many times by the Polish radio stations. The audience and critics were particularly happy about her album “Per due Donne” (DUX 1351) and the first CD recording of the last opera by Stanisław Moniuszko, “Beata” (DUX 1531).
Versatility of the singer is also proven by the fact that she is always willing to perform works of modern composers. In many cases, her performances constitute the world premières of these works.
Particularly noteworthy in the artist’s portfolio are numerous song interpretations, including works of Richard Strauss, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Karol Szymanowski, Stanisław Moniuszko, Stefan Henryk Bereza (1st edition of a CD recording), Georg Crumb, Maurice Ravel. Since 2016, she has been the artistic director of cyclical concerts SONG-THEATRE OF WORDS at the Krakow Opera.
She has collaborated with outstanding conductors, piano players and singers. These include, among others, Mariola Cieniawa, Urszula Kryger, Anna Lubańska, Janina Anna Pawluk, Agnieszka Rehlis, Małgorzata Walewska, Jan Tomasz Adamus, Łukasz Borowicz, Kai Bumann, Paul McCreesh, Andrzej Dobber, Cord Garben, Ryszard Karczykowski, Tomasz Konieczny, Tadeusz Kozłowski, Adam Kruszewski, Piotr Kusiewicz, Mariusz Kwiecień, Artur Ruciński, Tomasz Tokarczyk, Mikołaj Zalasiński.
The graduates of her singing class include Monika Korybalska, Alina Polova, Karolina Wieczorek, Agata Widera-Burda.
For her artistic and educational achievements, as well as for her contribution to promotion of art, she has been awarded the following state medals and decorations: the “Polonia Minor”, the “Honoris Gratia”, the “Bronze Medal for Many Years of Service”, the “Medal of the Commission of National Education”, the “Bronze Cross of Merit”, the Bronze Medal “Person of Merit in Culture - Gloria Artis”.