Artist database

This is the Artist Database of BMC, which includes information about composers, musicians, orchestras, choirs and groups that are either Hungarian or Hungarian by origin or live in Hungary, as well as information about releases recorded with them.

Polgár László

voice - bass

Place of Birth
Date of Birth

1 January 1947 Somogyszentpál - 19 September 2010 Zurich

Distinguished opera singer (bass), constant guest artist of the most important opera houses of Europe and the USA. He had a resounding success in opera roles by Mozart and Verdi, but the title-role of Bluebeard's castle by Bartók has been his greatest performance ever. Outstanding oratorio and song singer.

He studied music from 1967 to 1972 at the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest as pupil of Éva Kutrucz and Mrs. Ferenc Révhegyi, later in Vienna as Hans Hotter's private student. He debuted as Count Ceprano (Verdi: Rigoletto) in 1971 on the stage of the Hungarian State Opera. From 1972 he was scholarship holder of the Opera and in 1973 he became private singer of the institute. At the beginning of his career he achieved outstanding performance at many contests: in 1974 he won the Dvořák Contest, in 1974 the Schumann Contest and in 1976 the Erkel Singing Contest and the Song Contest of the Hungarian Radio. In 1977 he came in first place in Ostende, in 1980 at the Hugo Wolf Contest and in 1981 at the Pavarotti Contest.

His international career has launched in 1978 as Ozmin in Hamburg and since then he has sung all the great Mozart bass and bass baritone roles. Later he's been regularly invited to the most prestigious opera houses in Europe. In 1981 and 1982 he sang the role of Bluebeard and of Philip the Second (Verdi: Don Carlos), while in Brussels he was Count von Walter (Verdi: Luisa Miller). Later on, he has performed in contemporary operas as well. In the '80s he's been a guest artist in Paris singing the role of Leporello (Mozart: Don Giovanni) many times, where he worked with Jean-Pierre Ponnelle, the most influential opera director of the era. Ponnelle invited him 1986 and 1987 to the Salzburg Festival, where he sang the role of Sarastro.

Since 1991 he's been the member of the Zurich Opera House. Since 1996 he's been teaching in the Musikschule und Konservatorium Winterthur. Throughout his career he has assisted to a number of music records: the one on which he sang Bluebeard with Jessie Norman, Pierre Boulez and the Chicago Symphonic Orchestra was awarded by Grammy. He was on stage at the Scala in Milano and the Covent Garden in London. He worked with such famous conductors as Claudio Abbado, Daniel Barenboim, Pierre Boulez, Riccardo Muti, György Solti, Riccardo Chailly, Christoph von Dohnanyi, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Giuseppe Patané, Bruno Bartoletti, Oleg Caetani, Kent Nagano, Pinchas Steinberg, Christian Thielemann and Michel Plasson.

His major roles are: Sarastro (Mozart: The Magic Flute), Ozmin (Mozart: Elopement from the Seraglio), Leporello (Mozart: Don Giovanni), Philip the Second (Verdi: Don Carlos), Sparafucile (Verdi: Rigoletto), Guardian (Verdi: La forza del destino), Count von Walter (Verdi: Luisa Miller), Rodolfo (Bellini: The sleepwalker), Basilio (Rossini: Il barbiere di Siviglia), King Marke (Wagner: Tristan und Isolde), Gurnemanz (Wagner: Parsifal), Colline (Puccini: La Bohéme) and of course Bluebeard (Bartók: Bluebeard's Castle).

For his performance as distinguished artist he was awarded with the Mihály Székely Plaque and the Liszt Prize in 1982. He was honored with the title Merited Artist in 1986, the Kossuth Prize in 1990, the György Melis Plaque in 1991 and the Béla Bartók Memorial Plaque in 2006.
Year Title Publisher Code Remark
1980 Balassa Sándor: Az ajtón kívül, op. 27
(Balassa, Sándor: The Man Outside, op. 27)
Hungaroton SLPX 12052-53 2 LPs
1989 Respighi, Ottorino: Belfagor Hungaroton HCD 12850-51 2 CDs / First recording
1990 Mascagni, Pietro: Lodoletta Hungaroton HCD 31307-08 2 CDs
1990 Vajda János: Mario és a varázsló
(Vajda, János: Mario and the Magican)
Hungaroton HCD 31122
1995 Händel, Georg Friedrich: Atalanta Hungaroton HCD 12612-14 3 CDs / World premiere recording
1995 Cavalli, Francesco: Laetatus sum; Magnificat / Charpentier, Marc-Antoine: Te deum Hungaroton HCD 12920
1995 Liszt Ferenc: Magyar koronázási mise R. 487
(Ferenc Liszt: Hungarian Coronation Mass R. 487)
Hungaroton HCD 12148
1995 Respighi, Ottorino: Semirama Hungaroton HCD 31197-98 2 CDs / Recorded in 1990
1997 Goldmark Károly: Sába királynője
(Goldmark Karl: Die Königin von Saba (The Queen of Saba))
Hungaroton HCD 12179-81 3 CDs /Recorded in 1980
2001 50 éves a Hungaroton - Énekművészek (1951-2001)
(Fifty Years of Hungaroton - Singers)
Hungaroton HCD 32096-98 3 CDs
2001 Liszt Ferenc: Krisztus - oratórium
(Liszt: Christus - oratorio)
Hungaroton HCD 12831
2003 Sugár Miklós: Vihar után; Dalok; Luxatio; Három dal...; NO.2; Francia dalok; Miniatűrök
(Miklós, Sugár: After Storm; Songs...; Luxatio; Three Songs...; NO.2; French Songs; Miniatures)
Hungaroton HCD 32180
2011 Magic Moments of Opera Arthaus Musik 107515 11 DVDs
2017 The Reformation & Johann Sebastian Bach Hungaroton HCD 32763
2021 Don't Hold Me Bach - The Essential Classics of the Baroque Composer J. S. Bach Hungaroton HCD 32856