A tenor, a painter, a director, regarded as the most outstanding – not only Polish – opera artists. For almost 60 years now his brilliant career has been connected to the greatest opera stages of the world. Before he made his life choice he graduated from the Faculty of Ceramics of the University of Science and Technology in Cracow (1954-60). While studying, he trained his voice under the tuition of Gustaw Serafin and then under the supervision of professor Maria Szłapak, when he was engaged by the Silesian Opera.
He debuted in Bytom in 1960 on the stage of the Silesian Opera as Muezin in Casanova by Różycki and then Edgar in Lucia di Lamermoor by Gaetano Donizzeti. During the following season he sang the part of Stefan in The Haunted Manor by Moniuszko, Nadir in The Pearl Fishers by G. Bizet, Lionel in Martha, or the Market in Richmond by F. Flotow and Max in the Freeshooter by C.M. Von Weber. In the season 1963-64 he sang in the Cracow Opera the part of Cavaradossi in Tosca by G. Puccini and Young King in Hagith by K. Szymanowski. In 1964 he was engaged by the National Theatre in Warsaw where he performed Jontek in Halka by Moniuszko, the title part in Faust by Ch. Gounod, Don José in Carmen and Cavaradossi in Tosca. In the years 1966-68 Wiesław Ochman commenced his international career. Since that time he has been regularly performing on the biggest opera stages of the world, incl. La Scala in Milan, Metropolitan Opera in New York, operas in Barcelona, Berlin, Buenos Aires, Chicago, Hamburg, Madrid, Moscow, Paris, Rome, Salzburg, San Francisco, Sevilla and Vienna. He performed with Berlin Philharmonikern. He participated in the most prestigious music festivals in Glyndebourne, Orange and Salzburg; he performed under the batons of the excellent Polish masters and the most famous world conductors such as Herbert von Karajan, Karl Boehm, Leonard Bernstein, Rafael Kubelik, Claudio Abbado, Ricardo Mutti, James Levina, Nello Santi etc. He acted in performances directed by most distinguished directors: Gian Carlo Menotti, Goetz Friedrich, August Everding, John Dexter, Andrej Tarkowski, Evald Schorm, Franco Zeffirelli, Erhard Fischer and others.
He made a lot of radio and album recordings of opera, symphonic and popular music
for renowned record companies. He played in film version of Tsarevich by F. Lehár (title part), in Salome by R. Strauss (as Narraboth) and in Eugene Onegin (as Lenski).
Another chapter of his artistic passions is painting. He has had more than 70 individual painting exhibitions. Charity has become an important element of his activity. He co organised a number of auctions supporting Polish culture and art abroad. Together with Krzysztof Missiona he initiated (by a concert in the Słowacki Theatre) the collection of funds for renovation of monuments in Cracow. The funds that were collected on the auction of Polish art in the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in New York were used i.a. for the refurbishment of the Adam Mickiewicz Museum in Vilnius. For many years now he has participated and co organised gala concerts of the Auxilium Foundation which supports the hospital in Zawiercie.
He has been awarded numerous awards and distinctions, including the Medal of the 400 years of the Capital City of Warsaw, Commander’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta, Knight of the Order of Smile. He is the honorary resident of Zelowo, Bytom, Dresdenko, Zawiercie and Szczawno-Zdrój. He received the badge of Patron of Art in Voivodeship, Gloria Artis gold medal for his services for culture, he is a member of the Polish Academy of Learning, he is a holder of the honorary doctorate of AGH – University of Science and Technology in Cracow and of the J.I. Paderewski Academy of Music in Poznań. The authorities of Zawiercie named one of the roundabouts after him.
His activities are described in books: „Ochman” by Wacław Panek, „Tonacje sławy”, „Obrazy wyśpiewane kolorem” and „Meandry” by Jerzy Skrobot and „O wszystkim” – long conversation between Olgierd Budrewicz and Wiesław Ochman.
For many years Wiesław Ochman was the president of the Program Council of the Silesian Opera as he has always felt special connection to the stage where he had his début and where his great artistic career started. After 1999 he took up opera directing and in the Silesian Opera in Bytom he directed Don Giovanni by W. A. Mozart, Traviata by G. Verdi, Tsarevich by F. Lehár, Eugene Onegin by Tchaikovsky, Boris Godunov by M. Musorgski, Carmen by G. Bizet and The Hunted Manor by Moniuszko. He has been connected with the Adam Didur Opera Singers’ Competition since 2004; he was the President of the Jury of several editions of the Competition.