Summary of the 2018/2019 season10 July 2019
This last season at the Krakow Opera ended, traditionally, with the Summer Festival. The audience awarded the artists, who concluded the musical celebration by performing Gioachino Rossini’s “The Barber of Seville”, with a standing ovation. The comedy style finale brought closure to the season, which was inaugurated in a similar spirit by Stanisław Moniuszko’s “Beata”. Its performance on 16 September 2018 announced the celebration of 200th anniversary of the father of national opera birth.
Stanisław Moniuszko’s music resonated throughout the season both in the building at Lubicz Street 48 and outside of it. It all began with a concert performance of “Beata”, the last stage work of the composer, which had not been performed since its creation until 1972. The performance was connected with the recording of an album, released by DUX Recording Producers on 7 May 2019. In the following week, the producers met the listeners at the Moniuszko Auditorium of Teatr Wielki of The National Opera.
On the day of Stanisław Moniuszko’s birthday we presented the 2004 interpretation of “The Haunted Manor” directed by Laco Adamik. A month later, in the Church of St Michael the Archangel and St Stanislaus Bishop and Martyr and Pauline Fathers Monastery, the Opera soloists reminded us of Moniuszko’s lyric vocal music and sacred art by performing Open Up Your Ears, My Lord as part of Public Theatre Day. It was performed once again during the Summer Festival as part of the thirteenth edition of Theatre Night.
One of the most awaited festival concerts – “World Opera Arias”at the Wawel Castle – was devoted to Moniuszko as well. The dancers of the Polish National Ballet ensured the spectacle-like character of the concert. They performed Concert Polonaise and the Mazur from The Haunted Manor at the Castle Arcade Courtyard. Anna Woźniakowska wrote for polskamuza.eu: Fragments of “The Haunted Manor”, “Halka”, “The Countess”, “Verbum Nobile”, and “Beata”, as well as the Polonaise (...) performed by Katarzyna Oleś-Blacha, Ewa Vesin, Monika Korybalska, Tomasz Kuk, Adam Szerszeń and Wojciech Gierlach with the choir and orchestra of The Krakow Opera conducted by Tomasz Tokarczyk once again proved the great melody inventiveness of Moniuszko, his stage nerve and skill with orchestra, but also the ability to create pastiche, which can be illustrated by Ewa’s Italian aria from “The Countess”, performed marvellously by Katarzyna Oleś-Blacha. “World Opera Arias - Moniuszko!” concert was co-financed by the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage from the Culture Promotion Fund, under the “Moniuszko 2019 – Promesa” programme, implemented by the Institute of Music and Dance.
The celebration was supplemented by exhibitions. The first of them - Stanisław Moniuszko at The Krakow Opera Stage - displayed theatre’s archive resources documenting the regular appearance of Moniuszko’s works in the Playbills of The Krakow Opera since 1947. The second exhibited a collection of lithograph prints by Joanna Tumiłowicz, which illustrate the songs of the Domestic Songbooks.
2019 was all about Moniuszko but the previous year was devoted to the hundredth anniversary of Poland regaining its independence. For this very reason, “Manru”, the only opera of the great pianist, composer, statesman and co-creator of The Second Polish Republic - Jan Paderewski, inaugurated the season. The piece directed by Laco Adamik premiered in our theatre on 16 November 2018. A review competition was organised as part of the performance.
In March, the temperature rose around Gioachino Rossini’s “The Barber of Seville”– it was the second production prepared for out theatre by Jerzy Stuhr (the first being Geatano Donizetti’s “Don Pasquale). Joanna Targoń wrote for “Gazeta Wyborcza”: One watches this “Barber of Seville” with great pleasure. The performance is light and witty, yet it is not a forced cleverness, it does not communicate directly to the viewers that we are playing with the operatic convention and the absurdity of intrigue. The spiralling of the absurdity winds up casually, reaching climax in the dance at the finale: the soldiers (in full uniform, helmets, bullet-proof jackets) point their rifles at the audience, then put them on the edge and spin graceful circles around them. It lasts but a short moment, a good idea should not be exploited excessively. Stuhr knows this - and perhaps that is exactly why his opera is so amusing.
Leonard Bernstein’s “Candide”, a Broadway hit directed by Michał Znaniecki, inaugurated the Festival on 7 June. Bernstein’s music resonated in the Krakow Opera for the first time. Seven performances were attended by almost five thousand people. The premiere was supplemented by the Build Candide Stage With Us – an event during which we invited our audience to deliver books to the Opera. In exchange, they could buy a ticket for one of our shows at a lower price. The books became a part of stage design. Soon, they will be donated to one of the social organisations in Krakow.
“Ongaku: The Three Stones”, a family-friendly spectacle, premiered as well. Paweł Wójtowicz, a longstanding concertmaster of the Krakow Opera, is an author of the concept, script, and music to the work. A moving tale of a boy who breaks barriers in the relationship with his father and the world was adapted for audience members with hearing, visual and locomotor disabilities. The story is told with the use of a simple language, with fantasy and a great deal of imagination, wrote Anna Woźniakowska. It was framed in a lovely music. It was directed in such a way that would keep the audience at the edge of their seats, and sometimes include them in the plot. In addition, there are pretty, vibrant, accurate, fantastic costumes designed by Bożena Pędziwiatr. The performance was staged as part of Małopolska. Sensitive Culture project, which is financed by the Małopolska Region. The project was coordinated by the Małopolska Institute of Culture in Krakow.
During this past season, the Krakow Opera Ballet staged “The Nutcracker”and “Cinderella”. The ensemble also demonstrated their skills during a special “Révérence” gala, organised as part of International Dance Day on 27 and 28 April. The youngest dancers of the Ballet Studio presented the effects of their long-year work during the Ballet is us! performance. Moreover, the artists took part in “Carmina Burana” and “Orpheus and Eurydice”. The ballet is particularly exposed in the latter thanks to the choreography created by Giorgio Madia. The dancers performed during the “World Opera Arias” concert, as well, where they presented the daring Highlander Dances by Stanisław Moniuszko.
MEETINGS AND CONCERTS
Close attention should be paid to “Dialogue Between The Masters: Mahler And Strauss”concert, which was organised as part of the Summer Festival at the Polish Aviation Museum and found its place among a series of presentations of vocal lyrical music entitled “Song – The Theatre of the Word”, whose creator and artistic director is Katarzyna Oleś-Blacha. “The Great Choirs of Great Operas” concert returned after a four-year break, this time to the Arcade Courtyard of the Wawel Royal Castle.
Moreover, the Friends of The Krakow Opera gathered twice at the Opera Gallery as part of Viva Opera..! meetings. In January, during the annual meeting of Donors, Sponsors and Partners, Vox Opera awards were handed out. The prestigious awards were presented to: The Wieliczka Salt Mine, and Tauron Dystrybucja S.A. for kindness and support of performances and projects of the Krakow Opera as well as their cooperation. The March Viva Opera...! took place as part of the International Theatre Day. Our employees were honoured with national decorations.
New Year’s Eve Concert “Walc Embarras”, New Year’s Eve Concerts in Kraków and Wieliczka, Carnival Concert, “New Year in Vienna - Shrovetide in Krakow”, but also special concerts: “Opera 2008-2018” or “We the Shepherds”, a carol concert at the St. Nicolas Church, were seen by over six thousand people – attendance never dropped below 100%.
Throughout the 2018/2019 season, we organised exactly 50 educational and popularising events. #OPERA workshop, co-financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, offered meetings with the people of culture who unveiled the secrets of the opera from behind the scenes. The spectators had a chance to meet the artists twice as part of Inspirations series: with director Jerzy Stuhr and musical director Tomasz Tokarczyk – before the premiere of “The Barber of Seville”, and with Michał Zaniecki – before the premiere of “Candide”. The latter was organised in cooperation with All In UJ.
Moms-to-be participated in “Music From The Very Start workshop”, whose creator and host was music therapist Karolina Gwardzik. The workshop was distinguished in the WITHOUT TENDER (BEZ (PRZE)TARGU) competition on 10 October 2018 for “inspiring, creative, pro-social marketing activities”.
The youngest spectators were invited to take part in Mornings – meetings, during which children learned about the opera community. This year, we showed them how to dress to the Opera, what a poster or a playbill is, and unveiled the secrets of dressing rooms and costumes. The youngest spectators also had a chance to participate in A Folklore Sound workshop, which was held as part of Culture Coupon programme and was devoted to folklore music. This year, the children have learned the Krakowiak, polonaise, and dances from the regions of Lubelszyzna and Śląsk.
2018/2019 SEASON BY THE NUMBERS
Since September 2018 until the end of June 2019, The Krakow Opera staged a total of 109 performances. They were seen by 65,000 spectators. 15 concerts attended by over 10,000 people were organised. 50 educational events found an audience of 1,650, most of whom were children and the youth. In total, our theatre was visited by 79,000 people. Thank you for being there with us.
We look forward to seeing you in the next season! The tickets will be available starting from 19 August.