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Carmina Burana


time: 11:00 am
scene: Main Stage
duration: 1 hr 10 mins
time: 6:30 pm
scene: Main Stage
duration: 1 hr 10 mins
time: 6:30 pm
scene: Main Stage
duration: 1 hr 10 mins

Carmina Burana

Composer: Carl Orff

Secular songs; lyrics after the medieval manuscript from the abbey of Benediktbeuern (Bavaria)
Prologue and final reprise by the composer

World premiere: Frankfurt am Main, 8 June 1937
Polish premiere (staging): Łódź 1963

Premiere at the Krakow Opera: 27 April 2018
In the original version, with Polish subtitels

Production team:

Music Director: Tomasz Tokarczyk
Stage Producer and choreographer: Emil Wesołowski 
Set and Costume Designer: Bożena Pędziwiatr 
Choir Master: Jacek Mentel
Children’s Choir Masters: Beata Kluza and Marek Kluza
Lighting designer, projections Dariusz Pawelec

Director’s assistant: Bożena Walczyk-Skrzypczak
Choreographer’s assistants: Elena Korpusenko, Victor Korpusenko
Choir master’s assistant: Joanna Wójtowicz
Stage managers: Agnieszka Sztencel, Justyna Jarocka-Lejzak



“Carmina Burana”, called by some people a stage cantata and by others – an oratorio, is based on secular mediaeval songs, discovered in 1803 in the Bavarian monastery Benediktbeuern. Carl Orff selected from this vast collection of texts, created by vagrants, students and wandering clerics, 24 songs and composed them in some sort of a libretto. The first part comprises songs celebrating nature and the awakening spring, the second part is a praise of Bacchus and the third one tells of pleasures of love. The motto of the entire piece is apotheosis of life and affirmation of the world. Only approval to order and structure of the macrocosm will allow a human to maintain purity of soul and live according to nature.


PROLOGUE: elaborate choral hymn to Fortune – the fickle goddess of human fate.

PART I (“Veris laeta facies” – “On Spring”): songs extolling the beauty of nature awakening into life in spring, when Phoebus the sun god chases away winter and Flora adorns the whole world with fresh verdure, followed by songs in praise of May, the month that kindles love in human hearts. In joking words, girls ask a vagrant pedlar to give them some rouge to colour their cheeks and attract boys.

PART II (“In taverna” – “In the Tavern”): fanciful drinking songs, one in praise of temporal life; another discussing the feelings of... a swan, which – while being stewed in a saucepan – complains about the inconstancy of earthly fortune; and the third one parodying liturgical singing. In conclusion, all the merrymakers join in a song in honour of Bacchus.

PART III (“Amor volat undique” – “On Love”): discusses the delights and sorrows of love and also illustrates the various stages of the love game. In the final movement, the choir sings a song in honour of Venus. However, as it is not Venus but Fortune that really rules the world, the whole work is concluded by a reprise of the opening hymn in her praise.

Józef Kański, “Przewodnik operowy”