The Polish premiere of Elżbieta Sikora's opera Madame Curie celebrated the Polish Presidency of the European Council and the International Year of Chemistry. The opera was also extremely well received at its international premiere in Paris
Elizbieta Sikora's opera Madame Curie received warm applause in Paris on the 15th of November 2011 as the Baltic Opera in Gdańsk presented an operatic work dedicated to the life and times of Polish scientist, Maria Curie. Polish vocalists - including Anna Mikołajczyk in the lead role - were accompanied by the choir and orchestra of the Baltic Opera in Gdansk.
The opera was composed by Elżbieta Sikora. Agata Miklaszewska, known for the musical Metro, wrote the libretto. The performance is comprised of 10 soloists, a 30-person choir, dancers and a symphony orchestra that also features saxophone, accordeon and electronic music elements.
The libretto was inspired by the life of two-time Noble Prize-winner, whose achievements came as breakthroughs in the fields of science and technology. The opera also focuses on Skłodowska's private life- from her early years in Poland to her life in France. The performance recalls the less-known threads of Sklodowska's life, such as her fascination with the dancer Loie Fuller, an American, appearing in Sikora's opera in the form of dancing white butterfly.
When the piece was first staged, the director Marek Weiss said: "few people...understand the scientific milestones that her work led to" and that Curie "has a rightful position in the pantheon of national heroes". He expressed the hope that year 2011 "would deepen" this recognition, calling the scientist a "role model'' for both himself and his children. "We wanted to tell the story of this unique woman, who conquered the world despite her many hardships...
Elzbieta Sikora says about her work :
I set myself the task to show Maria Sklodowska-Curie not only as the person we know of from textbooks, a scientist who worked day and night, looking for new discoveries, but that she was simply a human-being, who also walked on the ground, with emotions and science in all its forms. I wanted to show her from this side – as a human individual and as a woman - it's a complete coincidence. Her story is a true operatic scenario, so I didn’t have to look for much or add, only interpret the facts of her life. And so it happened with the libretto.
Anna Mikołajczyk describes her heroine:
The character is very interesting, amazing, tough, stubborn, and yet so ordinary. I think a lot like women today.
Madame Curie was the first opera of the Opera Gedanesis series: a project run by the Baltic Opera in Gdańsk and funded by the city of Gdańsk. The series is ongoing between 2011 -2016. Other operas included the Gdański Europejczyk / Gdansk European opera, telling the story of the Gdańsk-born philosopher Artur Schopenhauer and Romeo i Julia z Krakowa / Romeo and Juliet from Kraków (working title). The Baltic Opera in Gdańsk was established by Iwo Galla Music/ Drama Studio and has a sixty year tradition In 2010 it was recognised by the BBC as one of the nine best theatre operas in Europe.
Polish premiere of the opera Madame Curie by Elżbieta Sikora of the libretto of Agata Miklaszewska directed by Mark Weiss is held on 25th of November 2011 at the Baltic Opera in Gdańsk.
The Paris performance marked the opera's world premiere.
Featuring: Anna Mikołajczyk (Maria Sklodowska-Curie), Paul Skałuba (Pierre Curie), Tomasz Rak (Paul Langevin), Leszek Skrla (Einstein), Opera House Chorus and Orchestra conducted by Wojciech Baltic Michniewski.
For more information visit www.operabaltycka.pl.