The Lottery for Men – Karol Szymanowski
It was purely financial reasons that prompted Szymanowski in 1908 to start work on The Lottery for Men. Finished the following year, this operetta is now counted among his marginal works. Szymanowski himself looked down on it while writing it, and complained in a letter to Grzegorz Fitelberg:
I have so much to do that I am giving up: copying and correcting are the worst, and the operetta is looming over me like some black fate; I have resolved, however, to grit my teeth and finish it before Warszawa, and there is very little left.1
In 1912 Szymanowski commissioned a German translation of the libretto from Jerzy Guranowski, with a view to having the operetta produced in Vienna with the composer staying under the stage name of Whitney. Initially titled The Jackpot (Główna wygrana), The Lottery was never, however, staged in Poland nor abroad, nor published. It was not until 30th December 1952 that some excerpts were performed by Natalia Stokowacka and Bogdan Paprocki with the Grand Symphony Orchestra of the Polish Radio under Grzegorz Fitelberg in the Polish Radio in Katowice.
1 Karol Szymanowski. Korespondencja, Tom I: lata 1903-1919, s. 191, list z 15/28 X 1909 do Grzegorza Fitelberga, oprac. Teresa Chylińska, ed. Teresa Chylińska, PWM, Kraków 1982.
Author: Anna Iwanicka-Nijakowska, September 2007.