Praise For Sikora and Madame Curie
small, Praise For Sikora and Madame Curie, The cover of Elżbieta Sikora's Madame Cure, madame curie dvd_6990695.jpg
The Polish composer, who celebrates her 70th birthday this year, has been presented with two important awards
contemporary polish composers
Elżbieta Sikora, who works and lives in France, has been recognised by the Association of Polish Composers for her "prominent art of composition, the opera Madame Curie and her work as a curator". The official gala of presenting the prize will taka place as part of the 56th edition of the Warsaw Autumn festival of contemporary music.
The second award is the French Orphée du Prestige Lyrique – a statuette of the Academie du Disque Lyrique for the DVD with Madame Curie, Sikora’s latest opera. The award is part of the Orphees French award in music, and it is presented to the artist on the 25th of June at the Parisian Théâtre Châtelet.
The Orpheus is a prize very pertinent to the work of Sikora – the composer has devoted three pieces to the son of Apollo and Calliope. In an interview with Krzysztof Kwiatkowski for the Ruch Muzyczny magazine, the composer revealed:
Głowa Orfeusza [The Head of Orpheus] for tape is in way Orpheus’ gaze from within, it depicts his inner world, in the second piece, The Head of Orpheus II, the legendary signer is represented by a flute, which encounters with the surrounding world in either a friendly or an unfriendly manner – there are fragments that are when the flute produces sounds evocative of electronic music, and moments when electronics attempt to come close to the flute, and at other moments we see a juxtaposition.
The premiere of Madame Curie took place in Paris in 2011. There are 10 solosits cast in the piece, as well as a chorus of 30 and a dancer of the Baltic Dance Theatre. The musical layer encompasses instruments such as saxophone, accordion and electronic guitar on top of the traditional symphonic orchestra. Electronic music is also played live from a computer.
I challenged myself with the task of having Maria Skłodowska-Curie different to the figure we are aquainted with in textbooks – a scientist, who worked day and night in search of new discoveries. Instead she was also simply a human who also walked on this earth, had an emotional life of her own and the scientific life in all its forms. I wanted to portray her from this angle – as a fully human individual, and the fact that she was also a woman is pure coincidence. Her story is a real operatic scenario, so one doesn’t have to add or search for much more, but only needs to interpret the facts from her life in the right way. And thus, it became a libretto
Elżbieta Sikora was born on the 20th of October, 1943 in Lviv. She graduated from the Department of Musical Direction under Antoni Karużas at the State Higher School of Music in Warsaw. In 1968, she travelled to Paris, where she studied at the Groupe de Recherches Musicales under Pierre Schaeffer and François Bayle – real titans of electronic music. In 1973, together with Krzysztof Knittel and Wojciech Michniewski she created a group of composers called KEW, with which she performed concerts in Poland, Sweden, Austria and Germany. She lives in France since 1981.
Editor: Filip Lech, translated by Paulina Schlosser