Wrocław's European Capital of Culture Programme Revealed
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The European Film Awards, the Theatre Olympiad, and a meeting of European choirs – these are just a few of the artistic events to be held in Wrocław whilst the city holds the title of European Capital of Culture.
Wrocław, the 2016 European Capital of Culture 2016 (ECC), plans to offer over a thousand different cultural events in various fields of art: architecture, film, music, visual art, theatre, performance and opera. The programme was announced on 19 June at a press conference in Wrocław's Stadion Miejski.
Wrocław president Rafał Dutkiewicz said that 2016 may be the city’s most important year in its post-war history:
"We want to reach certain goals for the ECC, but the most important one is to double the number of culture-savvy citizens and tourists in Wrocław".
Dutkiewicz pointed out that the city has been preparing for the ECC since 2013:
"The ECC in Wrocław will reach its zenith in 2016; however, some events are to be continued in 2017 as well. The cost of organising it is estimated at 300 million złoty, 120 million of which will be donated by the Polish government."
Jarosław Fret, the chairman of the Board of Curators and the director of the theatre section, expressed the belief that the ECC 2016 will not only engage the citizens of Wrocław in cultural activities, but also profoundly change the culture of the city:
"The programme of the ECC 2016 combines an event-based festival with a process of change and transition. 'Spaces for Beauty', the motto we created for Wrocław ECC, means transforming the tectonics of the city. Our second motto, 'Metamorphoses of Culture', is the key to Wrocław’s identity and multiculturalism.
The most important film event to take place during the 2016 ECC is the European Film Awards ceremony that is to be hosted in Wrocław in December 2016. Europe's key film awards will be presented for the 29th time. So far, Polish filmmakers have been presented with this award twice: Krzysztof Kieślowski for A Short Film about Killing and Paweł Pawlikowski for Ida.
"The most significant European filmmakers will participate in this event. Starting from October we are planning to screen films that have been awarded the European Film Awards so far. This year’s nominated pictures are also to be presented before the final ceremony."
– says Roman Gutek, the director of the T-Mobile New Horizons film festival who is also responsible for the film section of the ECC 2016.
Gutek also announced that Wrocław will host a series of film reviews that are to present the history and diversity of European cinema. The film events start this year: the audience of 2015 T-Mobile New Horizons film festival will be able to watch the most significant Lithuanian films. Plans for 2016 include reviews of Wim Wenders’ works, Czechoslovakian New Wave and Ukrainian cinema.
The Film Operas project will start in 2016 as well. It includes the Polish premiere of Lost Highway, an opera performance based on David Lynch’s movie, with libretto by Elfriede Jelinek.
A review of Basque cinema is also scheduled (Basque city San Sebastian is also 2016 ECC) as well as a series of translated Polish film classics for Wrocław-based foreigners.
The ADAPTER audiodescription programme is to be developed as well. Over a hundred films, suited for the needs of people with visual and hearing impairments, will be available on a free-of-charge VOD portal.
The ECC 2016 programme also includes major film festivals that are already well-known in Wrocław: the T-Mobile International New Horizons Film Festival and the American Film Festival.
In 2016, Wrocław will also be the World Book Capital City of UNESCO. Ireneusz Grin, the director of the literature section:
"During the events in Wrocław, we will create an international book anthem based on Tadeusz Różewicz’s poem. On 23 April 2017, the last day of the World Book Capital City in Wrocław, this anthem will be sung in many cities around the world. This piece will remain the international book anthem even after our presidency"
– says Grin.
The Pan Tadeusz Museum in Wrocław is to be opened in 2016 as well. Run by the Ossolineum, it will exhibit, among others, a manuscript of the Polish national epic, Pan Tadeusz by Adam Mickiewicz.
The Bibliopolis is a project that aims at encouraging people to read. Its programme includes public readings and book exchange fairs. Literature will also become visible outdoors – books will be displayed on the building's walls and 10,000 cars will be covered with literary texts.
The Silesius International Poetry Festival will be organized in 2016 as well. It will collaborate with the biggest poetry festivals in Poland: Poznań Poetów, Miasto Poezji from Lublin, and the Czesław Miłosz International Festival from Kraków. Also,Wrocław will host the 4th World Congress of translators of Polish literature.
Polcon, the biggest festival of science-fiction and fantasy in Poland, is also scheduled for ECC 2016, as well as the official congress of Polish book club members, a meeting called a “literary Woodstock” by Grin.
New books are also to be published for ECC 2016:
"We are planning to translate the classic Polish children’s books into the languages of ethnic and national minorities. A literary portal created solely by students from Wrocław will also be created."
– said the curator of the literature section.
The National Forum of Music that is scheduled to be open in September will be the main stage for the music events of the ECC 2016 in Wrocław. The Washington National Symphony Orchestra, along with world-renowned Chinese pianist Lang Lang, is to perform there on 18 February 2016. The works of Mahler are to be performed on 18 March by the Budapest Festival Orchestra, one of the world’s top classical music orchestras. The Wiener Philharmoniker conducted by Semyon Bychkov is due to perform in June.
The National Forum of Music will also host several jazz concerts. The Jazztopad festival in February will include a performance by great jazz trumpeter Wynton Marsalis. Jazz concerts and jams will also be heard throughout the city on 30 April, International Jazz Day.
One of the major music events of the Wrocław ECC 2016 is a David Gilmour concert. The Pink Floyd guitarist is rumoured to be set to perform with Polish pianist and composer Leszek Możdżer.
The ECC 2016 music events also include the Singing Europe project, a meeting of European choirs that will present oratory and opera pieces.
Several music conferences will also take place, such as the European Forum on Music, the International Rostrum of Composers, and Pearle-Live Performance Europe.
The main opera event to be staged is Spanish Night with Carmen – Zarzuela Show. An audience of tens of thousands will have a chance to watch the spectacular performance at Stadion Miejski in Wrocław.
The show is based on fragments of Carmen by Georges Bizet, a story which takes place in Seville, Spain. The highlight of the show will present zaruzelas – a genre of music popular in Spanish-speaking countries, pieces of which resemble traditional operettas and contemporary musicals. The show will be enriched with a display of Spanish regions and cultural monuments.
The theatrical section is dominated by the Theatre Olympiad, an international festival that presents major theatrical works from around the world. 'The World as a Place of Truth' is the main motto behind these events:
"This motto is a paraphrasing of Jerzy Grotowski’s words. He said that the world should be a place of truth and that the theatre is, implicitly, this very place."
– says Jarosław Fret, the chairman of the Board of Curators and the director of the Jerzy Grotowski Theatre.
The Masters’ Programme is in the centre of the Theatre Olympiad – three weeks full of the theatrical performances of the great masters, each day dedicated to a different artist, including renowned guests such as Tadashi Suzuki, Theodoros Terzopoulos, Robert Wilson, Eugenio Barba, Peter Brook, and Romeo Castellucci.
Along with the Theatre Olympiad, the Dziady Recycling festival is to take place. A week-long event is to present both previous and modern interpretations and remixes of Adam Mickiewicz’s Dziady.
Reviews of independent theatre from the central-eastern Europe and Polish repertory theatre are also scheduled for ECC 2016. A conference on playwriting and theatrical critique is also planned.
The theatre festivals that are annually organized in Wrocław are also encompassed by the ECC 2016 programme. The events include the Stage Song Contest (this year’s edition is dedicated to European artists), and three music festivals, Polish, German and Lviv, that are related to Wrocław’s history.
One event in the architecture section is the Constructing Europe. 25 years of Mies van der Rohe Award exhibition – a summary of the 25-year-long history of Europe’s most significant architecture award.
european city of culture
The main architecture event is the presentation of WuWA2, a housing project that is supposed to facilitate social interaction. The concept also focuses on innovativeness in terms of ecology.
"The tenants are the subject of this project. They took part in the designing sessions and contributed to the final outcome of the WUWA2 housing".
– says architect Zbigniew Maćkow, the curator of the ECC architecture section.
Several major architecture exhibitions are to be organized in 2016 as well: an exposition on the architecture of 20th-century Wrocław, the modernism of interwar Lviv and Werkbund's experimental 1927-1932 housing that was established in Stuttgart, Brno, Zurich, Prague, Vienna, and Wrocław.
Visual Arts and Performance
Wrocław's Europe, a presentation of the cultural diversity and the importance of Wrocław and Silesia a few centuries ago is one of the main visual arts events during the ECC 2016. The event is supposed to recall the memory of Bartłomiej Strobel, one of Silesia’s greatest painters.
Basque artists will also be presented during the events, for example, the works of Eduard Chillida, one of the major Spanish artists of the 20th century, are to be exhibited in Wrocław.
The art and culture of times gone by will also be shown during ECC 2016. The Ostrale festival that is typically organized in Dresden will also be a part of Wrocław’s culture festival. The Ostrale exhibits a huge spectrum of German art.
Wroclaw From the Back Yard is a socio-cultural project that aims at rediscovering and renovating the neglected fragments, especially backyards, of the city.
"It’s one of the major visual arts events to be undertaken during the festival. The artists will collaborate with citizens. We hope that the latter will realize that it is possible to change the places they live in".
–says ECC visual arts curator Michał Bieniek.
The official opening and closing ceremonies of the Wrocław ECC 2016 are to be huge performance shows. The European City of Culture will be inaugurated with The Awakening on 17 January 2016.
"Four main spirits: a Spirit of Many Religions, Innovation, Reconstruction and Flood will awake in four distinctive districts of the city and they will march to the city centre. As they go, they will tell their stories and explain, why they meet on that day."
– say the performance's creators.
Flow, another performance, is to be presented on 11 June. It will focus on the Oder river. The river is the central point to the history of building, destruction, and reconstruction of the city.
"It is a 150-thousand-person show, a symphony composed by artists from Germany, the Czech Republic, Israel and Poland; the representatives of the nations that are indelible in the Wrocław history".
– says British director Chris Baldwin, responsible for the performance section of the ECC.
17 December 2016 is the day of the official closing ceremony that is to be celebrated with a performance called Heaven. The show will combine the elements that appeared in the previous performances of the ECC.
Source: PAP, edit. kk, 26.06.2015
Translated by PT, 26 June 2015.