Friday marked the inauguration of Poland's presidency of the EU council. A series of cultural events have been planned to celebrate the event. Festivities will also be held in several European cities.
Friday marked the inauguration of Poland's presidency of the EU council. A series of cultural events have been planned to celebrate the event. Festivities will also be held in several European cities
In the Polish capital, a concert entitled "TU Warszawa" / "Here, Warsaw" formed the main event of the inauguration festivities. This three and a half hour long performance, directed by Krzysztof Materna and Kuba Wojewódzki, was broadcast on the Polish channel 'TVP' as well as online. It took place by the Palace of Culture and Science.
The first part of the concert featured compositions by Fryderyk Chopin, Andrzej Kurylewicz, Jan A.P. Kaczmarek, Krzysztof Komeda and Wojciech Kilar, performed by pianists Janusz Olejniczak and Leszek Możdżer, the Sinfonia Varsovia Orchestra as well as ensembles and bands such as the Tomasz Stańko Quintet, 'Me, Myself and I' and the violinist Sebastian Karpiel-Bułecka. Chris Botti, the American trumpeter was the special guest of the evening. The second part of the concert included performances by Perfekt, Myslovitz, Lech Janerka, 'Kapela ze Wsi Warszawa' / 'Warsaw Village Band' and 'Gooral'. Highlights included also special guest appearances by the multi-Grammy winning vocal quartet 'Manhattan Transfer', singer Michael Bolton, Saxophonist Kenny G and vocalists Angie Stone and Dolores O'Riordan (of 'The Cranberries'). The concert ended with over an hour long performance by British artist Tricky.
Friday evening also heralded the Warsaw Grand Theare performance of Karol Szymanowski's opera "King Roger". Set to a libretto by Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz, the opera is directed by British conductor David Pountney. Read more.
Paweł Mykietyn's "III Symphony" also premiered at 8pm at the Warsaw National Philharmonic. Mykietyn, one of the most inventive contemporary Polish composers working today, devised his experimental 50-minute orchestral and vocal piece especially for the inauguration of Poland's EU Council Presidency. The vocal part was performed by one of Poland's most prominent opera singers - Jadwiga Rappé. Reinbert de Leeuw conducted the piece.
Another highlight of the 1st of July celebrations are performances from over a hundred European artists on the New Town Square. The performances aimed to illustrate the ways that different ethnic musical traditions can join together to create unique performance trends. The folk song and dance group Teka performed traditional pieces from various Hungarian regions. DROM, a band inspired by Gypsy-swing roots, takes the stage with the outstanding Gypsy singer Adam Kozłowski. The Gypsies from the Bucharest-based ensemble Mahala Rai Banda were accompanied by Polish highlanders - Tomasz Jabko Łapka (violin), and Stanisław Karpiel Bułecka (vocals), while Gooral (Mateusz Górny) spiced up their traditional sound with an electronic twist.
The presidency will also showcase Polish culture abroad. The world premiere of "Planet Lem" took place in London's Theatre Square by the National Theatre. The performance marks the beginning of the show's world tour performed by Teatr Biuro Podróży. Watch online.
The 2nd of July will see the next event of the "I, CULTURE - Contemporary Craft Workshop" project at London's 'Watch This Space' festival. I, CULTURE is a sewing project led by artist and fashion designer Monika Jakubiak. During the six months of the Polish presidency the residents of 12 capitals will each sew one piece of a giant quilt. After the London edition of I,CULTURE the next 'stop' of the touring project takes place in Paris - the contemporary craft workshop visits the city on the 6th of July.
The events of the 1st of July inauguration form a prelude to the jam packed and global programme that kicks off during the six months of the Polish Presidency of the EU Council. All events, ranging from cultural happenings to artistic projects, are part of the presidency's Cultural Programme. For more information about select events, see: PKPP.
Events linked to the Cultural Programme are already underway. On the 1st of June an exhibition entitled "Golden Age of the Polish Republic" opened in Madrid's Royal Palace, featuring Poland's achievements in art and culture from the rule of King Casimir the Great (1310-1370) to the loss of independence in 1795.
Since the 24th of June, Brussel's Centre for Fine Arts (BOZAR) hosts an exhibition of contemporary and modern Polish art, showcasing the works of acclaimed Polish artists, such as Mirosław Bałka, Monika Sosnowska, Paweł Althamer and Wilhelm Sasnal. The exhibition gathered significant acclaim from both critics and audiences alike, with a particularly enthusiastic review published in the 'Financial Times' by columnist Jackie Wullschlager.