The Poznań Opera Theatre presents "Unknown Szymanowski", a project composed specially for the Polish Presidency of the EU Council, as a means of promoting the music of the acclaimed Polish composer.
Alonside the oeuvre of Karol Szymanowski, works by Richard Strauss and Jean Baptiste Lull also feature. The concert explores the far-reaching influence Szymanowski's music has had on the wide cultural context of Europe and introduce listeners to the works of other composers, such as Lull and Strauss, who also refer to Moliere's play in their musical works. The performance came about as an intermezzo to Moliere's "Le Bourgeois gentilhomme" ('The Bourgeois Gentleman' / 'The Middle-Class Aristocrat' / The Would-Be Noble').
"Unknown Szymanowski" is the story of an everyman figure, who wanted to become someone else, someone better, someone more fashionable. It tells the tale of Monsieur Jourdain, the hero of Moliere's "Le Bourgeois gentilhomme". Jourdain is fascinated by everything that fits into higher culture. In an attempt to lead a more artistorcratic lifestyle he takes dance and music lessons and takes up fencing. He even hires a philosophy teacher in order to feel thoroughly at home in high society and his humourous exploits are coupled with a commedia dell' arte setting.
The open-air nature of the performance means that the adventures and experiences of the main protagonist allow for an interactive and participatory performance. The unconventional and touring nature of the play also allows each performance to be formed anew.
The Stanisław Moniuszko Poznań Opera Theatre represents 100 years of Polish opera history. Built in the city centre at the beginning of the twentieth century, the opera has developed a rich tradition of musical life. Its multinational repertoire encompasses both classic operatic works and contemporary compositions. The opera also hosts its own series of festivals, with events such as the "Poznań Verdi Days" and the "Poznań Spring Ballet". From 2010 the "Beggar's Opera project" has presented chamber music performances in the Wojciech Drabowicz concert hall. The Poznań Opera Theatre also collaborates with theatres and operas abroad. Among them is the Israeli Opera in Tel Aviv, ABAO in Bilbao, Teatro Argentino de La Plata in Buenos Aires. Due to 2011 being the International Year of Women, the opera programme for this year is specially dedicated to female figures in Opera (2012 will, in turn, be dedicated to male opera figures, whereas 2013 will show plays which that present a combination of both).
The Poznań opera group also participates in many Polish and international musical and theatre festivals, including Festival de Carcssonne, Sommerfestspiele Xanten, Festival International de Santander, Bydgoszcz Opera Festival and the Kraków Music Festival as well as showings in Luxembourg, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Argentine, Uruguay and Cuba.
Walter Plathe, Jaromir Trafankowski, Marek Szymański, Monika Mych, Jolanta Podlewska, Dymitr Fomenko, Paweł Myszkowski, Bartłomiej Szczeszek
Chamber Orchestra of the Stanisław Moniuszko Poznań Opera Theatre
Music direction: Krzysztof Słowiński
Text and direction: Michał Znaniecki
Costume: Tomasz Jacyków
Hair styling: Sylwia Kiliś
Choreography: Iwona Pasińska
Lighting design: Bogumił Palewicz
Directorial assistant: Zofia Dowjat
Date: 9th of August, 2011
Venue: Freunde Hauptstadtzoos- Schloss Friedrichsfelde, Berlin
Organised by: the Stanisława Moniuszki Grand Theatre in Pozńan
Project cofinanced by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland
Source: Adam Mickiewicz Institute