The first-ever noninstrumental adaptation of Chopin’s concertos premieres as a theatre project of young director Michał Zadara. Barbara Wysocka recites the original score transcribed into a literary text by Adam Wiedemenn, accompanied by the Sinfonietta Cracovia conducted by Jacek Kaspszyk
Throught his career, Jacek Kaspszyk has collaborated with orchestras across Europe, conducting in Paris, Oslo, London, Stockholm and Prague. He has performed in the U.S., Japan and China. He admits he has never before heard of anything quite like this project:
We will perform both Piano Concertos, but instead of a pianist, the actress, director and violin player Barbara Wysocka will speak about what the piano does. It is an entirely new experience for me, one that opens new possibilities of joining theatre with music. On the one hand we perform a completely new piece, as the score for the orchestra has never been performed without the piano. On the other hand it is a very faithful version of Chopin’s concertos, but one which replaces the piano with text.
The script for Chopin without a Piano, situated on the border of theatre and music, draws on a variety of material. It is based on interviews with prominent pianists, as well as musicology research, Chopin’s letters, his biography and philosophical texts. It is a verbal equivalent of the piano score, a guide to the concertos, their commentary and description. The structure of the text is analogous to the composition of the concertos.
Directing the piece is Michał Zadara, known to the Polish audience for his bold interpretations of classic texts and experimenting with music on the theatre stage. Zadara reveals that this is one of the most risky projects in his career:
Chopin without a Piano is a project that springs from the conviction that music is not only the art of organising sound structures in time. Talking about music is an integral part of experiencing a piece of music. [...] Chopin without a Piano is a guerilla piece, perhaps one that bears the marks of violation or sacrilege, and it is an act that aims to reinvent the possibility of a dialogue about Chopin, and a more general discourse about the event of a concert, about music, Poland, and culture in the broadest sense
Zadara also admits that he wants to seduce the audience with Chopin’s grace and elegance.
In Poland, Chopin’s Piano Concertos are a national treasure. Every 5 years the Chopin piano competition are transmitte across the whole country and over the period of a few days one can listen to several versions of the two concerts. I wanted to incite a dialogue with these pieces, without destroying them – hence the idea of substituting the piano with a human voice and text.
The world premiere of Chopin without a Piano takes place on the 23rd of March 2013 at the Juliusz Słowacki Theatre in Kraków. The project then travels to Warsaw for the festival entitled Chopin and His Europe.
Anna Legierska, source: press release
Translated by Paulina Schlosser 19.03.2013