Dear Friends and Audience Members,
It is hard to find words that would give justice to the joy that we felt when opening the last artistic season and seeing you fill the auditorium of the Polish National Opera to the brim after the long hiatus. We are extremely happy that you joined us for our shows and we were able to move, entertain, or perhaps even dazzle you. Hopefully, we have left a mark in your hearts and minds that will last long after you walked out our door. We are very excited for the new artistic season ahead and look forward to welcoming you again to the artistic universe we create as a community of creators, performers, and employees of the Polish National Opera.
Inter arma silent Musae says a well-known Latin sentence. Yet, while the war across our eastern border is still raging, the Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra is not silent. Last season the notable ensemble played a crucial role in strengthening the Ukrainian nation’s sense of identity and unity. It also showed that our neighbours, as citizens of Europe and the globe, are not alone in their tragically difficult onerous truggle. The Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra gave thirteen concerts in twelve cities across two continents, performing at the most prestigious concert halls of Europe and America, turning the musicians into ambassadors of Ukrainian culture. The ensemble’s inaugural concert on our stage on 18 July 2022 was a clear voice of protest against the Russian aggression.
The war goes on. Both we and the members of the Orchestra still remember the words of Olena Zelenska, who implored us in March 2022: ‘Do not get used to our suffering.’ Together with the Metropolitan Opera in New York, we want to express once again our solidarity with the Ukrainian nation and protest against the Russian invasion by holding a concert of the Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra on 20 August 2023. The event will open the 2023/24 season on our stage. During the Warsaw concert and the European tour to follow, the ensemble will perform under the baton of its acclaimed founding conductor Keri-Lynn Wilson. The concert will start with Giuseppe Verdi’s wonderful overture to La Forza del Destino and finish with Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in D minor. Soloists Olga Kulchynska, Nicole Chirka, Dmytro Polov and Vladyslav Buialskyi join the Orchestra onstage along with the Podlasie Opera and Philharmonic Chorus (chorus master: Violetta Bielecka).
New productions of the 2023/24 season
Opening in October 2023, the first new production of the season is Dead End, a newly-written opera by Krzysztof Meyer, a pianist, educator, and one of Poland’s most prominent contemporary composers known for extraordinary intellectual creative awareness. A former student of Krzysztof Penderecki, Nadia Boulanger, and Witold Lutosławski, he has written symphony works, chamber pieces, and operas, including The Cyberiad after Stanisław Lem’s short stories. Meyer’s music has been performed at Carnegie Hall in New York, the Berlin Philharmonic Hall, and the Wiener Musikverein. The libretto of Dead End was penned by acclaimed writer, translator and expert on Samuel Beckett, Antoni Libera, whose novel Madame was shortlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award in 2002. It is safe to assume that the collaboration of the two outstanding creative figures produces a groundbreaking work of art. The production is conducted by Łukasz Borowicz and staged by Marek Weiss, a director well-known to our audience. The opera is not only visually and musically appealing but also intellectually intriguing and pertinent to the issues we are facing currently in the world. The originality of Dead End lies in it being is a philosophical tale presented in the operatic form. The composition is governed by the number three: three acts, three groups of passengers, three suicide attempts, the significance of which becomes clear in the course of the performance.
At the end of January 2024, we present our long-awaited co-production with the Salzburg Festival, Simon Stone’s staging of Médée. The director sets Cherubini’s classic opera in present-day Europe, at the upper echelons of the Austrian society. The Salzburg premiere of the title was a success both with the festival audience and critics. Stone is the recipient of the Sydney Theatre Award for Best Independent Production and has staged opera works for the Bayerische Staatsoper, Opera Bastille, Theater Basel, or Opéra National de Paris, to name just a few. His take on Médée is an interesting offering not only for opera lovers. Known for such hit movies as The Daughter (2015), The Dig (2021), or The Turning (2013), the director fuses art forms, enriching traditional stagecraft with film projections, voice message recordings, or live camera feed. The sets designed by Bob Cousins, winner of the Melbourne Green Room Award, Sydney Theatre Award and Ralph Hall Myers Award, and costumes by Mel Page, winner of the George Fairfax Memorial Award perfectly implement the director’s vision.
The cast of the Warsaw premiere of Médée is led by Rafał Siwek (Créon) and Izabela Matuła (Médée). Music Director Patrick Fournillier conducts the Polish National Opera Orchestra.
After an absence of more than twenty-five years, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s two-act opera buffa Così fan tutte returns to the Polish National Opera’s stage in March 2024. Following the success of his take on Piazzola’s Maria de Buenos Aires, this is Wojciech Faruga’s second production for the Polish National Opera, this time presented on our main stage. The director treats the chucklesome love adventures and light convention as smoke and mirrors obscuring real social issues. Faruga’s staging is set in America in the 1960s and 70s. The opera originally premiered in 1790 in Vienna. Penned by Lorenzo da Ponte, the libretto was inspired by a real-life scandal that shook Paris. Thanks to the score, the seemingly one-dimensional characters turn into full-blooded protagonists that you simply cannot resist. Così fan tutte was surrounded by controversy almost from its very inception. Faruga portrays Ferrando (Łukasz Kózka) and Guglielmo (Huber Zapiór) as rebels liberated from the social conventions. Their innocent ruse becomes a dangerous game that reveals hidden fantasies, leaving the audience wondering if what they are watching is a frivolous comedy or an indecent farce. Young Ukrainian-Polish composer Yaroslav Shemet leads the Polish National Opera Orchestra.
In the 2021/2022 season, Henryk Jarecki’s opera Barbara Radziwiłł was first in a series of presentations of forgotten Polish operas. Next May, we welcome to our stage another iconic historical figure, Beatrix Cenci. Ludomir Różycki’s operas are not commonly staged nowadays. The Polish National Opera’s 2017 production of Eros and Psyche directed by Barbara Wysocka was one glorious exception.
The libretto of Beatrix Cenci was written by Stafania Różycka, the composer’s wife, based on Juliusz Słowacki’s play under the same title. The story is for adult ears only. And people with strong nerves. It includes attempted rape, blackmail, murder and other human depravities. Beatrix Cenci shares an affinity with Tosca. The analogies go beyond the location of the last act (St Angel Castle) and include a plot structure based on comparable relationships between the trio of protagonists that involve love, desire, and disgust. This concert performance puts the debate to rest, highlighting Różycki’s originality as a creator who tapped both into the style of verismo opera and the Wagnerian tradition. Musically, Beatrix Cenci is coherent with Różycki’s other operas, except for Casanova. The concert is conducted by Marta Kluczyńska, who thought the series into being.
After thirteen years, Mariusz Treliński reprises Modest Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov, an psychological drama exposing the mechanics of seizing and consolidating power by violence and stealth and the catastrophic consequences of tyranny. Developed in 2008, the director’s first take on the opera was originally staged at the Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre in Vilnius and opened in Warsaw the following year. The press described the production as ‘a raw, yet suggestive tale of a ruler killed by remorse’. Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov is a brilliant music adaptation of Alexander Pushkin’s very Shakespearian tragedy exploring one of the most tragic periods in Russian history, the Smuta.
The sets for the new production were designed by Boris Kudlička, an artist of incredible artistic sensitivity famed for audacious design ideas.
The staging is a co-production of the Polish National Opera and the New National Theatre in Tokyo, where it was shown in November 2022 after the Japanese government imposed political and economic sanctions on the Russian regime but decided not to repudiate the nation’s cultural heritage. The Warsaw premiere, originally scheduled for June 2022, was cancelled by the Polish National Opera leadership. The Artistic Director statement released at the time read: ‘We have decided to call off the forthcoming premiere of Boris Godunov. Let our silence speak of our solidarity with the people of Ukraine. […] I wish to express my solidarity with the people of Ukraine who are heroically spilling blood to defend their homeland. […] War is a pointless return to barbarity […]. [We are] profoundly shocked by this tragedy. People with whom we have worked on international opera productions have suddenly found themselves on opposite sides of the barricade. The deluded superpower politics and arrogance of the Russian authorities have turned two nations with so many close ties against each other. This is pure evil, and history will judge it as such.’
Japan placed blistering sanctions on Russia after the country annexed Crimea in 2014, followed by the strictest visa policy for Russian nationals in 2022. The New National Theatre in Tokyo decided to stage Mariusz Treliński’s production last year with the aim to showcase the disastrous consequences of authoritarianism. The opera’s premiere in Warsaw this season is contingent on the end of the war in Ukraine.
The title role of Boris Godunov is sung by Tomasz Konieczny, whom our audience fondly remember as an excellent Cardillac. Michał Klauza conducts.
All the new opera productions are preceded by Premiere Prelude concerts that offer a novel perspective of looking at the work of Meyer, Cherubini, Mozart and Różycki.
In April 2024 the Polish National Ballet treats its younger and older audiences to a new production of Pinocchio, a two-act ballet based on Carlo Collodi’s classic novel, set to Mieczysław Weinberg’s music. The growing interest in Weinberg, a fascinating composer tapping into Polish, Jewish, and Russian culture, means that his music, which up until recently was mainly confined to recordings and philharmonic concerts, is making its way into theatre programmes. His operatic pieces have already gained considerable recognition. A good point in case is the memorable Passenger shown on our stage for a few seasons.
Every child knows the tale of Pinocchio, a wooden puppet that becomes a real boy. Weinberg’s ballet is based on a reworking of the original tale, Alexei Tolstoy’s book Buratino. Tolstoy, a distant cousin of the famous writer, drew heavily on Collodi, yet took some far-reaching artistic liberties with the plot. Burattino is Italian for ‘marionette’ and the name of a commedia dell’arte character.
Drawing inspiration from Collodi, Anna Hop weaves an original, modern story with a universal message about the hardships of growing up. The production is also a wonderful opportunity to showcase the magic of stagecraft as it follows the fairytale adventures of a boy who roams different worlds to eventually return home and face his past. Marta Kluczyńska, who edited the score, conducts the ballet’s premiere performance.
This season, the Polish National Ballet also presents Bolero+, a triple bill including Moving Rooms, a choreography created by Krzysztof Pastor in 2008 in Amsterdam, his breathtaking choreographic setting of Ravel’s Bolero, and a brand new work, Kilar Concerto. The programme’s run starts in December and ends on the eve of the fifteen’s anniversary of the establishments of the Polish National Ballet.
This season sees concerts celebrating two momentous figures in Polish culture. It has been more than three years since the passing of Krzysztof Penderecki, one of the foremost composers of the 20th century, the author of four operas, eight symphonies, a range of orchestral works, choral pieces, instrumental concertos and chamber works. His St Luke Passion is considered one of the most remarkable achievements in 20th-century music. Held at the end of November this year as part of the Krzysztof Penderecki Festival mounted by the Beethoven Association, Krzysztof Penderecki In Memoriam honours the composer’s enduring legacy.
On the eve of Gustaw Holoubek’s birthday, to commemorate the great actor, director and a towering cultural figure, we present Gustaw Holoubek In Memoriam, an evening of music and poetry.
Performed by an incredible roster of soloists accompanied by the Polish National Opera Chorus and Orchestra under Music Director Patrick Fournillier, the New Year’s Eve Gala is a great way to send off 2023 and welcome 2024 with optimism and hope.
Our programming decisions are informed by your voices. We listen to the opinions you share through our social media channels and with our Ticket Service staff to make sure that the opera and ballet productions that return this season are exactly what you would like to see on our stages.
The 2023/24 season sees the return of Chorus Opera, a show that was warmly welcomed both by our audience and the critics. The Polish National Opera Chorus is back in the spotlight performing the most beautiful choruses from operas by Bizet, Moniuszko, Puccini, Verdi and Wagner, along with ‘O Fortuna’ from Orff’s Carmina Burana and ‘Magnus Dominus’ from Penderecki’s Seven Gates of Jerusalem. The Chorus and soloists is accompanied by the Polish National Opera Orchestra under Patrick Fournillier.
The ultra-modern, silent film-inspired production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute from the Andrade/Kosky duo continues to sell out year after year. This season, the production is conducted by Dawid Runtz, Third Prize and Audience Award winner at the 1st International Hong Kong Conducting Competition and the chief conductor of the Polish Royal Opera in Warsaw since 2017.
Madama Butterfly, our flagship production which draws a standing ovation each performance night, is also back for another season. Despite marking its twenty-fifth birthday in 2024, the alluring staging by Mariusz Treliński and Boris Kudlička continues to dazzle international audiences with its musical and visual form.
Barbara Wysocka’s take on La Bohème also returns to our stage featuring Long Long, the prizewinner of the 10th International Moniszko Competition and Maria Fołtyn Award winner, as Rodolfo. Moving on to Verdi, the season sees a revival of the Treliński/Kudlička duo’s production of La Traviata.
Another classic returning by popular demand is Aida. The sold-out performances last season prove that a large portion of the Warsaw audience appreciate large-scale stagings with monumental sets and chorus scenes. Internationally recognised soprano, as well as pianist, Ewa Płonka makes a debut on the Warsaw stage singing the title role. A Juilliard School graduate, she sang at the Metropolitan Opera in New York already as a student.
Carmina Burana (Blink of an Eye), the innovative semi-staged production of Orff’s cantata designed by Boris Kudlička, is led this season by conductor Martyna Szymczak.
As for the Polish opera repertoire, also returning next year is Mariusz Treliński’s production of Moniuszko’s Halka. Designed by Boris Kudlička, it takes the audience on a journey to the Polish mountain resort of Zakopane in the 1970s.
In April 2024, as part of the Timeless Film Festival Warsaw spearheaded by Roman Gutek, the Polish National Opera celebrates Miloš Forman’s Oscar-winning film with Amadeus Live.
To mark forty years since the motion picture’s premiere, the Polish National Opera Chorus and Orchestra under Dawid Runtz perform the soundtrack live in-sync with the motion picture shown on a vast HD screen. The event is a tribute to the famed film that tells the story of two clashing composers: a joyful and frivolous genius (Tom Hulce as Mozart) and a lofty, talentless court composer (Oscar-winner F. Murray Abraham as Salieri). Amadeus Live is a treat both for music lovers and the cinema enthusiasts who want to celebrate one of the most acclaimed movies of the 20th century.
In other revivals, Wojciech Faruga’s take on Astor Piazzolla’s Maria de Buenos Aires returns to our small stage with Piotr Staniszewski at the pulpit, offering audiences another chance to see the show following its premiere in the 2022/23 season.
Our ballet season features Dracula, a ballet adaptation of Bram Stoker’s novel and Francis Ford Coppola’s film. Perfectly corresponding with Wojciech Kilar’s score, the choreography was created by Krzysztof Pastor for the West Australian Ballet.
The Polish National Ballet also revisits three classic masterpieces: the quintessentially romantic Giselle with music by Adolphe-Charles Adam, choreography by Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot, and period sets and costume designs by Andrzej Kreutz Majewski; Petipa and Sergei Khudyakov’s La Bayadère with music by Ludwig Minkus and Natalia Makarova’s choreography after Petipa; and Don Quixote also from Minkus and Petipa.
Do not also miss the hilarious ballet double bill Fredriana drawing on the work of the superb comedic playwright Aleksander Fredro and set to Stanisław Moniuszko’s music. The brilliant choreographies by Conrad Drzewiecki (reconstructed by Emil Wesołowski) and Anna Hop, respectively, are a delight to watch. Our ballet season would not be complete without the Polish National Ballet’s emerging choreographers’ showcase. The sixteenth edition of Creations will be shown on our small stage next year.
The Theatre Museum mounts an exhibition exploring the work of Otto Axer, one of Poland’s most interesting set designers active in the second half of the 20th century, painter, graphic artist, and illustrator. The Museum also marks the 230th birthday of Aleksander Fredro (1793–1876) with a show dedicated to the legacy of the illustrious comedy playwright, diarist and poet. The Opera Gallery plans exhibitions of the works of Jerzy Adam Stajuda and Stanisław Baj.
The Polish National Opera’s Educational Department continues to offer a range of learning projects for the younger audiences: Musical Matinées, Meetings with Muzalinda, Family Fun at the Wielki. We are also excited to announce three new concert formats: Polish Music For Four Hands, Big Screen Melodies, and The Argentine Tango: From Buenos Aires to Warsaw; as well as two new fairytale mini-productions for the young audiences: Thumbelina and Engelbert Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel.
See you next season!
TICKET ON-SALE DATES:
21 June 2023 ☛ tickets to 2023/24 events
22 June 2023 ☛ tickets the New Year’s Eve Gala
Tickets to Amadeus Live go on sale at a later date.
WORLD MUSIC DAY DISCOUNT
☛ On 21 June, the World Music Day, we are offering a 21% discount on tickets to all 2023/24 events, except for the New Year’s Eva Gala and Amadeus Live. The discount is automatically calculated on the regular adult ticket rate. You cannot reserve discounted tickets. Discounts cannot be combined.
☛ You cannot reserve discounted tickets.
☛ In the case of tickets bought on 21 June refunds can only be made to prepaid cards.
☛ Ticket reservations open on 22 June at 11 a.m. (by phone only)
☛ We still offer a 25% discount for university students, including tickets for Sunday events*
☛ The Big Family Card discount and discounts for children and pupils still apply to tickets for Sunday events* ☛ We have introduced a 30% discount on group bookings (at least 15 tickets for the same event)*. For every 15 tickets for the same event, you can buy one ticket for 1 Polish zloty.
☛ To make a group booking, please call our Ticket Service Office.
*Concession prices are not applicable on opening nights, educational events, and special events.
The Polish National Opera is a cultural institution accessible to all. Thanks to our pricing policy, we are able to open our doors to all opera and ballet audiences. Prices of weekday tickets start at 35 Polish zloty. We look forward to welcoming you at the theatre!
BOX OFFICE OPENING HOURS
Main lobby box office:
Open on performant nights only, 11 a.m.–7 p.m.
The Boutique (left wing):
Daily, 11 a.m.–7 p.m.
Ticket Service Office:
Weekdays, 11 a.m.–7 p.m., tel. +48 22 826 50 19, + 48 22 692 02 08, +48 22 692 02 10, or e-mail: email@example.com. We take reservations by phone only.