Marek Weiss

Stage director

A graduate in Polish Studies from Warsaw University (1974) and in Stage Direction from the State Theatre School in Warsaw (1980), he made his directing debut in Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida at the National Theatre in Warsaw. As the director of the Music Theatre in Słupsk (1978–81), he staged several Shakespeare plays with a group of young actors. A scholarship from the British Institute in Warsaw enabled him to complete a course of Shakespearian studies in the UK. His famous production of Hamlet was one of the results. He was ultimately offered a full-time job as a stage director by the National Theatre in Warsaw, where he staged Beckett’s Waiting for Godot. In 1981 at the Wrocław Opera, he produced the world premiere of Zbigniew Rudziński’s opera Mannequins which was presented at the Rennes Festival and the Festival of Nations in Sofia. 

From 1982 to 1988 and from 1992 to 1995 he was the principal stage director of the Teatr Wielki in Warsaw. During these periods he directed many opera productions, including Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov; Beethoven’s Fidelio; Berg’s Wozzeck (Polish premiere); Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor; Moniuszko’s The Haunted Manor; Puccini’s Turandot; Rudziński’s Mannequins; Verdi’s AidaMacbethLa Traviata, and Nabucco; Kunad’s The Master and Margarita; Joanna Bruzdowicz’s The Gates of Paradise; Tchaikovsky’s The Queen of Spades; Richard Strauss’s Salome; Penderecki’s Paradise Lost (Polish premiere); and Gounod’s Faust

For two seasons starting in 1989 he was the artistic director of the Teatr Północny in Warsaw. In 1991 he returned to opera, directing two productions for the Teatr Wielki in Łódź: Penderecki’s The Devils of Loudunand and Mozart’s Don Giovanni. He also produced the latter at the Polish National Opera in Warsaw late in 1998. 

Many of his productions have been presented in Paris, London, Berlin, Munich, Vienna, Moscow, Brussels, The Hague, Luxembourg, Athens, Beijing, Tokyo, Jerusalem, and over 30 other cities in Europe and Asia. His foreign directing projects include Verdi’s Il Trovatore in Sofia; Brecht and Weill’s The Rise and Fall of the Town of Mahogonny in Tel Aviv; Verdi’s Nabucco in Istanbul; Szymanowski’s King Roger and Moniuszko’s The Haunted Manor in the United States; Verdi’s La Traviata and Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor in South Korea, Aida in Belgium and the Netherlands; and Eugene Onegin in Finland. He has presented numerous projects at the festivals in Athens, Vichy, Jerusalem, Xanten, Carcassonne, and Pafos. He was the artistic director of the Teatr Wielki in Poznań in 1995–2001. With this company, he staged the following operas: Verdi’s NabuccoTraviata and Il Trovatore; the world premiere of Theodorakis’ Elektra (Luxembourg, 1995); Puccini’s Tosca and Madame Butterfly; Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro and The Magic Flute; Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia; Richard Strauss’s Salome; Penderecki’s The Devils of Loudun; Bizet’s Carmen; and Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov. The Polish premiere of Landowski’s opera Galina, presented in 1999, was invited to the World Expo 2000 in Hannover. In May 2001 his production of Verdi’s Aida at the Teatr Wielki in Poznań ended his six years with this theatre. 

In October of the same year his production of Weber’s Der Freischütz was performed at the opening of the Wrocław Opera’s newly rebuilt stage. With this ensemble, he also staged shows at the Centenary Hall in Wrocław, including NabuccoFiddler on the Roof, and Aida as well as Rudziński’s opera Antigone and Bruzdowicz’s Penal Colony based on Kafka. The most important project with the Wrocław Opera was Mozart’s The Magic Flute produced for the 250th anniversary of the composer’s birth and Le Nozze di Figaroin a co-production with the Baltic Opera. 

He was appointed deputy artistic director of the Polish National Opera in September 2004. He resigned a year later, after Kaspszyk’s dismissal from the post of director. At the National Theatre in Warsaw, he staged the world premiere of Zygmunt Krauze’s opera Yvonne, Princess of Burgundy for the Warsaw Autumn festival. In 2007 he brought this production to the Polish National Opera. 

He has been a full-time stage director at the Warsaw Chamber Opera since 2006, staging Weber’s Der Freischütz, Handel’s Julius Caesar, and Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress

In 2008 he was appointed general and artistic director of the Baltic Opera, where he had previously directed Madame ButterflyFaust, and Rigoletto. Weiss turned this theatre into a modern institution with a young and dynamic contemporary ballet company and an opera cast chosen for each premiere through auditions. In appreciation for these changes, he and his wife Izadora received the Pomeranian Artistic Award, an annual award granted by the Marshal of Pomerania Province. Marek Weiss’s first project focusing on musical quality and theatrical innovation was a triptych by Mozart: Don GiovanniLe Nozze de Figaro, and The Magic Flute as well as Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin. The most important production of this time was Richard Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos, which was presented at the TV Mezzo festival in Seged and broadcast worldwide. In September 2010 during the Solidarity of Arts Festival at the Baltic Opera, Weiss staged Verdi’s Macbeth. His latest production is Strauss’s Salome (premiere: April 2011). 

Marek Weiss has published the novel Boskie życie (Divine Living), hailed as one of the most interesting prose debuts of recent years. Since then, he has been signing himself as just Weiss also as a stage director.