The Fiery Angel

Sergei Prokofiev

Opera in five acts (seven scenes)
Libretto: the composer after Valery Bryusov
World premiere: 25 November 1954, Paris
Co-produced with: Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, Den Norske Opera & Ballett.
In the original Russian with Polish and English surtitles

The production uses flashing lights.

‘There is this specific disease, not to be confused with insanity (…), its name is melancholy. The sufferers are at times cheerful and at times sad; at times full of life and at times completely helpless; in each case without any apparent reason. They also lie without any real need (…). Some among these unhappy souls become the so-called witches, who should be treated with a calming potion, but are instead persecuted through papal bulls and burnt on stakes by inquisitors,’ occultist and philosopher Hans Weyey explained to the knight Ruprecht the somewhat changeable moods of the latter’s fiancée. Valery Bryusov, the author of the modernist novel that inspired Prokofiev’s libretto for The Fiery Angel, set this autobiographical story of delirious love in Germany of the 16th century. Tormented by his passion for Renata, a woman that is beyond his reach and defies all diagnoses, Ruprecht asks himself: Is she a saint or a witch? Madly in love or visited by an angel? Hysterical or possessed? A typical set of dilemmas experienced by a man who finds himself unable to comprehend (meaning: to possess) a liberated woman. Mariusz Treliński, as is his habit, sets the opera in our times, bringing us an erotic psychological thriller. Stripped of the staffage of the inquisition era, the production remains chilling. Madiel the demon is replaced by a terrifying teacher, the nunnery turns into a boarding school for girls… And there it is: The Fiery Angel of the me too era.



Chorus and Orchestra of the Teatr Wielki  Polish National Opera


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