Stanisław Moniuszko / Conrad Drzewiecki, Anna Hop

  • Part 1

    25 min.

  • Intermission

    25 min.

  • Part 2

    75 min.

Duration: 2h5 min.

  • Performance cancelled
  • Performance cancelled
  • Performance cancelled
  • Performance cancelled

Ballet evening in two parts 
Celebrating the Bicentenary of Stanisław Moniuszko’s Birth

Based on Aleksander Fredro’s Revenge 
Choreography: Conrad Drzewiecki
Music: Stanisław Moniuszko (fantastic overture Fairy Tale)
Staging: Emil Wesołowski

Based on Aleksander Fredro’s comedy of the same title
Choreography: Anna Hop
Music: Stanisław Moniuszko (ballet music In the billets)

Premiere: 6 April 2019, Polish National Ballet, Warsaw

Professor Bogdan Zakrzewski, an admirer and promoter of Fredro’s work, allegedly stole a finger from the playwright’s his tomb, and this apparently happened in the 1970s. Actually, the story resembles one of Fredro’s comedies rather than a piece of non-fiction. Fredro wrote during the romantic era, but in opposition to its premises. He introduced folk and satirical elements into comedy. He would probably have appreciated history’s perversity, had he known that his grandson, Klemens, would become a Catholic blessed and a martyr… In the one-act play Sarmatian Parable, Conrad Drzewiecki’s ballet company dances out Fredro’s Revenge to Stanisław Moniuszko’s music. A powerful combination! Conflicted neighbours in the backwaters, Rejent and Cześnik – one a hypocrite, the other a bandit – implement plans pertaining mostly to women, that is Klara, Cześnik’s niece and Podstolina – a widow no less attractive than her dowry. An excellent opportunity to see the danced versions of Kargul and Pawlak – heroes of a cult Polish comedy from communist times. Instead of the catchphrase: ‘Come over to the fence!’, I suggest: ‘Come over to the opera!’ The second one-act piece, Husband and Wife, depicts five days in the life of a couple in crisis. And if you thought that nothing worse than a crisis would come – you were mistaken, you could also be betrayed by your lovers! Anna Hop, an artist of the Polish National Ballet, creates a mini-drama somewhat in the style of soap opera, if you pardon the pun. Makes for a great watch and listen. It has been years since I saw anything so delightfully light, witty, and at the same time, open to tradition. Brilliant!


Polish National Ballet
Orchestra of the Polish National Opera

Sarmatian Parable

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    Somewhere in the Polish provinces there live two quarrelling noblemen: Notary Milczek and Squire Raptusiewicz. They have been bickering for ages and now use every opportunity to upset each other. The Notary is a mean hypocrite, and the Squire – a hot-tempered firebrand. Their conflict affects the lives of everyone around them.

    The Squire lives with a ward, his niece Klara. Also living with him is an impoverished courtier, the conceited Papkin, who hopes to marry Klara. They have a house guest, the attractive widow Podstolina whom the Squire would like to marry, hoping for a dowry. However, he does not know how to approach women, so he is happy to use Papkin as a go-between. The Squire is not much of a scribe, either, so he gets his old servant Dyndalski to write for him.

    The Notary, meanwhile, is a recluse. His son Wacław, his only kin, has just returned from school in the city and is secretly in love with Klara, who reciprocates his love. What he does not know, though, is that Podstolina, with whom he once had a student love affair and even promised her marriage, is visiting nearby. She will take the first opportunity to remind Wacław of his promise, because naturally she would prefer the young man to an old bachelor.

    The conflict between the neighbours escalates when the Notary sends his masons to repair the crumbling boundary wall. This ends in a fierce brawl with the Squire’s Hajduks. In the confusion, Wacław bribes Papkin to bind him and take him to the Squire’s house as a trophy. He wants to be closer to his beloved. There, he encounters Podstolina, who reminds him of his signed promise of marriage. Embarrassed, Wacław escapes and runs home, but Podstolina follows him and reveals the son’s earlier pledge to his father. The Notary could not have wished for anything better: now he can upset the Squire again by stealing his would-be bride from under his nose.

    As Papkin unsuccessfully tries to woo Klara, the Squire – enraged at his neighbour’s lawlessness – sends him off to the Notary with a challenge to a duel. The Notary offers wine to the Squire’s second and then throws him out of the house with the news, devastating for the Squire, that his son is engaged to Podstolina.

    Papkin returns convinced the Notary’s wine was poisoned, while the Squire responds to the news that his betrothed has been stolen by preparing for a new war. To lure Wacław to his home, with Dyndalski’s help he tries to forge a love letter from Klara to her beloved, but then he has a better idea. He orders his retainers to kidnap Wacław in order to quickly get him and Klara married to spite the Notary.

    The wedding begins. The Notary tries to disrupt the celebration, but to no avail. The parish priest forces the conflicted neighbours to reconcile. The outsmarted Podstolina decides to return to the Squire, to quickly drag him to the altar. The conflicts are finally at an end, ‘to all may God His hand extend’.


  • The story unfolds during five summer days at a seaside resort.,



    Wacław and Elwira’s marriage is clearly in crisis. 

    DAY 1

    Husband and wife meet at mealtime as always. Justysia waits on them. Elwira gets a note from her lover, which makes her lovingly euphoric. The maid announces the arrival of Alfred, Wacław’s friend and Elwira’s lover. Justysia hurriedly clears the letters scattered around and secretly takes one. The mood over tea is awkward. The men follow Justysia with their eyes, Elwira humiliates her out of jealousy. Finally, Alfred takes Wacław away to play cricket while Elwira and Justysia plan to go to the beach. Looking at herself in the mirror, Elwira notices the passage of time, seeing herself from years before in Justysia. The girl takes pleasure in her own youthfulness, although the sight of Elwira gets her thinking about her own future. When they both go to the beach, the men are playing cricket. The elder Wacław instructs the younger Alfred how to seduce women. Their sports game turns into a competition of love conquests, its effects spinning out of control.

    DAY 2

    Elwira and Alfred are indulging in amorous pleasures. When Justysia warns them of Wacław’s return, Alfred flees. Husband and wife sit down at the table. Another note from her lover leads Elwira to leave the house under the pretence of going to church. Taking advantage of his wife’s absence, Wacław seduces Justysia. However, in the evening husband and wife get ready for bed together, even though they are no longer the couple from the happy wedding photo hanging on the wall.

    DAY 3

    Justysia and Alfred are flirting in the shower. When the girl confesses she knows about her lover’s letters to Elwira, he assures her of his love and explains that the letters must be from someone else. Finally, Justysia is mollified and they end up in bed together. Alfred falls asleep, but her thoughts keep racing. It is time for her to decide who she sees her future with, so she considers the virtues and faults of both admirers. She chooses Wacław. 

    DAY 4

    Elwira and Wacław are at a dance together. Justysia also arrives, followed by Alfred. Seeing their lovers, husband and wife get carried away. Justysia plans to break up with Alfred and reveal Elwira’s secret to Wacław. Meanwhile, Alfred would prefer to keep both women. Wacław flirts discreetly with Justysia, Elwira does the same with Alfred, but the situation starts getting more and more risky. To keep up appearances, Elwira leaves with her husband, but Justysia plucks up her courage and breaks up with Alfred.

    DAY 5

    Husband and wife are together at mealtime as usual. Again a letter is delivered, so Elwira sneaks out of the house. As Wacław and Justysia romp away, Elwira returns unexpectedly and catches them in the act. In her anger she drops some letters which end up in Wacław’s hands. To Justysia’s joy, Elwira’s cheating is exposed. Wacław is furious, but then someone knocks on the door. When Justysia lets in Alfred, he greets her fondly, unaware that the homeowners are there. Wacław already knows that his friend is his wife’s lover, and now both he and Elwira feel cheated by their lovers. This does not bode well…

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  • Patrons of the Teatr Wielki – Polish National Opera

  • Partners of the Opera Academy

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  • Partner of the Polish National Ballet

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