Husband and Wife in Győr
Stanisław Moniuszko / Anna Hop
Duration: 1h15 min.
- GUEST PERFORMANCE IN Győr, Hungary
Anna Hop’s ballet in one act 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
These characters are out of control. They are hysterically funny, miserable, and sometimes simply cruel – in other words, they are us, anytime and anywhere, seen in a distorting mirror. Anna Hop offers a choreographic take at perhaps the most adventurous play by the Polish romantic writer Aleksander Fredro. Husband and Wife explores dangerous liaisons of Elwira, her husband Wacław, her lover Alfred, and the couple’s maid, Justysia, who is romantically involved with both of the men. Anna Hop sets the action at a summer resort in the 1950s, immersing the hilarious twists and turns of the ménage à quatre in the music of Stanisław Moniuszko, 1950s hit songs, and contemporary pieces, to treat her audience to a tongue-in-cheek dance account of a bitter-sweet story of a midlife crisis, jealousy, need for loved, and unfulfilled ambition, whose explosive finale will surprise all. The choreography is brilliantly complemented with minimalist sets and subtle lighting design drawing on curated combinations of contrasting colour devised by Małgorzata Szabłowska.
The project is part of the Adam Mickiewicz Institute’s ‘44 x Mickiewicz’ programme, which aims to highlight Polish contribution to European culture, reactivate romantic ideals, and call attention to unique components of Polish romanticism. It provides a contemporary glance at 19th-century culture.
The Adam Mickiewicz Institute is a national cultural institution established in 2000. The Institute’s aim - to build lasting interest in Polish culture worldwide - is pursued in cooperation with foreign partners and through international cultural exchange in dialogue with recipients, in line with the principles of Polish foreign policy. As of 2022, the Institute has completed projects in over 70 countries on six continents. The Adam Mickiewicz Institute is organised by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage.
Organised in association with the Adam Mickiewicz Institute.
The Year of Polish Romanticism marks the 200th anniversary of the publication of Adam Mickiewicz’s Ballads and Romances. On this occasion, the Adam Mickiewicz Institute carries out projects around the world to show how Polish Romanticism is becoming a vehicle of modernity. The projects organized by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute as part of the Year of Polish Romanticism prove that the romantic heritage is an extremely up-to-date reservoir of imagination and sensitivity, referring to the construction of the world based on the spiritual and dialogical power of the impact of what is hidden in many dimensions. Moreover, the implemented projects show the ideas of Polish Romanticism as a point of intersection of many cultures, views and trends in art. Thus proving that the contemporary romantic tradition strongly resonates and influences Polish and foreign artists, creating an opportunity for dialogue through the language of art and artistic expression.
Elwira: Joanna Drabik
Wacław: Demeter Kobor
Justysia: Yume Okano*
Alfred: Diogo de Oliveira*
Sergi Martinez Castello* (Wrocław Opera)
Daniel Agudo Gallardo* (Wrocław Opera)
The story unfolds during five summer days at a seaside resort.,
Wacław and Elwira’s marriage is clearly in crisis.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
Co-financed by the Minister of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland
Patrons of the Teatr Wielki – Polish National Opera
Partners of the Opera Academy
Partners of Teatr Wielki – Polish National Opera
Partner of the Polish National Ballet