From the very beginning, the Warsaw Chamber Opera has commissioned Polish composers to write operas that have been given their premieres and numerous performances at the WCO. Over more than forty years (1962–2008), thirteen such works have been produced.

Of course, it is impossible to revisit all the works performed years ago, for a variety of reasons. But we do return to three works by Bernadetta Matuszczak. Prometheus was premiered in 1986, for the opening of our Theatre, and we will now be giving its premiere with a different cast and a slightly different group of directors. Quo Vadis also features a number of changes, whilst Crime and Punishment is unaltered.

Among the operas, or rather chamber stage works, played in the past to be performed again in this festival is Zygmunt Krauze’s Balthazar (premiere 2001). Also premiered during the first decade of this century were Leoš Janáček’s Jenůfa (2004), in the original version from 1904, Viktor Ullmann’s Der Kaiser von Atlantis (2005), Igor Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress (2010) and Benjamin Britten’s The Burning Fiery Furnace (2010).

 Our festival will be inaugurated by the premiere of a spectacle comprising three works by Francis Poulenc: the two vocalinstrumental works La voix humaine and La Dame de Monte-Carlo and the ballet Aubade woven between them.

 In October last year, Krauze’s Polieukt was given its premiere, with Jorge Lavelli directing, Ruben Silva as musical director and stage design by Marlena Skoneczko. One should also number among the premieres Józef Koffler’s Matrimonio con variazioni (2009), never previously performed in Poland. Since this work was miraculously saved from the ravages of war in a copy of the piano reduction with a German text, a new libretto was written by Joanna Kulmowa and the work was orchestrated by Edward Pałłasz. Receiving its premiere during our festival will be Pałłasz’s opera I, Cain, to a libretto by Kulmowa, with Jitka Stokalska directing, Tadeusz Karolak as musical director and stage design by Marlena Skoneczko.

 I hope that this set of operatic works, representing a very wide period of time and placing prominent composers alongside their less well known, but equally interesting colleagues, will arouse your curiosity. It is Polish music that will dominate. This accords with our interests and also reflects the high standard of Polish compositional output during the period in question. 

Stefan Sutkowski 
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