Programme of Opera Rara Festival 2018 revealed!
30 October 2017
Diverse forms: 3 recitals with piano accompaniment, 3 recitals accompanied by orchestra, 2 operas in concert and 2 new productions prepared especially for the Krakow audience, in total fourteen concerts – this is how Opera Rara 2018 programme presents itself in the nutshell. Between 18th January and 13th February Opera Rara will take over Krakow’s scenes and music aficionados’ hearts!
“When the Krakow Festival Office and Capella Cracoviensis inaugurated the Opera Rara Festival in January 2017, a lot of questions were hanging in the air. Will the new, extended festival formula stand the test of time? Will the opening up towards the audience will be reciprocal? The answer seemed to be positive already during the first edition of the Festival, so we did not hesitate to continue our cooperation and the new formula of the event” – explains Izabela Helbin, Director of Krakow Festival Office.
As Jan Tomasz Adamus, Festival’s Artistic Director says, “The programme of the Opera Rara Festival invariably extols the most difficult of instruments – human voice. Beautiful, provoking, filled with emotions. In 2018 we also promote diversity of forms, styles and periods. The Festival programme will include works written from the late 17th century up to 1986. It is a valuable idea because Opera Rara will not only show current trends in operatic art abroad, but also its courageous local productions will take the challenge to compete with major European centres, thus contributing to the building of an even stronger artistic milieu in Krakow.”
The Opera Rara Festival 2018 will be inaugurated by a recital filled with Jean-Philippe Rameau’s and Christoph Willibald Gluck’s extraordinary arias. On the 18th of January 2018, the Auditorium Hall in the ICE Kraków Congress Centre will host outstanding bass-baritone Stéphane Degout who will be the star of the night. He is known from his stage performances in Aix-en-Provence, Glyndebourne, the Royal Opera House and in other venues and events. He will be accompanied by Ensemble Pygmalion under the baton of Raphaël Pichon. Rameau’s extravaganza of musical colours and harmony juxtaposed with Gluck’s care for detail and faithfulness to the drama element will showcase not only excellent artists but also the beauty and the diversity of French 18th-century opera. Pichon based the programme of the concert on the motifs of Hell, or rather Hades in Greek and Roman mythology that was very popular in the Baroque era. This motif will also be present at other festival concerts.
After the Baroque inauguration of the festival we will be transferred to the 20th century. At the same time we continue the idea launched in 2017 to combine classical music and productions by young stage directors, who have not been associated with opera so far. In 2018 the visual aspect of the production will be given to Paweł Świątek. We do not forget about Polish music – on the 19th, 20th and 22nd of January, Karol Szymanowski’s 3rd Symphony The Song of the Night will resound at the Słowacki Theatre after Arnold Schoenberg’s Erwartung. Outstanding soloists - Evelina Dobračeva in Erwartung and Andrzej Lampert in The Song of the Night – will be accompanied by the Krakow Festival Orchestra, a symphonic orchestra created especially for the festival concerts and combining the experience of musicians from all over Poland, along with the Capella Cracoviensis Choir, all under the baton of Michał Dworzyński. It will be the first but not only Krakow production prepared especially for the Opera Rara Festival.
Meanwhile, we will see the motif of Hell again on the 21st of January. We will hear Marc-Antoine Charpentier’s two greatest secular works: Les arts florissants and La descente d’Orphée aux Enfers, characterised by a great wealth of harmony. Both works draw inspiration from mythology; in both we descend to Hell – as a punishment or looking for love. Ensemble Desmarest and its founder Ronan Khalil will perform on the stage of the Słowacki Theatre, accompanied by acclaimed soloists, including Cyril Auvity and Céline Scheen.
On the 23rd of January, British baritone Christopher Maltman will inaugurate the series of recitals with piano accompaniment. He will transfer us to the times of the First World War, telling a tragic story of hundreds thousands soldiers from all over Europe, who left their homes full of hope to enlist to the army. It is a story about the horrors of battlefields where most of the soldiers stayed forever. The few who came back home, lost their youth, health, hope and innocence during the war. Joseph Middleton will accompany Maltman at the piano in the Krakow Philharmonic.
The next recital is Anna Larsson’s concert (30th of January). It will the first opportunity for the Krakow audience to listen to the outstanding Swedish mezzo-soprano live. 19th-century romantic songs by Mahler and Schumann prevail on her repertoire. We will listen to the works by those composers at the Philharmonic.
Krakow audience’s favourites, who won our hearts in 2017, will be back in 2018! Sophie Junker, known from the Misteria Paschalia Festival, and Juan Sancho, whom we have hosted at Opera Rara, will give a concert recital of arias from Spanish and Italian operas il gran teatro del mondo (31st of January). They will be accompanied by Accademia del Piacere, founded and conducted by the Spanish gambist Fahmi Alqhai. The concert will be full of emotions typical of Southern European music. On top of that we will have the opportunity to listen to compositions by Baroque composers who are little known in Poland, such as Sebastián Durón and Juan Hidalgo.
On the 4th, 7th and 12th February, the Theatre Hall at ICE Kraków will host the second premiere prepared especially for the Opera Rara Festival. After last year’s success of the staging of Philip Glass’s work A Madrigal Opera, we continue the contemporary music stream. This time it will be The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Michael Nyman, best known from his film scores to The Piano. The lead character will be played by Tomasz Konieczny, a Polish baritone who gives concerts all over the world. He will be accompanied by Sinfonietta Cracovia under the baton of Jurek Dybał. Kristof Spiewok will be in charge of stage direction.
The last recital with piano accompaniment will belong to Natalia Kawałek. The audience must remember the young Polish mezzo-soprano from her impressive creation of Halka at this year’s edition of the Festival. On the 6th of February, at the Krakow Philharmonic, she will present her programme titled In Love with Troubles featuring, among other things, Benjamin Britten’s and Kurt Weill’s songs. She will be accompanied by Marcin Kozieł.
Bayreuth in Krakow! This is what we can tell about the last evening at the hospitable Krakow Philharmonic (11th of February). It will feature the most outstanding interpreter of Wagner opera parts, the dramatic soprano Waltoraud Meier. Following the title, on the programme of Wagner Contexts - Wesendonck Lieder, Meier and Capella Cracoviensis playing period instruments under the baton of Jan Tomasz Adamus will present the work of the great German composer, the promoter of synthesis of arts, as well as works by Robert Schumann and Johannes Brahms.
Finally, the sensational finale of the Opera Rara Festival to be held at the Slowacki Theatre on the 13th of February -- John Blow’s Venus and Adonis, the first English opera – a work of excellence, a perfect supplementation to the above proposals in view of its inspirations by Lully’s opera music. Its libretto is based on Ovid’s Metamorphoses. It is a love story of Venus, who has been hit by Cupid’s arrow and falls in love with the hunter Adonis. This love story ends up tragically in love duets and lamentation, when Adonis dies in the arms of the goddess. A concise work, interwoven with dance suites is an excellent, lyrical example of English court culture. The work will be performed by the renowned Dunedin Consort, conducted by John Butt at the harpsichord. It will give us a foretaste of the 15th Misteria Paschalia Festival, at which the Scottish conductor will be in charge of its artistic programme.
Recitals, stage productions, opera in concert – the productions drawn from the world concert offer and the ones involving the local milieu which builds its stronger artistic presence on a daily basis. The Opera Rara Festival is a natural extension of the City of Krakow community-oriented and cultural policy, a project having it’s a clear identity of its own, addressed to music aficionado, and of great artistic value. Why don’t you spend four intense weeks filled with all kinds of operatic forms with the Festival.
Tickets available from noon of 31st October in InfoKrakow points and via eventim.pl.
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