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The Warsaw Voice » Culture » December 16, 2009
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Polish Opera at its Best
December 16, 2009   
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Stanisław Moniuszko's operatic masterpiece The Haunted Manor will be performed at the Wielki Theater in Warsaw Dec. 18 and 20.

The Haunted Manor was written between 1861 and 1864, when Poland was carved up between Russia, Prussia and Austria, and a widespread uprising against Russian rule was in full swing. The opera was given its world premiere at the Wielki Theater in Warsaw Sept. 28, 1865. Its patriotic undertones quickly were a hit with the public but a miss with the Russian authorities, who promptly banned it.

The libretto to The Haunted Manor was written by Jan Chęciński. The story opens with Stefan and his brother Zbigniew returning home after a victorious military expedition. The two swear to permanent bachelorhood so as to be ever ready to defend their country. The tortuous plot, which involves the complex dealings of a slew of characters, eventually resolves itself with a change of plan and a double wedding where Stefan marries Hanna and Zbigniew marries Jadwiga.

The Haunted Manor is generally regarded as Moniuszko's greatest work. The opera deftly and seamlessly weaves a tale of romance, patriotism and comedy. No less adroit, however, is the way in which it integrates traditional Polish songs and dances like the mazurka, the polonaise and the krakowiak.

The soloists in these performances will be accompanied by the Choir and Orchestra of the National Opera, the Polish National Ballet, and a host of other performers and extras, all under the direction of Mikołaj Grabowski.

M.B.

Dec. 18 at 7 p.m. and Dec. 20 at 6 p.m.
Wielki Theater/National Opera, 1 Teatralny Sq., Warsaw
Original Polish libretto with English subtitles
For more information, go to www.teatrwielki.pl
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