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The Warsaw Voice » Society » August 1, 2013
Summer in the City
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A Summerful of Festivals
August 1, 2013   
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19th Jazz in the Old Town international open-air festival, June 22-Aug. 17

In its 19th year, the Jazz in the Old Town international open-air festival is widely regarded as an inseparable part of the summer season in Warsaw and one of the city’s biggest tourist attractions. Festival concerts are held every Saturday night at 7 p.m. in the atmospheric setting of the Old Town Square.

As every year, the organizers promise a variety of jazz genres, from mainstream and world jazz to modern jazz, fusion and flamenco jazz. This year’s highlights include concerts by Enrico Pieranunzi, Jorge Pardo and Jacky Terrason.

Upcoming concerts

Aug. 3
Enrico Pieranunzi Trio
The trio play jazz at its best. Pieranunzi, one of Italy’s most acclaimed jazz musicians, is a pianist, composer and arranger. He has over 70 albums to his name and his collaborations to date include those with Chet Baker, Charlie Haden and Marc Johnson. In Warsaw, the trio will play excerpts from movie scores composed by Ennio Morricone and Nino Rota for cinematic masterpieces by Federico Fellini, Michelangelo Antonioni, Francis Ford Coppola and Bernardo Bertolucci.

Aug. 10
Jorge Pardo Trio
One of the festival’s highlights, the night will feature Jorge Pardo, one of Spain’s best jazz and flamenco musicians, in his only concert in Poland. A flute and sax virtuoso, Pardo has performed at major jazz venues and festivals around the world, sharing the stage with the likes of Paco De Lucia and Chick Corea. Pardo is credited with being one of the inventors of Spanish fusion jazz. He recently received the French Jazz Academy Award for best European musician.

Aug. 17
Bester Quartet
The Cracow-based Polish band produce an inventive blend of classical music, jazz, avant-garde and contemporary chamber music. They also like to reinterpret traditional Yiddish folk music. Their collaborations include those with musicians such as John Zorn, Tomasz Stańko, Zbigniew Preisner and Frank London.


Fourth Royal Arcades of Art festival, August 10-September 1

Over 150 professional dancers, musicians and theater performers will entertain Warsaw audiences over four consecutive summer weekends during the fourth Royal Arcades of Art festival.

Organized by the Royal Castle in Warsaw since 2010, the art festival aims to foster an interdisciplinary dialogue between theater, dance and music. The eight festival performances will be held on every Saturday and Sunday evening between Aug. 10 and Sept. 1 at the Kubickiego Arcades (4 Zamkowy Sq.) next to the Royal Castle gardens by the banks of the Vistula River.

During the musical part of the festival, Warsaw audiences will hear contemporary music along with compositions from several different historical periods. Early music will be a nod to concerts which used to take place at the royal court.

This year, the festival will introduce audiences to Poland’s best visual theater companies, including the Mimo theater and the Adam Walny Theater.

Festival viewers will also see the Makata Theater and the Gry i Ludzie (Games and People) Theater, both of which like to revisit tradition in search of creative inspiration. The two companies, however, have differing views on how folk customs mix with a modern sensibility.

Through an interplay of different branches of art, the festival helps its participants exchange ideas, share expertise and establish new contacts, which in many cases lead to new artistic and cultural projects.

Aug. 10, 7 p.m.
Mimo Theater from Warsaw: Stories from the Other Day
Aug. 11 , 7 p.m.
A night with the Atom String Quartet from Warsaw
Aug. 17 , 7 p.m.
Makata Theater from Warsaw: Wedding
Aug. 18 , 7 p.m.
Ajazz night with the Globetrotters band
Aug. 24 , 7 p.m.
Gry i Ludzie Theater from Katowice: The Master
Aug. 25 , 7 p.m.
Piano recital by Hayk Melikyan (Armenia)
Aug. 31 , 7 p.m.
Adam Walny Theater from Ryglice: The Dictator
Sept. 1, 7 p.m.
A night with the Warsaw Camerata Orchestra
Admission is free to all performances and concerts, but the number of places for viewers is limited.

Warsfolk international folk song and dance festival, Aug. 24-25

Held every summer since 2005 at Sowiński Park in Warsaw’s Wola district, the festival brings together hundreds of performers from Europe.


10th Singer’s Warsaw Festival of Jewish Culture, Aug.24-Sept. 1

Those with an interest in all things Jewish should mark their calendars for the 10th annual Singer’s Warsaw Festival of Jewish Culture in the Polish capital Aug. 24-Sept. 1.

The festival is one of the most important Jewish culture-themed events in Europe. First held in 2004, it is a tribute to Polish-born Jewish American Nobel Prize-winning writer Isaac Bashevis Singer, who felt a strong affection for Warsaw and wrote about the city in many of his novels. Using his fiction as inspiration, the festival takes audiences to a bygone world of Yiddish culture recreated on Warsaw’s Próżna Street and Grzybowski Square. This somewhat overlooked corner of the capital transforms during the festival into a reflection of prewar Warsaw with vintage Jewish cafes and stores opened especially for the occasion and music performed by klezmer bands and Jewish cantors.

Some of the almost 200 festival events scheduled to take place this year will be held in restaurants and bars along the Vistula bank and in the Praga and Muranów districts of Warsaw. They include concerts, stage performances, exhibitions, lectures, workshops for kids and adults, movie screenings and meetings with writers.

The music highlights of this year’s festival include cantor concerts at the Nożyk Synagogue. Audiences will hear Yaacov Lemmer, a young cantor from the United States, in a joint performance with the Cantor Choir from Jerusalem. The star of the 10th Singer’s Warsaw festival will be Dudu Fisher, an internationally famous Israeli cantor whose accomplishments include the role of Jean Valjean in the musical Les Misérables based on the novel by Victor Hugo. The festival performers will also include Canada’s Ron Davis, a phenomenal pianist and jazz composer.

The Singer’s Warsaw festival brings together people of different generations, introducing audiences to many unusual music genres. Some of the most popular concerts are those by young Polish musicians playing new Jewish music. This year, they will include the Horny Trees trio (Szamburski/Trofonidis/Zemler) and the Hozim quartet (Górczyński/Szamburski/Rogiewicz/Kita).

As in previous years, crowds are expected to attend open-air concerts on Grzybowski Square. The main highlight are The Other Europeans, a world-famous band made up of 14 klezmer and Roma musicians from seven countries. Formed and helmed by Alan Bern, The Other Europeans are virtuosos whose music is loaded with emotion. The select group of soloists build cultural bridges between social groups beyond national boundaries.

Other notable festival guests include the charismatic Joshua Nelson, who has earned himself a reputation as the Prince of Kosher Gospel. Nelson will appear in the festival’s closing concert Sept. 1, sharing the stage with the Cukunft Big Band of Raphael Rogiński and a klezmer orchestra from the Polish town of Sejny.

For several years, the festival has featured renowned Polish musicians inspired by Jewish music. A special selection of music pieces will be performed this year by trumpet virtuoso Tomasz Stańko at the All Saints’ Church. He will be accompanied by the Kroke band and the Tomasz Stańko New York Quartet.

The theater section of the festival will feature the Compagnie du Hasard from France who are bringing a play entitled ...And Now It’s Snowing! and inspired by fairy tales written by Singer. The Jewish Theater from Bucharest, Romania, will perform Yentl, a play based on a short story by Singer. Festival audiences will also see the Habima National Theater from Israel in The Dybbuk, a play by S. Ansky and directed by Shmuel Shohat. The Jewish Theater from Warsaw will stage two premiere plays: Kafka Dances by Lech Mackiewicz and Marienbad by Maciej Wojtyszko.

Theater lovers should make sure not to miss several short plays prepared especially for the festival, including Karolina Kirsz’s adaptation of the Touch the Water, Touch the Wind novel by Amos Oz and Golem by Anna Smolar and featuring Candelaria Saenz Valiente.

The Singer’s Warsaw Festival of Jewish Culture is organized by the Shalom Foundation, which since 1988 has worked to preserve the memory of the cultural heritage of Polish Jews. The founder and driving force behind the festival is Shalom’s director-general Golda Tencer, an actress, singer and theater director.


13th International Mime Festival, August 23-31

Theater companies from around the world specializing in mime will gather in Warsaw Aug. 23-31 for the 13th International Mime Festival.

Drawing growing audiences every year, the Warsaw festival is one of most important events of its kind in Europe. The festival is designed to reflect the impressive variety of styles, genres and subject matters in contemporary mime.

Like each year, the Warsaw Center for Mime will hold Poland’s largest mime workshops to showcase a wide variety of mime techniques and different takes on acting. This year, the workshops will be conducted by experts from France, Germany and Ukraine.

Aug. 23
Szatnia (Cloakroom)—Wrocław Mime Theater (Poland)
Aug. 24
Dante/Light in a Darkness—Tantehorse (Czech Republic)
Aug. 25
Agua de Lagrimas—Warsaw Center for Mime (Poland)
Aug. 27
Performance by Quartet De.Kru (Ukraine)
Aug. 29
Modern Mime Evening
Held to contrast different mime styles and techniques, the event will feature several dozen performers from around the world.
Aug. 30
Tell Me the Truth... and Other Stories—Compagnie Mangano-Massip (France)
Aug. 31
Follow Light—Bodecker & Neander Company (Germany)
Dramatyczny Theater, Na Woli Stage, 22 Kasprzaka St.

International United Solo Europe Festival, September 12-15

The Syrena Theater in Warsaw will open its 2013/2014 season by hosting the first International United Solo Europe Festival.

The festival will bring together performing artists from around the world. What all have in common is that they appear solo on stage. Performing arts showcased at the festival will range from puppet theater and dance theater, multimedia shows and improvised performances to stand-up comedy, stage magic and traditional theater with comic and tragic plays.

The festival aims to uncover innovative stage plays, foster the exchange of expertise and unite the participants and viewers under the festival motto: “You Think Solo, You Feel Solo, You Act United.”


Sept. 12, 8 p.m.: Anthony Nikolchev—The Echoes Off The Walls Underground Are Louder Than Your Footsteps Above Me
Sept. 13, 6 p.m.: Ewa Kasprzyk—Patty Diphusa (character created by Pedro Almodóvar)
Sept. 13, 8 p.m.: Herbert Kaluza—Historia mojego gołębnika (The Story of My Pigeon Loft)
Sept. 14, 6 p.m.: Mark Gindick—Wing-Man
Sept. 14, 8 p.m.: Bill Bowers—It Goes Without Saying
Sept. 15, 6 p.m.: Regina Advento—Dreamlines
For further information go to www.teatrsyrena.pl
and http://unitedsolo.eu/europe/pl

Warsaw Cross-Culture Festival, Sept. 26-29

The Warsaw Cross-Culture Festival was first held in 2005 to showcase the most interesting trends in world music. It has since made its way into Warsaw’s cultural landscape and is one of the largest festivals of its kind in Central Europe with a large group of faithful fans. Along with concerts, each festival comprises workshops in music, singing and dance conducted by internationally renowned instructors. Festival audiences can also attend exhibitions, see on-screen musicals and there are also activities for children.

The motto of this year’s festival, “Islands of the World,” announces guests from remote islands and overseas territories. The performers hail from Trinidad and Tobago, Belize and Honduras in Central America, the French island of Réunion on the Indian Ocean, New Zealand, Sardinia, Djerba in Tunisia and the ice-cold islands of northern Canada.

According to festival organizer Andrzej Matusiak, this geographical diversity was a tough challenge for the organizers. “We have invited dozens of artists from five continents so that our festival tent is like a multicultural island itself this September,” Matusiak said.

During the festival’s four days in September, Warsaw audiences will dance to American calypso music, learn about the traditions of the Garifuna people from the Caribbean, listen to traditional songs composed by descendants of slaves from Africa, hear how maloya music from Réunion blends with French and funky beats, and find out what “oceanic blues” sounds like.

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