A good opera season

I’ve been in Poland for the past week. I was only in Warsaw for a day, but I saw something that impressed me a lot. It wasn’t the opera house, although that’s very pretty indeed:

Warsaw Opera House
Warsaw Opera House

No, what impressed me was the upcoming season Warsaw Opera has planned:

  • Czajkowski’s The Merchant of Venice (premiere)
  • Verdi’s Nabucco
  • Wagner’s Lohengrin
  • Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin
  • Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice
  • Puccini’s Madame Butterfly
  • Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda (premiere)
  • Verdi’s Rigoletto
  • Stefani’s The Cracovians and the Mountaineers (premiere)
  • Verdi’s La traviata
  • Moniuszko’s The Haunted Manor
  • Moniuszko’s Halka
  • Ades’ Powder Her Face (premiere)
  • Kupczak’s and Glowicka’s The ‘P’ Project (premiere)
  • Rossini’s William Tell (premiere)

Polish composers aren’t exactly world-famous, but the season still includes a respectable five operas by them, including three premieres. Even among the more ‘standard’ Western European fare, there’s a great mix of overdone favorites (Traviata, Rigoletto, Onegin, Madame Butterfly), and less-performed gems (Nabucco, Lohengrin, Maria Stuarda, Orfeo, William Tell). And they’re doing a premiere of Powder Her Face, which is pretty bold in a season with a lot of unfamiliar works already.

Of course, I am looking at this from a U.S. and Western Europe perspective—perhaps some of the works that are new to me are tried and true with Polish audiences. From where I stand, though, this is a well-thought-out mix of premieres and repertory productions, local and global operas, and well- and lesser-know works.

Good job, Warsaw Opera management. Take notes, others.  Enjoy Bernard Ładysz singing “Aria Skołuby” from Moniuszko’s “Straszny dwór” below: