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A Polish romantic opera which, together with the figure and production of Chopin, is one of the milestones in the country's musical history and which comes to the Real with the voice of the Polish Piotr Beczala. Considered a national treasure, its sung melodies are rooted in Polish tradition. Every time this opera is performed in Poland, it takes on the tinge of a national event.
The artistic quality and its great structure create an agile dramatic pulse within its four acts, which helps to relate its musical elements to the character of Halka.
The national Polish opera without rival will raise eyebrows for the quality of its dramatic and musical language, indispensable characteristics to successfully describe the universal theme— a mother’s rejection of her illegitimate children — which is familiar to us, in all its crudity, in the myth of Medea. Moniuszko, however, approached this rawness more than half a century before the realistic and compassionate universe of Jenufa.
A” national” opera — although not “nationalist” in the broad sense of the term—, Halka occupies a seminal place in its country as did Der Freischütz in Germany, A Life for the Tsar in Russia, Hunyadi László in Hungary, or The Bartered Bride in the Czech Republic. Composed at the time Poland was under Russian control, Moniuszko gained fame as the musical hero — with the permission of Chopin— of an oppressed land. Its protagonist, the peasant girl Halka, acquires a tragic status as she identifies explicitly with the Polish people, by way of the folkloric inflections of her part. With the touching image of her fragile persona by the librettist and composer, this is an essential work of Central European Romanticism.
Opera in four acts
Music by Stanisław Moniuszko (1819-1872)
Libretto by Włodzimierz Wolski, based on a tale by Kasimierz Wójcicki
Premiere at Teatr Wielki in Warsaw on 1 January 1858
Premiere at the Teatro Real
Orchestra conductor: Łukasz Borowicz
Chorus master: José Luis Basso
Stolnik: Maxim Kuzmin-Karavaev
Dziemba: Tomasz Kumiega
Janusz: Tomasz Konieczny
Zofia: Olga Syniakova
Halka: Corinne Winters
Jontek: Piotr Beczała
Bagpiper: Javier Povedano
Chorus and Orchestra of the Teatro Real