Warsaw Autumn 2006 – XIV

Tonight’s concert was a world premiere of Zygmunt Krauze’s Yvonne, Princess of Burgundy, an opera in four acts based on the play by Witold Gombrowicz.  The performance was at the National Theater, adjacent to the Teatr Wielki.  Our first time to the National Theater, I was stunned by how beautiful the building is, the interior mostly marble accented with gold.  The theater itself was very intimately sized but I think incredible for that reason: the sound was fantastic and it was very easy to see everything going on on stage from our seats (granted we were in the sixth row, but looking around I don’t think there would be a bad seat in the house).  A wonderful theater.

I enjoyed the opera very much: the story was interesting and dark but also at times humorous(hard to explain but Lisa told me that it is very similar to “Pelleas et Melisande”), the performers performed wonderfully, and the music worked very well in framing the work.  The staging was simple but effective and the costumes were fun and also effective (post-modern came to mind but that’s not quite it). The music was mostly consonant but not quite tonal, moving between a number of different moods and styles.  The work was not a very long opera (finished in two hours with an intermission) but I found that a part of why I felt it was short was that it was very well paced and transitioned effortlessly.

Listening to the opera I was once again reminded of how lyrical I find the Polish language and how well I think it works in music.  Hearing it in everyday situations I find it rather musical and even more so when set very well and performed admirably by good performers.

Overall a very enjoyable and entertaining work. It would be nice to see this opera again and they are doing another performance of the opera tomorrow, but tomorrow is also the final day of the festival and the performance is being done at the same time as the final concert at the National Philharmonic Concert Hall.  It seemed like a strong enough work to me to make it into the repertoire (though I’m no opera aficionado…) so maybe we’ll have another chance to see this again in the future.

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