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About festival

Opera Rara Festival is a presentation over four centuries, and shows this field of art in its fullest form. The event does not give up on the presentation of what has previously been the brand of the festival and was the heart of the series – the greatest works of opera, reconstructed in accordance with the spirit of the age by the most eminent representatives of historical performance.

Starting in 2017, the most prestigious Krakow stages will host semi-operas that will show the true faces of musical theatre, with a symbolically marked set design and costumes and more pronounced acting, as well as full stage versions, the theatricality and professional production of which will captivate the audiences. The Opera Rara Festival is the answer to the voices of the public and the fulfilment of the stylistic gap that leaves the audiences hungering for more.

Opera Rara series has transformed into a three-week festival, which is held during the carnival. It is a time historically associated with the highest number of opera premieres, as well as a period full of balls, play and an atmosphere of celebration. The Festival is primarily an extension of the programme with vocal recitals, performances originating not only from the Baroque, but also rooted in the 20th century, semi-operas and half-stage versions of performances.

Detachment from everyday life, fun, creative expression, participation and giving a voice to the echoes of the bygone noble times, when opera was a fashionable and pleasant way to spend time, and an important element of social and cultural life – that is the important heritage that the Opera Rara Festival will refer to, building the opera brand as a centre of social life, the source of aesthetic elation and a pretext to build a community based on beauty and the unity of experiences. Opera Rara as a way of life, a festival that affects all the senses and meets the needs of the audiences. A stunning cross-section of nearly four centuries, a multitude of moods, refined music in excellent interpretations, admiration and elation – with this daring move, Krakow is strengthening its brand as the capital of classical music. The carnival in the capital of Małopolska will be what it should be associated with – sophisticated beauty and pure joy.

Opera Rara launched in 2009 as a series dedicated to presenting ambitious and shining triumphs of opera performances. The central part of the programme were reconstructions of ancient operas from the canon of the 17th and 18th centuries, performed by leading European interpreters. The most prominent opera singers have performed since then on Krakow stages, including Maria Grazia Schiavo, Roberta Invernizzi and Philippe Jarrousky.

Between 2009 and 2016 Filip Berkowicz served as the Artistic Director of the Opera Rara cycle. Since 2017 this role is performed by Jan Tomasz Adamus, the Director of Capella Cracoviensis. The managing and executive director is Izabela Helbin, the director of the Krakow Festival Office. The project is coordinated by Matylda Myczka (CC), Joanna Broniec and Paweł Szczepanik (Krakow Festival Office)

The festival is organised by the City of Krakow, the Krakow Festival Office and Capella Cracoviensis, with the support of the Juliusz Słowacki Theatre.