About the 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.

New formula

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 (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.


KBF is  a municipal cultural institution. We work for creative industries development and suport business, cultural tourism, the meetings industry & leisure industries.

KBF means culture, business and festivals. But it means much more besides. It means people behind hundreds of events held in the city every year. It means emotions evoked by performances at huge outdoor stages. It means unforgettable memories of concert halls. It means countless events at venues throughout Kraków: the well-known ones which have long been bringing culture to the city, and the small, hidden ones which illuminate alternative themes and directions. It means all the thoughts and gestures exchanged everywhere – in the front row, in the ticket line, behind the scenes, on the way to and from.

Literature, film, music, visual arts, tourism, local initiatives, education and business – these are the eight main areas of our operations. We work in and for Kraków, for its residents and tourists, brief visitors and those who end up staying for longer. Kraków draws people in, and we have been helping it do just that for over twenty years.

Professional, open, cultural

We organise major festivals, spectacular shows for tens of thousands viewers, artistic events acclaimed at home and abroad, and low-key, niche projects. We support grassroot civic initiatives and listen to the voices of Cracovians. We create flagship festivals which form part of Kraków’s rich cultural life, stimulate cultural tourism and local businesses, bring a breath of fresh air and transport audiences to different worlds.

We are the operator of the UNESCO City of Literature programme – Poland’s first urban strategy promoting reading and supporting authors and local book markets. KBF also manages the Regional Film Fund, International Film Fund and Kraków Film Commission which all support domestic and international film productions in Kraków and Małopolska.

As the operator of the ICE Kraków Congress Centre, manager of the InfoKraków Tourist Information Network, publisher of the monthly cultural magazine “Karnet” and founder of the Kraków Network of representatives of the local meetings industry, we accumulate knowledge on cultural life, initiate meetings between representatives of different fields and contribute to the sustainable development of leisure and business tourism in Kraków by bringing together the worlds of culture, entrepreneurship and tourism.


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Capella Cracoviensis

Semper in altum. This is the motto that has been the driving force behind Capella Cracoviensis for several years, making it the most dynamically developing Polish ensemble specialising in stylish early music performances. Thanks to the consistent support of the City of Krakow, CC is able to carry out ambitious projects in an uncompromising manner and at the highest artistic level, collaborating with outstanding musicians of similar sensibilities and comparable courage. Artists who regularly perform with CC include Vincent Dumestre (Le Poème Harmonique), Fabio Bonizzoni (La Risonanza), Alessandro Moccia (Orchestre des Champs-Élysées), Andrew Parrott, Paul Goodwin and Ensemble Oltremontano, as well as guest appearances by Accademia Bizantina, Fretwork, Nachtmusique, Paul McCreesh, Giuliano Carmignola and Christophe Rousset (Les Talens Lyriques). Apart from concert activities, CC is also exploring the territories of Baroque and Classical opera, successfully producing their stage versions in Poland: Handel’s Amadigi, Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro and Don Giovanni, or Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice.

In addition to being an instrumental ensemble, Capella Cracoviensis is also a vocal ensemble. Not only technically efficient, but also flexible, capable of performing repertoire ranging from Gesuald’s breakneck Mannerist madrigals to avant-garde 20th-century compositions. The CC choir is used, among others, by the excellent guests of the Misteria Paschalia Festival and the Opera Rara series, such as Fabio Biondi, Marc Minkowski, Le Poème Harmonique and the La Venexiana ensemble under Claude Cavina.

CC hosts the most prominent European festivals: Haydn Festspiele Brühl, Bachfest Leipzig, SWR Festspiele and Händel Festspiele Halle. They regularly give concerts outside Poland: in Vienna’s Konzerthaus, at Versailles, in Brussels, Ghent, Lviv and Kyiv.

Since November 2008, Jan Tomasz Adamus, an outstanding organist, harpsichordist, conductor and animator of musical life, has been the director and artistic director of CC. He shaped the ensemble’s artistic personality in collaboration with many excellent singers and in contact with the achievements of the most important European centres of arts – in painting, sculpture, architecture and philosophy of art, seeing a constant counterpoint to all musical activities. His assumption of this function at the invitation of the City of Krakow was one of the most famous transfers in the world of Polish culture in recent years.

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