Different styles connected by a common thought

At the Opera Rara 2020 Festival, we will once again hear works from outside the repertoire, played very rarely. We have a number of very different performances ahead of us: the bel canto Sigismondo by Gioacchino Rossini, the romantic Vanda by Antonín Dvořák, the Baroque Il ballo delle Ingrate by Claudio Monteverdi – complemented by new compositions by Teoniki Rożynek, a performance of Enoch Arden, based on a poem by Alfred Tennyson, and two contemporary operas – Weiße Rose by Udo Zimmermann and Unknown, I Live With You, a joint work of playwright Krystian Lada and composer Katarzyna Głowicka.

About the festival

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.

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  • The Study of Anxiety

    The history of the German anti-Nazi student organisation, which manifested their opposition against the authorities and called upon society to unite against the rulers has not been forgotten – and definitely not by the world of opera. Udo Zimmermann returned to the subject a couple of times. As a university student, he scored his brother’s […]
  • Is there anything to laugh at here?

    Sigismondo, with a libretto by Giuseppe Foppa, is based on its authors’ fantasy about Poland, which was nowhere to be found on the world maps at the time of its premiere in 1814. Using literary fiction, they showcased the universal themes of tolerance towards otherness and the impact of emotion on decision making. Trusting the […]
  • Weisse Rose – third time’s a charm

    We no longer know where the boundaries of what we call fascism, Nazism, xenophobia, chauvinism or nationalism actually are. What is this patriotism that the greatest authoritarians hide behind so willingly? Its true sense is recalled by the actions of the members of Weisse Rose – the White Rose – young patriots who wanted to […]
  • Unknown, I Live With You – opera against silence

    For many women, their participation in the Afghan Women’s Writing Project was a true breakthrough. As Roya recalls: I took up my pen to write and at first I was afraid: what to write? about what? But this was a project to write about everything, and I took the pen; I didn’t write from outside […]
  • Flavour-Filled Opera Rara

    Flavour-Filled Opera Rara is a project accompanying the Opera Rara Festival, which invites the audience to the table, partially as a way to complement the experience of the concert and make it fuller, thanks to the sense of taste. The previous editions of the festival offered a number of opportunities to sit at the table. […]
  • Il ballo delle Ingrate – a perverse morality play

    American soprano and university professor Caitlin Vincent published an article in the summer of 2019, and even its title gave rise to heated debates: “Opera Is Stuck in a Racist, Sexist Past, While Many in the Audience Have Moved On.” According to the author, classic works from the opera repertoire – pieces dating back to […]
  • Sigismondo’s ahistorical historicity according to Matejko. An interview with Krystian Lada.

    Tomasz Domagała: How does the story you’re adapting to the stage fit in with our times? Krystian Lada: When I start working on an opera I don’t know, I try to understand the composition structure of the work. And I’m not talking about musical composition, but about the deep structure of a given opera as […]
  • Seeking the AirPort. An interview with director Krystian Lada

    Tomasz Domagała: For this year’s Opera Rara Festival, in addition to Rossini’s Sigismondo, you also directed Unknown, I Live With You by Katarzyna Głowicka. Why take on two such different projects? Krystian Lada: The cooperation with Katarzyna Głowicka is the crowning achievement of our shared artistic path based on the belief that opera can be […]
  • Bridges instead of walls – presenting the programme of the Opera Rara 2020 festival

    These works come from different epochs and represent different styles, but are connected by a common thought. They make us wonder why we are so eager to build walls around us, what are the consequences of this, and what to do to build bridges instead of them. Olga Tokarczuk, the winner of last year’s Nobel […]
  • A new musical world

    Baroque arias and old songs from distant lands The artist picked up a bold selection of arias from French Baroque opera, English masque and Spanish zarzuela, which comprised the main part of the concert programme, juxtaposing them with traditional songs from Peru, France and the British Isles. In addition to the classic “Greensleves” tune, we […]
  • All the festival roads

    Between tradition and modernity The Festival was inaugurated by the premiere of Hippolyte et Aricie – Jean-Philippe Rameau’s lyrical tragedy directed by Sjaron Minailo. A great challenge of the French Baroque turned out to be a field for experimentation for a contemporary artist. The Israeli director created the spectacle with elegance worthy of France, all […]
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