Hudební Věda

Opera in Poland. The Repertoire of Polish Theatres after 2000, with Focus on Contemporary Operas

article summary

Eva Balcárková

In more than a few respects, the cultural scenes of this country´s neighbours may serve as inspiration, but also as a source of certain lessons or even warning signals. Guided by the premise, “To know your own country´s culture, you should be able to observe it from the outside and in the broadest possible context,” this study about Polish opera comes as one of the first internationally oriented probes concerned with a comparatively recent history. The final text is centered around the quantitative exploration of the repertoire of ten Polish opera houses in the course of the first fifteen years of the 21st century, i.e., the seasons 1999/2000 through 2014/2105. The survey proceeds from the general evaluation of this repertoire, cursorily also taking into account the genres of operetta, musical and ballet, before getting to opera as such. The process, based on the thoroughgoing collection of data, involved analysis of the percentual distribution of the majority of relevant parameters, the elaboration of a chart of the most frequently performed titles, and a brief outline of the impact of economic factors on opera productions. Interesting findings were obtained concerning the output of operas for children´s audiences, as well as the gender distribution of opera composers. A separate chapter deals with the Czech operas staged in Poland. Of course, the subject which is treated in greatest detail, is the presence on the repertoire of contemporary operas which are dealt with individually as presented by each theatre, the individual stagings being described in a fairly detailed manner, with emphasis on their key characteristics. The bracketing of contemporary operas comprises works written after 1950, with several exceptions of operas dating from the first half of the twentieth-century. The aim of this study was to draw up a preliminary chart of the overall situation, and provide a basic survey which may subsequently inspire further scholarly endeavours, as well as material for comparative study of context reaching beyond the borders of the Czech Republic.

Key words: opera; contemporary music; czech music in Poland; polish theatres; Opera Nova; Opera Śląska; Opera Bałtycka; Opera Krakowska; Opera Łódź – Teatr Wielki; Poznań Opera – Teatr Wielki im. Stanisława Moniuszki; Opera na Zamku; Opera Narodowa; Warszawska Opera Kameralna; Opera Dolnośląska

Translated by Ivan Vomáčka