KRAKOW CHAMBER OPERA
The story of Krakow Chamber Opera begins in 1991. Until 2000, the independent musical theatre SCENA EL-JOT established by Jadwiga Leśniak Jankowska has no permanent location and gives guest performances home and abroad, in natural spaces, in which old plays can be fully realised (in castles, palaces, museums, historical outdoor sceneries, churches), as well as in theatres. The critics describe it as “probably the most sublime and aesthetically refined theatre collective in Poland, taking delight in the tasteful music, costumes and plastic arts” (Krystyna Marczyk, Magazyn Wileński, 1995).
The the opening ceremony for the permanent site of the theatre takes place at 18 June 2000, in the historic surroundings of the townhouse at 15 Miodowa street in Krakow. For renovating the building and making it host to a cultural establishment, Krakow Chamber Opera is awarded a title of Patron of Krakow Culture by the President of Krakow in 2002. The enterprise is run by the people of well-established position in the theatre industry: Jadwiga Leśniak–Jankowska — actress, choreographer, professor of Ludwik Solski Academy for the Dramatic Arts in Krakow and Wacław Jankowski — director. “They consistently create the genuine theatre, in which music is on equal terms with word. For years now they have realised their vision of theatre of word an music, with a perfect balance between individual elements, all of them serving to convey the clear message of the work and all faithful to the aesthetic standards of the time the work was created. Their performances are always perfect in every detail, logical and visually charming” (Anna Woźniakowska, Dziennik Polski, 2012).
Artistic creed: discovering the forgotten Polish and international masterpieces, respect for tradition, commitment to artistry and precision of the performance. This means not only reaching to the repertoire of the past, but also recreating the costumes, dances and gestures characteristic to particular period or using the original instruments. In Krakow Chamber Opera word — both spoken and sung — is treated with utmost care. “Once the EL-JOT theatre became mature, once it turned out that its varied word and music offer, corresponding with both culture and manners of the past and to the tradition of the place it settled in, finds many recipients, in answer to this demand the Krakow Chamber Opera was established in Miodowa street” (Anna Woźniakowska, Dziennik Polski, 2006). Artists performing at the KOK stage constitute the carefully chosen team of instrumentalists, singers, actors and dancers. The important place among them is taken by the students of the artistic universities of Krakow, who bring in their youth and enthusiasm, getting in return the opportunity to make debut and gain experience on professional stage, in an ambitious repertoire.
The founders of the theatre do not strive to flatter the popular tastes. They force the viewer to intellectual effort, which pays off: apart from the dedicated audience, which awards the performances with standing ovations, the theatre also attracts connoisseurs and is acclaimed by the critics, who stress the artistic values of the undertakings of the theatre in Miodowa street and the role it plays in Polish culture, for example by reviving some forms which are less popular nowadays, such as mystery play, digressive chamber opera, rhapsody or dramatised oratorio.
“Nowadays, thanks to the stage in Miodowa street makes it possible to plunge into a world different than the one surrounding us. The poetic-musical performances — concerts in simple yet beautiful visual setting, somewhat beyond time, in their own specific rhythm — find keen viewers.” (Anna Woźniakowska, 2006).
“Performances of the theatre please both eye and ear, and the home-like atmosphere lets us forget we are, after all, in a serious institution. It is difficult now to imagine Miodowa street without the gate with the honey emblem” (Monika Partyk, Ruch Muzyczny, 2007).