Staging and directing: Wacław Jankowski
Musical management: Michał Łukasz Niżyński
Scenography, costumes: Katarzyna Mucha
Choreography, stage performance visuals: Jadwiga Leśniak-Jankowska
Jarosław Bielecki (tenor)/Maciej Gallas (tenor)
Ewelina Koniec (soprano)/Wiktoria Zawistowska (mezzosoprano)
Dorota Furmaniuk/Ewelina Ściana
Jacek Baratowski (bass)/Sebastian Marszałowicz (bass)
Krakow Chamber Opera Orchestra
First violin: Marta Rychlik/Karolina Szymbara
Second violin: Karolina Bartczyszyn
Viola: Aldona Trybulec
Cello: Karolina Kalinowska
Double bass: Lesław Wydrzyński
Flute: Małgorzata Mazurek
Oboe: Kamil Kuc
Spinet: Anna Huszczo
fot. Paweł Zechenter
fot. Jan Zych
The staging craft of Mr. And Mrs. Jankowski is unique
Life is rolling onward, there are plenty of musical events going on and it gets really hard to keep track of them all.
And so, I’m starting to catch up on the repertoire.
In Krakow Chamber Opera on Miodowa St. there has recently been a premiere of a singspiel by Mozart, ‘Bastien und Bastienne’. It has been prepared for the occasion of the opera’s 10th anniversary. I must admit that this institution seems to be playing a much greater role in the musical life of the city with each passing year.
The staging craft of Mr. And Mrs. Jankowski is entirely unique. Their spectacles are chiseled, deliberate, they connect various elements of stagecraft into one coherent body of work.
They give the dooor wide open for young artists, often mere beginners, to show off their acting skill.
They teach them respect for the spoken word and stage sound.
And so it has been on Sunday. A charming trifle by young Mozart directed by Wacław Jankowski and conducted by Michał Łukasz Niżyński, with scenography by Katarzyna Mucha and choreography by Jadwiga Leśniak-Jankowska. The recitatives by Michał Zabłocki successfully blends the 18th c. libretto with contemporary language, thus giving the audience numerous occasions for good laughter. A big round of applause that followed was not only an expression of gratitude for the performance, but also for the ten years of Krakow Chamber Opera.
25th November 2014
* * * * * * * *
A TOY FOR GROWN-UPS
Krakow Chamber Opera, a lovechild of Jadwiga Leśniak-Jankowska and Wacław Jankowski, is celebrating its 10th anniversary. It’s a musical theatre with a distinctive style. By combining musical performance with stage play, choreography, pantomime and puppetry it revitalizes lesser known, but noteworthy plays. For the occasion of anniversary celebration ‘Bastien und Bastienne’ by Mozart has been chosen.
The Krakow staging uses the new translation by poet Michał Zabłocki in its recitative parts. It has been ordered specifically for this occassion (there is already another translation by Joanna Kulmowa). Just as in vaudeville ‘Les amours…’, Zabłocki introduces a whole bunch of popcultural references. The plot gets more complex (the spectacle is 90-minute long) and the meanings get shifted. The script translator does not shy away from irony, which is brilliant at times. The main object of mockery is here fraudulence sold under the guise of bioenergy therapy. After all, its founding father is the principal of this singspiel, Anton Mesmer – the author of magnetic hypnosis. This phenomenon is also known as ‘animal magnetism’, which seems to be the main inspiration for the translator of the libretto. The lyrics (a consistent, folk decasyllabic) does not avoid saucy verses, like Bastien’s ‘rock-hard evidence’ or Basienne’s ‘such valleys, such chicks’.What Zabłocki proposes here is witty and inteligent, although juxtaposition of ‘cute selfie’ with ‘erstwhile’ and ‘dame’ seems a bit stilted if not taken with a pinch of linguistic salt.
Director Wacław Jankowski used well-proven patterns. The action takes place on three sets: singers, actors and dolls. A new character is also introduced: Colasienne, a female counterpart to the soothsayer. The stylish and witty choreography by Jadwiga Leśniak-Jankowska adds to the whole experience by merging court dances with hip-hop. The singers: Jarosław Bielecki (Bastien), ewelina Koniec (Bastienne) and Jacek Batarowski (Colas) sang the notes of Mozart with artistic skill and precision – especially the female protagonist. The actors were given an exceptionally ambitious task, to which Dorota Furmaniuk (accompanied by a bit uptight Grzegorz Łabuda) rose up gracefully. The pair of magicians was cleverly portrayed by Łukasz Łęcki and Katarzyna Domanus. The nine-person orchestra conducted by Michał Łukasz Niżyński did a great job.
What more can I say – Krakow premiere is an ‘opera plaything’(as Piotr Kamiński described ‘Bastien und Bastienne’) for grown-ups – considering that toy is meant for playing and ‘opera’ means a work of art.