Showing posts from March, 2018

Polish Royal Opera - Aleksander i Apelles - Karol Kurpiński - 10 March 2018

Apelles Painting Campaspe (1630) by  the Flemish artist  Willem van Haecht  (1593 – 1637) [Scenic backdrop of the production] It is always of great interest in life to stumble over a rare, normally inaccessible and forgotten work of art. An apple on the moon. In this case it was a small chamber opera by the eminent Polish composer Karol Kazimierz Kurpiński (1785-1857) that had not been performed in repertory for some two hundred years.   Outside of his native land, his name would certainly only be known to a few specialist musicologists in western countries despite being the most prominent Polish composer before Fryderyk Chopin. Born in  Włoszakowice, a small village   in west-central Poland, some sixty kilometers from Pozna ń, he was the son of the local organist and the daughter of a village civil servant. From 1800 to 1808 he played the violin in the orchestra of Count Feliks Polanowski at his seat near Lw ó w. Later in 1810 he held the post of assistant conductor  until

Chopin's Birthday - 208th Anniversary on 1st March 2018 - a Charming Day spent both at Żelazowa Wola and in Warsaw

Chopin's birthplace at Żela zowa Wola about 50 kms from Warsaw I decided to make the effort to attend the birthday recital at Żela zowa  Wola on an uncompromisingly and rather abnormal freezing day on 1st March (-10C). Brrrr.... The romantic intimacy I remember of my first visit to the  dwórek  and hamlet in the early 1990s has rather disappeared with a quite understandable development of the site to cope with the freedom of the global touristic movement that Poland now enjoys - restaurant, ticket hall, shop, recital and lecture theatre - the full unfolding of facilities for visitors but with the inevitable loss of some of the romantic poetry and mystery of the domain.  I would like to quote my first impressions of what was for me a deeply poetic place. In an access of nostalgia the extract comes from my book about Poland entitled  A Country in the Moon (Granta -London 2008).                                                                           *  *  *  *  *