The Royal Theatre in the Old Orangery in the Royal Łazienki Museum in Warsaw
There is no doubt, however, that the composer was inspired by Mickiewicz’s poetry – in his work The Phantoms (with the original title Widma), Moniuszko flawlessly brings out the natural musicality inherent in the ritual described by Mickiewicz. The strong integration of the literary and musical elements makes this work one of the finest examples of a romantic cantata.
“The common people, therefore, celebrate Forefathers’ Eve secretly in chapels or empty houses near the cemetery […]” – wrote Adam Mickiewicz in the introduction to the second part of the famous drama Dziady. Perhaps he himself once participated in this popular rite in which pagan customs blended with Christian tradition. It is possible that Moniuszko also had the opportunity to participate in the rite of Dziady (Forefathers’ Eve), although today it is difficult to find evidence supporting this hypothesis.
The first mentions of plans to set the drama of the national poet to music can be found in Moniuszko’s letters at the beginning of the 1850s. The world premiere of the completed cantata took place in the Redutowe Rooms of the Grand Theater on the second anniversary of the January Uprising – the 22nd of January 1865. The audience was delighted by the composition. In that same year, The Phantoms got an equally enthusiastic reception in Lviv. What a strong impression must such a vivid memory of the old rites have had on a nation enslaved by the partitioning powers…
The message hidden in Mickiewicz’s verses is universal, and the fascination with the mysterious rituals continues to this day. This is evidenced by the unwavering popularity of this production, with which the Polish Royal Opera inaugurated its first season.
MUSIC DIRECTOR TADEUSZ KAROLAK
STAGING, SET DESIGN, DIRECTION RYSZARD PERYT
COSTUMES MARLENA SKONECZKO
LIGHTING DESIGN PAULINA GÓRAL
CHORUS MASTER JAKUB SZAFRAŃSKI
VIDEO PROJECTIONS GRZEGORZ ROGALA, MAREK ZAMOJSKI
ASSISTANT DIRECTOR SŁAWOMIR JURCZAK
STAGE MANAGER AGNIESZKA ORLIKOWSKA
FORMER ACTOR SŁAWOMIR JURCZAK
GUŚLARZ ADAM KRUSZEWSKI
OLD MAN BOGDAN ŚLIWA
JÓZIO THE ANGEL MIKOŁAJ ZGÓDKA
RÓZIA THE ANGEL MAŁGORZATA RUDNICKA
GHOST WITOLD ŻOŁĄDKIEWICZ
RAVEN MATEUSZ BURDACH
OWL MONIKA SZWAJNOS
MAIDEN JULITA MIROSŁAWSKA
CONDUCTOR LILIANNA KRYCH