The Royal Castle in Warsaw, Grand Hall
The beginnings of the opera traditions at the Polish royal court date back to the reign of Sigismund III Vasa, and this was due to the musical interests of his son and heir to the throne – Władysław IV. During the Saxon times, just as in the West, the popularity of musical performances increased significantly, reaching its peak during the reign of Stanislaus II Augustus. However, theatrical stages could be found not only in the capital. The opera culture also flourished at the courts of magnate families, who often financed their own vocal and instrumental ensembles and auditoriums. In the second half of the 18th century, the Sapieha, Tyzenhauz, Ogiński, and, above all, the Radziwiłł families established their own local cultural centres.
It was at the court of prince Radziwiłł in Nesvizh in 1784, on the occasion of the arrival of King Stanislaus II Augustus, that one of the first Polish operas was staged. It was a three-act singspiel with the graceful title Agatka, czyli Przyjazd Pana (“Agatha, or the Master’s Arrival”). The libretto was prepared by Maciej Radziwiłł, while the authorship of the music in galant style is attributed to the Nesvizh bandmaster Jan Dawid Holland, although researchers sometimes point to another bandmaster employed by Radziwiłł – Alessandro Danesi.
This love story takes place in a rural environment, where two suitors – Agatka’s beloved Antek Całka and Antek Gajdak, supported by the starost Pijaszka are trying to win the title character’s hand. The tension is resolved only by the arrival of the good master, who arbitrates the dispute fairly. The plot is guided by one of the primary principles of the Enlightenment, which assumed a responsible attitude and a full understanding of social order by the representatives of various classes. The importance of the topic and the success of the performance can be proved not only by the testimonies of an overwhelming number of spectators willing to watch the premiere of the production preserved in the chronicles, but also by the fact that the following year, the work was shown in Warsaw, and later also in Lviv.
AGATKA JULITA MIROSŁAWSKA
ANTEK CAŁKA SYLWESTER SMULCZYŃSKI
PLOCIUCHOWA DOROTA LACHOWICZ
PIJASZKO MIROSŁAW BORCZYŃSKI
DBALSKI WITOLD ŻOŁĄDKIEWICZ
WALENTY PIOTR CHWEDOROWICZ
ANTEK GAJDAK ROBERT SZPRĘGIEL
STACH PAWEŁ KOWALEWSKI
MACIEK GRZEGORZ ŻOŁYNIAK
MASTER BOGDAN ŚLIWA
CONDUCTOR MAREK TOPOROWSKI
Duration: approx. 1 h 35 min
The seats in the auditorium are not numbered.
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