IGOR STRAVINSKY: OEDIPUS REX

Music

Opera in two acts. Libretto by Jean COCTEAU, Latin translation by Jean DANIELOU. Performed in Polish and Latin with Hungarian and English subtitles.

Saturday 5 October 2013, 7:00 pm

National Theatre, Szeged

Szeged, Vaszy Viktor tér 1.

photo: Katarzyna Zalewska


Director and Choreographer – Jacek Przybyłowicz

Conductor – Grzegorz Wierus

 

Competition roles:

Oedipus – Christophe PONCET (France)

Jocasta – Joëlle CHARLIER (France)

 

Further Cast:

Creon – Jerzy Mechlinski

Tiresias – Andrzej Ogórkiewicz

Shepherd – Piotr Friebe

Messenger – Jaromir Trafankowski

Narrator – Aleksander Machalica

 

WITH:

Szeged Symphony Orchestra and company and ballet of the Poznań Opera House


Set Design – Petra Korink

Costume Design – Paweł Grabarczyk

Shadows and Negatives – Dominik Lejman

Lighting Design – Marc Heinz

Chorus Master – Mariusz Otto

 

Performed in Polish and Latin with Hungarian and English subtitles.

 

 

Christophe PONCET (tenor, France) – Oedipus

After starting tostudy the piano at an early age, he graduated in the prestigious École Normale de Musique de Paris. When his passion for singing took over, he left for the Netherlands, studied at Amsterdam Royal Conservatory, then continued his studies in France with Polish soprano Maria Sartova and Bulgarian baritone Nikolai Handjiev. His thorough musical background as well as his gift for languages account for the scope of his repertoire. He has sung the roles of Rodolfo(Puccini, La Bohême), The Simpleton (Mussorgsky, Boris Godunov), Der Steuermann (Wagner, Der Fliegende Holländer) among others. He has been a guest soloist with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France both in oratorio (Bach, Weihnachts-Oratorium) and opera (Wagner, Tristan und Isolde). In the near future, he will be recording the part of Alfredo in Verdi's La Traviata.

 

Joëlle CHARLIER (mezzo-soprano, France) – Jocasta

She regularly performs as a soloist in the oratorio repertoire with different ensembles. She has also appeared as Jacqueline in Gounod’s Le médecin malgré lui, as La Périchole in Offenbach’s operetta in Kaaitheater, Brussels, in Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges with the Orchestre Philarmonique Royal de Liège, and as Gertrude in Gounod’s Romeo et Juliette. During the 2011–12 season, she made her debut with the Opera Royal de Wallonie as Mary in Wagner’s Der Fliegende Holländer. She also sings the title role in Offenbach’s La Grande Duchesse de Geroldstein with the Brussels Operette Theater. Laureate of the International Singing Competition of Kammeroper Schloss Rheinsberg 2012, she performed the role of Sophie Dorothea in Sigfried Matthus’s opera Kronprinz Friedrich. During the season 2012–13 Joëlle Charlier will make her debut as Blumenmädchen in Wagner’s Parsifal with the Vlaamse Opera. In December 2013, she is going to sing the role of Prince Orlowsky in Strauss’s Fledermaus in Brussels and in Leuven.

 

POZNAŃ OPERA HOUSE

The Poznań Opera House represents more than 100 years of the history of Polish opera. The Theatre building was erected in the early 20th century in the very centre of the city which enjoys an exceptionally rich tradition of musical life and is one of Poland's most important cultural centres. The most valuable productions of the recent years have included the world premieres of such operas as: Electra by Mikis Theodorakis (first performed in Luxembourg) and Slow Man by Nicholas Lens (with a libretto by the Nobel-Prize-winning author J.M. Coetzee), and the Polish premieres of The Gamblers by Shostakovich/Meyer, Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District by Shostakovich, The Devils of Loudun by Krzysztof Penderecki, Salome by Richard Strauss, Parsifal and Tannhäuser by Richard Wagner, and Andrea Chénier by Umberto Giordano. The Poznań Opera House's Company is often invited to take part in various Polish and international music, theatre and ballet festivals: Festival Internacional de Santander, Tanzfestival Bielefeld and Simon-Mayr-Tage – Ingolstadt in Germany, Festival de Carcassonne, Sommerfestspiele Xanten, Bydgoszcz Opera Festival and Cracow's Festival of Polish Music in Poland. Over the years the Poznań Opera House’s ensembles have been conducted by the most prominent Polish and European conductors, including Sigiswald Kuijken, Jacek Kaspszyk, Andrzej Borejko, Wojciech Michniewski, Andrzej Straszyński, Karl Sollak, Andrzej Strugała, Mieczysław Nowakowski, Grzegorz Nowak, Eraldo Salmieri, Mieczysław Dondajewski, Filippo Maria Bressan, Kai Bumann, Tadeusz Kozłowski and Gabriel Chmura, the artistic director of the Opera House.

 

SYNOPSIS

Act I

The Narrator greets the audience, explaining the nature of the drama they are about to see, and setting the scene: Thebes is suffering from a plague, and the men of the city lament it loudly. Oedipus, king of Thebes and conqueror of the Sphinx, promises to save the city. Creon, brother-in-law to Oedipus, returns from the oracle at Delphi and declaims the words of the gods: Thebes is harbouring the murderer of Laius, the previous king. It is the murderer who has brought the plague upon the city. Oedipus promises to discover the murderer and cast him out. He questions Tiresias, the soothsayer, who at first refuses to speak. Angered at this silence, Oedipus accuses him of being the murderer himself. Provoked, Tiresias speaks at last, stating that the murderer of the king is a king. Terrified, Oedipus then accuses Tiresias of being in league with Creon, whom he believes covets the throne. With a flourish from the chorus, Jocasta appears.

 

Act II

Jocasta calms the dispute by telling all that the oracles always lie. An oracle had predicted that Laius would die at his son's hand, when in fact he was murdered by bandits at the crossing of three roads. This frightens Oedipus further: he recalls killing an old man at a crossroads before coming to Thebes. A messenger arrives: King Polybus of Corinth, whom Oedipus believes to be his father, has died. However, it is now revealed that Polybus was only the foster-father of Oedipus, who had been, in fact, a foundling. An ancient shepherd arrives: it was he who had found the child Oedipus in the mountains. Jocasta, realizing the truth, flees. At last, the messenger and shepherd state the truth openly: Oedipus is the child of Laius and Jocasta, killer of his father, husband of his mother. Shattered, Oedipus leaves. The messenger reports the death of Jocasta: she has hanged herself in her chambers. Oedipus breaks into her room and puts out his eyes with her pin. He departs Thebes forever as the chorus at first vents their anger, and then mourns the loss of the king they loved.

 

Igor Stravinskywas a Russian, and later French and American composer, pianist and conductor. He is widely considered to be one of the most important and influential composers of the 20th century. Stravinsky's compositional career was notable for its stylistic diversity. He first achieved international fame with three ballets commissioned by the impresario Sergei Diaghilev and first performed in Paris by Diaghilev's Ballets Russes: The Firebird (1910), Petrushka (1911) and The Rite of Spring (1913). The last of these transformed the way in which subsequent composers thought about rhythmic structure and was largely responsible for Stravinsky's enduring reputation as a musical revolutionary who pushed the boundaries of musical design. His “Russian phase” was followed in the 1920s by a period in which he turned to neoclassical music. The works from this period tended to make use of traditional musical forms (concerto grosso, fugue and symphony). They often paid tribute to the music of earlier masters, such as J.S. Bach and Tchaikovsky. In the 1950s, Stravinsky adopted serial procedures. His compositions of this period shared traits with examples of his earlier output: rhythmic energy, clarity of form, instrumentation and utterance.

 

 

Grzegorz Wierus

Born in 1978 in Olkusz (Lesser, Poland), he graduated with honours at the Music Academy in Cracow in the conducting class of Tomasz Bugaj, and at the Department of Architecture of Cracow University of Technology. Since 2010 he has been working as assistant conductor of the Arthur Rubinstein Philharmonic in Łódź, frequently appearing with the Arthur Rubinstein Symphony Orchestra. He also cooperates with the Ensemble Nostri Temporis (Kiev) and leads the Symphony Orchestra of Moniuszko Music High School in Łódź. In 2009, he co-founded the vocal-instrumental ensemble In Antis Group. He has conducted the Cracow Philharmonic, the Beethoven Academy Orchestra, the Polish Chamber Orchestra in Sopot, the Cracow Music Academy Symphonic and Chamber Orchestras and Choir. In large part, his work involves contemporary and alternative musical, multi-form art projects. Nepelski’s Solaris Electronic Opera, the G.F. Handel-K. Nepelski work Giulio Cesare, the In Antis Group in collaboration with Chorea Theater, Łódź, to name just a few. He has conducted the Ensemble Nostri Temporis projects including Axes (Cracow, 2011), Transit (“Contrasts” Festival, Lviv – Kiev, 2011), Course (Kiev, 2012).

 

 

Jacek Przybyłowicz

A graduate of the State Ballet School and Academy of Music in Warsaw in ballet pedagogy, he began his stage career in 1987 in the ballet company of the Teatr Wielki – National Opera in Warsaw. He has been working abroad since 1991. He was a dancer of the Dortmunder Ballet in Germany for three years. In 1994, he became a soloist of the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company in Israel, one of the best modern dance companies in the world, where choreographers such as Mats Ek, Ohad Naharin, Jiří Kýlian, Daniel Ezralow, and Rami Be’er produce their works. With this company, he appeared at all the major ballet festivals and theatres around the world, visiting close to fifty countries, including Argentina, Brazil, Japan, Canada, Singapore, the United States as well as many European countries, including Poland (Łódź Ballet Meetings). He has also worked with the Batsheva Dance Company. He debuted as a choreographer in 1991, immediately winning first prize for choreography and interpretation at the Second Polish Choreography Competition. He has been working with the Polish Dance Theatre – Poznań Ballet headed by Ewa Wycichowska, designing the ballets The Dove’s Necklace (2003) and Barocco (2004). He has created choreography of three ballets for Polish National Opera: A Few Brief Sequences (2005), Alpha Kryonia Xe (2006) and Szymanowski’s 3rd Symphony "Song of the Night" (2006). Since the artistic season 2009/2010, he has been the Ballet Director of the Poznań Opera House.