The vratislavia Cantans festival opened in Wroclaw, South-West of Poland, on Friday, with a concert version of the Opera king Roger by Karol Szymanowski.
The Orchestra of the National Music Forum was conducted by Jacek Kasprzyk and the title part was sung by the internationally-renowned Polish baritone Mariusz Kwiecień. In previous years, he has appeared as King Roger in many prestigious venues, including the Royal Opera House in London.
The motto of this year’s event, “Liberation”, refers to the centenary of Poland’s regained independence.
Andrzej Kosendiak, the director of the National Music Forum, which organises the festival, has said: “We want to remember those who made Poland independent”, adding: “Our motto also refers to freedom in both social and individual terms. Music has always been a space of freedom.”
The programme of the festival includes sacred music by Marcin Józef Żebrowski, the 18th-century Polish composer, a cappella choral works by Henryk Mikołaj Górecki, the opera Madame Curie by the contemporary Polish composer Elżbieta Sikora, Stravinsky’s The Soldier’s Tale, and Schoenberg’s Ode to Napoleon Buonaparte.
The festival ends on September 16 with the performance of Verdi’s Messa da Requiem, conducted by Sir John Eliot Gardiner.
Wratislavia Cantans is one of the oldest music festivals in Poland. Founded in 1966, it is being held for the 53rd time.