A concert performance of “Halka” by Stanisław Moniuszko at Warsaw’s National Opera has inaugurated the yearlong events marking the bicentenary of the composer’s birth.
Saturday’s performance was given by the highly-acclaimed Italian period instruments ensemble Europa Galante under Fabio Biondi. Italian soprano Tina Gorina appeared in the title role, the Brazilian tenor Matheus Pompeu sang the part of Jontek and leading Polish singers took the remaining principal roles, Robert Gierlach (Janusz), Rafal Siwek (Esquire) and Monika Lendzion-Porczyńska (Zofia).
The opera was sung in Italian, in a translation made by Moniuszko’s friend Achilles Bonoldi.
The event coincides with the release of a live CD recording of the work which was made by Europa Galante and the same cast during the Chopin and His Europe Festival in Warsaw in August 2018.
The story of Halka, which is considered one of Moniuszko’s greatest operas, focuses on the tragic love of the eponymous character, the highlander girl Halka, for the nobleman Janusz, who abandons her to marry a woman of his own rank.
The first, two-act version of the opera was premiered in Vilnius on 1 January 1848. A four-act version was premiered in Warsaw ten years later.
A wide range of events is scheduled for 2019 to mark Moniuszko’s bicentenary including performances of some his other operas (The Haunted Manor, The Countess, Verbum Nobile), songs, religious works and chamber compositions.