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We know the creators of the opera about the reconstruction of Warsaw

22 of May '23

Can reportage be translated into the language of opera? In February this year, a competition was announced to seek an author of a libretto and music for an opera based on Grzegorz Piatek's book "The Best City in the World."

Published in 2020, Grzegorz Piatek 's book tells the story of the hardships of the post-war reconstruction of Warsaw in 1944-1949. It is the issues of reconstruction, as well as the social, political and architectural contexts that form the canvass of the opera to be created. The project is organized by Sinfonia Varsovia in cooperation with the Grand Theater - National Opera, the „Warsaw Autumn” Festival and the Museum of Warsaw. The winning works were selected by two juries. The musical jury was chaired by Jerzy Kornowicz and the literary jury by Piotr Gruszczynski.

Commissions for a contemporary opera are rare, and the idea of a work with such an epic flair is impressive. The authority of the organizer of the competition, Sinfonia Varsovia, was also a big commitment. We decided on a closed competition, to which we invited the strongest authors of the younger generation writing for theater. In the end, we chose an author who we believe promises a dramaturgically strong and passionate libretto. Ready to support the development of the work, we are very much looking forward to its premiere," says playwright Piotr Gruszczynski, chairman of the literary jury.

awarded in the competition

The literary content of the opera will be supervised by playwright Beniamin Bukowski — co-creator of such productions as "Return to Reims" (Nowy Teatr/Laźnia Nowa), „Staff Only” (Biennale Warsaw) and „Art. Of Living” (National Old Theater in Krakow). Bukowski's concept was appreciated for the multifaceted and synthetic nature of the awarded libretto concept. As we read in the justification:

The reconstruction of Warsaw, seen [by the author] not as a historical event, but as a process, the consequences of which still affect us today. This makes the reconstruction a living event, dramatically reflected in our social and political space [...] Bukowski abundantly inlays his libretto with quotations from documentary statements, which lends a special quality and variety to the language of the libretto.

Beniamin Bukowski

Benjamin Bukowski

photo: Sinfonia Varsovia service

Composer Cezary Duchnowski , a professor at the Karol Lipinski Academy of Music in Wroclaw, and winner of numerous awards, including the UNESCO International Electroacoustic Music Tribune (Rome 2004) and the „Gaudeamus” Contemporary Music Performance Competition in the Netherlands, is responsible for the musical setting.

We chose a work that struck a good balance between artistic and communicative values in front of three, to some extent different audiences: Warsaw Autumn, the Grand Theater — National Opera and Sinfonia Varsovia," points out Jerzy Kornowicz, chairman of the composition jury.

Cezary Duchnowski

Cezary Duchnowski

photo: Sinfonia Varsovia service


The opera is planned for the opening of the 2025/26 season at the Grand Theater — National Opera. The opera, based on the book, is to be staged on the 80th anniversary of the start of the reconstruction of Warsaw. The duration of the composition is estimated to be about 120 minutes.

compiled by Wiktor Bochenek

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