Giacomo Puccini’s „La bohème”
A staged version of Giacomo Puccini’s La bohème, directed by Adam Zdunikowski, on the 4th of December at 7 p.m., at the A. Szyfman Polish Theatre in Warsaw. Starring Irina Papenbrock, Katarzyna Trylnik, Tomasz Kuk, Stanisław Kuflyuk, the Warsaw University of Technology Choir, the ARTOS Children’s Choir and the Polish Sinfonia Iuventus Orchestra, conducted by Tadeusz Kozłowski.
La bohème – the story of the love of the poor seamstress Mimì, who is suffering from tuberculosis, and the poet Rodolfo, against the background of the tragicomic adventures of a group of young bohemian artist friends – invariably moves generations of listeners. The work is one of the staples of opera canon. The history of the state and phonographic reception of the opera, but it is always admired with the same interest and enthusiasm, because everything in it is beautiful: the dramatically coherent and realistic libretto, literary value, the clearly defined roles, and above all, Giacomo Puccini’s wonderful, moving music, shimmering with a richness of timbres and shifting moods. Audiences have loved the work since its Turin premiere (1896, conducted by a young Arturo Toscanini, who was less than thirty years old at the time), but the opinions of critics were initially divided – not everyone was thrilled with the naturalism of the subject matter, because opera was still expected to be mainly sophisticated entertainment. Even tragic stories needed to have happy ends or at least a lofty moral. But the power of the work turned out to lie in its message, brutally true, because it referred to the real experiences of the circle of friends of French writer Henry Murger who died young and is somewhat forgotten today, who described the life of the starving bohemian artists of Paris with bitter irony in the once-famous novel Scènes de la vie de bohème. It inspired not only Puccini’s librettists (the great literary “duet” formed by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa), but also a number of other dramatists and librettists, although the relatively liberal adaptation in the form of Puccini’s opera has been the most famous adaptation, which has preserved the memory of the literary prototype.
The Polish Sinfonia Iuventus Orchestra, after the success of the concert presentation of Tosca as part of the “Great Music in a Small Hall” series, staged in one of the most architecturally and acoustically interesting interiors of the Warsaw University of Technology, is returning to the idea with another one of Puccini’s masterpieces. This time, the work will be performed in the hall of the Arnold Szyfman Polish Theatre, very adequate for the purpose – this will allow a partially-staged presentation, directed by Adam Zdunikowski. The performance will also feature excellent soloists – Mimì will be played by Russian soprano Irina Papenbrock, who has been developing her career on international stages, especially in Germany; her partner as Rodolpho will be Tomasz Kuk, a renowned soloist of the Krakow Opera, who has also performed with the National Opera and several important theatres in Poland and abroad. Also participating in the show will be the choir of the Warsaw University of Technology, and the spectacle will be conducted by one of the most experienced opera specialists, Tadeusz Kozłowski, who is celebrating forty-five years of artistic work this season. He has served, among others, as art director of the Musical Theatre and the Grand Theatre in Łódź (he prepared over fifty premieres for the latter). He was also art director of the Opera and Operetta in Krakow and music director of the National Opera in Warsaw.
Mimì – Irina Papenbrock (soprano)
Musetta – Katarzyna Trylnik (soprano)
Rodolfo, a poet – Tomasz Kuk (tenor)
Marcello, a painter – Stanisław Kuflyuk (baritone)
Schaunard, a musician – Arkadiusz Anyszka (baritone)
Colline, a philosopher – Wojciech Gierlach (bass)
Benoît, their landlord – Grzegorz Szostak (bass)
Alcindoro, a state councillor – Piotr Nowacki (bass)
Parpignol – Tomasz Madej (tenor)
Choir of the Warsaw University of Technology
ARTOS Childrens’ Choir
Polish Sinfonia Iuventus Orchestra
Tadeusz Kozłowski | conductor
Adam Zdunikowski | director
Giacomo Puccini La bohème (staged version)