Publisher | Agencja Ars Operae
Catalogue no. | SMP201709
Date | 2017

Don Desiderio | Stanisław Kuflyuk – baritone
Angiolina | Joanna Woś – soprano
Federico | Ondrej Šaling – tenor
Don Curzio | Krzysztof Szumański – baritone
Placida | Vera Baniewicz – mezzo-soprano
Matteo | Sebastian Szumski – bass/baritone
Riccardo | Wojciech Parchem – tenor
Polish Sinfonia Iuventus Orchestra
Choir of Karol Szymanowski Philharmonic in Krakow
Teresa Majka-Pacanek – choirmistress
Krzysztof Słowiński – conductor

Józef Michał Ksawery Poniatowski, an almost completely forgotten composer and great-grandnephew of the last king of Poland, was born in Rome in 1816, and developed his impressive creative career, initially in Italy and later in Paris. Suffice it to say that he is one of only three Polish composers whose works were hosted by La Scala in Milan (the others were the equally forgotten Franciszek Mirecki, and Krzysztof Penderecki). His colourful biography could serve as a screenplay for an attractive film! He became known and loved by demanding Italian audiences as a great tenor, and later also as a composer of twelve operas popular in his time. Other composers, including the great Hector Berlioz, praised his talent. He was also a politician (serving as a senator in France) and diplomat, a trusted representative of Napoleon III in many difficult missions. After the emperor was removed from power, Poniatowski faithfully accompanied him in exile in London. The opera buffa Don Desiderio is one of the early compositions with which the 24-year-old composer conquered the hearts of Italian audiences. It shines with musical humour worthy of Rossini and captivates with its melodic inventiveness characteristic of the bel canto era. It premiered in 1840 in Pisa. The Polish audience admired it at the Municipal Theatre in Lviv in 1878, and a contemporary performance was presented by the Ars Operae Agency in Krakow during the 12th Polish Music Festival in 2016. The performance featured: Stanislav Kuflyuk, Joanna Woś, Ondrej Šaling, Krzysztof Szumański, Vera Baniewicz, Sebastian Szumski, Wojciech Parchem, the Choir of the Karol Szymanowski Philharmonic in Kraków and the Polish Sinfonia Iuventus Orchestra under Krzysztof Słowiński. It was then that the recording was made and the album, released by Ars Operae (with the support of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage), contains a selection of representative fragments of the work. It is worth reminding readers that the Polish Sinfonia Iuventus Orchestra, which is intensively involved in projects promoting forgotten Polish music, has also recently taken part in the performance of another of Poniatowski’s works, his beautiful Mass in F major (in a concert on the occasion of Independence Day, 11 November 2017, at the Temple of Divine Providence in Warsaw).