Tatiana Borodina (soprano), Aleksandra Buczek (soprano), Mariusz Godlewski (baritone), Andrzej Kalinin (tenor), Zbigniew Kryczka (bass-baritone), Oleh Lykhach (tenor), Rafal Majzner (tenor), Jacek Rys (tenor), Jaroslaw Zawadzki (tenor), Radoslaw Zukowski (bass)
Orchestra, Chorus & Ballet of the Wroclaw Opera, Ewa Michnik
Usually despatched in 4 - 5 working days.
“Even in its final form from 1858 (the original dates from 10 years earlier), Halka is uneven and derivative, but it is precisely its variable quality that makes the work so fascinating. For all the reliance on early-19th-century German and Italian models, one can hear a national operatic language begin to take shape. The plot is straightforward. The engagement party of the noble Janusz is disturbed by Halka, a peasant girl with whom he had fathered a child, now dead. Halka refuses to accept that Janusz has deserted her despite the promptings of Jontek, whose love for Halka is utterly unrequited. As Halka's despair deepens into madness, she contemplates burning down the church in which the wedding takes place but relents; on forgiving Janusz, she drowns herself. Wrocpaw Opera's account, given to mark the 60th anniversary of the company's stage, is full-blooded and vivid. Laco Adamik's sensitive video direction of his own production is a model of clarity, capturing the sweep of the grander passages as well as the more intimate moments. Despite the predominantly monochrome costumes – the aristocrats are mostly in white, the commoners in black – the use of colour throughout is telling, especially in the vivid dance numbers in Acts 1 and 3. The light of the first-act party gradually darkens as Halka's anguish deepens and the action moves back to Janusz's estate. Yet it is in Acts 3 and 4 that Moniuszko's music becomes its most affecting and emotional, in contrast to the superficiality of Stolnik's house. Tatiana Borodina catches the heroine's fluctuating mental states, from radiant joy to dark desperation, with equal force, her voice rich and powerful although showing some strain in the highest passages. Oleh Lykhach and Mariusz Godlewski are excellent as Jontek and Janusz, the latter especially catching the character's vacillation between cowardice and guilt. The company as a whole is excellent and the orchestra is strongly directed by Ewa Michnik. Recommended.”
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