News

"Outlook: No Return" exhibition at the POSK Gallery

"Outlook: No Return" exhibition at the POSK Gallery

as part of the Insiders /Outsiders festival

Stephen Ellery writes about Stanisław Moniuszko

Stephen Ellery writes about Stanisław Moniuszko

Opera Now magazine, May issue

UK's Premiere of Moniuszko's Raftsman

UK's Premiere of Moniuszko's Raftsman

Review in Opera Now magazine

Meeting for Members

Meeting for Members

Proposed new constitution for POSK

News

News

Opportunity to take over running of the area currently known as POSKLUB (POSK 4th floor)

'Little Experiment' exhibition opening

'Little Experiment' exhibition opening

See photographs from the opening

In every country, there's music

In every country, there's music

At the last Concert with Coffee we heard a remarkably interesting repertoire performed by a talented duet

UK Premiere of Moniuszko’s Raftsman

Excerpts from Anthony Agus’ review published in Opera Now Magazine

 

When one’s operatic excursion is off the beaten track in two different senses – a rare work in an unknown venue – there are definitely risks involved. But the UK première of Moniuszko’s Flis (The Raftsman) was too tempting to resist since I had enjoyed two other works by this Polish composer, Halka and The Haunted Manor. Admittedly Flis is a one-act piece and its dramatic content is slight; apart from Mozart’s Bastien and Bastienne, I have not encountered a simpler plot. Father wants daughter to marry a socially more acceptable chap (a hairdresser from Warsaw) rather than the eponymous raftsman. The frustrated lover threatens to leave the village to seek out a long-lost brother; and it suddenly turns out that the hairdresser is that brother who, of course, magnanimously relinquishes his claim over the girl. Conventional and flimsy this may be, but Moniuszko’s music turns it into something else. Exuberant and sparkling with charming, lilting melodies and catchy dance-like rhythms, with – when  appropriate – a few harmonically dark touches, it engages the listener in what would otherwise be trite happenings on the stage.

But another question arose. That the work was to be given in the Polish Social and Cultural Association, a community centre in Hammersmith, rather than in a conventional opera house generated some apprehension: would the performers be of sufficient quality to justify a 400 mile round trip? Fortunately, the answer was, Yes. Although there was a reduced orchestra of ten players, they were imbued with the enthusiasm of conductor Stephen Ellery and gave a lively, energetic account of the score. The experienced soprano Ania Jeruc was in her element in the role of Zosia, the daughter. She has the technique to trill her way through the coloratura passages but also the richness of voice to fill out the more passionate utterances. Tomasz Tracz, as her lover, pushed his tenor to an unnecessarily high volume and in consequence the tone hardened. But Przemyslaw Baranek as the Barber sang elegantly and was dapper in appearance and movement. He would do well were he to move from Warsaw to Seville. There were good supporting performances from Marcin Gesla and Lukasz Biela. (…)

Anthony Agus, October 8, 2018


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Fot. Ryszard Szydło