Poland, Cracow, „Don Pasquale“ PREMIERE: Good old theater within the new theater.
Mariusz Kwiecień, Grzegorz Szostak. Foto: Ryszard Kornecki
When the management of the Kraków Opera entrusted the work on the chosen opera to an outstanding Polish theater director Jerzy Stuhr, after he familiarized with Donizetti’s work, he declared: „I must follow this theater.“
And we followed him to the premiere to the modern the Kraków Opera House to see great old-fashioned theater.
For me everything was so balanced and with taste.
Grzegorz Szostak, Aleksandra Flood, Mariusz Kwiecien. Foto: Ryszard Kornecki
After an overture played sophisticatedly bythe Kraków Orchestra conducted by Tomasz Tokarczyk (bravo for the whole performance), the protagonist (incredible on that day Grzegorz Szostak) slowly walked on the stage and sang – is there a doctor in the house? And there was. And what doctor – Mariusz Kwiecień, a brand in itself.
When the door closed behind him, the magic of the art and sounds unfolded, and it lasted until the end. These are the moments when we appreciate the spare and stark scenography.
The minimalism of movements, with great importance to the quality of their performance, and perfected arias were the centerpiece of this performance, they created plastic theater with music in the background, a lightweight performance, incredibly pleasant to watch.
The experienced director also built situational humor with his own performance – he played a lawyer who repeats other people’s lines, and runs away from responsibilities in tense situations. Mr. Jerzy – we love you precisely for your responsibility. For the very Norina (charming Aleksandra Flood) whose voice was incredibly subtle and gentle, and for the very lost Ernesto (played by Andrzej Lampert).
Costumes also played a significant role in this performance – they perfectly reflected the characters‘ personalities, and circumstances which the characters were in.
The flawlessly selected clothes and perfected appearance of the doctor indicated a trustworthy person, and the female protagonist’s evening dress made of faux snake skin fabrics wonderfully referred to the male protagonist’s lost paradise, an ideal contraposition to the modest habit from the scene where both characters meet.
Don Pasquale himself, in his two exaggerated outfits, looked like a feckless, tasteless man who yields under the influence of others and can be misled easily.
Andrzej Lampert, Aleksandra Flood, Grzegorz Szostak, Mariusz Kwiecień. Foto: Ryszard Kornecki
The spectacular and fanciful costumes symbolized wasting and spending money on a spectacular scale by the young wife.
Raincoats worn in the final scene only by chosen characters were also significant – they reflectedlife pouring cold water, but not on the old man who wants to marry, but on the plotting coveter who plays with other people’s fate. An intrigue for an intrigue, doctor Malatesta’s short chess game with checkmate at the end.
But there is also good news – Don Pasquale is available again. And the whole theatrical experience may begin again.
It is hard to believe that the composer devoted only 11 days for this work. It’s a must-see.
Iwona Karpińska/ Wrocław