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Kraków | One of the most important events of the Year of Cyprian Kamil Norwid: premiere of the opera ‘Wanda’ by Joanna Wnuk-Nazarowa

PWMIn the year of Cyprian Kamil Norwid, the PWM Edition and the Kraków Opera together with the Channel 2 of Polish Radio and the Wawel Royal Castle invite you to watch the premiere of the opera Wanda by Joanna Wnuk-Nazarowa to the words of Cyprian Kamil Norwid’s mystery play. The premiere will take place on 10 September 2021 at 8.30 p.m. with the second performance of the play on 11 September on the Arcade Courtyard of the Wawel Royal Castle.

The event is the only so highly ranked undertaking in the Year of Cyprian Kamil Norwid announced by the Sejm of the Republic of Poland on the occasion of the 200th birth anniversary of this poet, writer and playwright. The honorary patronage of the play was taken by the Deputy Prime Minister, the Minister of Culture, National Heritage and Sport, Prof. Dr. hab. Piotr Gliński.

Wanda by Joanna Wnuk-Nazarowa is not only the second finished and staged opera devoted to the legendary Polish ruler worldwide, after Vanda by Antonin Dvořák. It is also the first opera in the catalogue of the composer: the unique musical piece that adapts Norwid’s text to the stage of the opera.

The new opera is an attempt to create an outstanding synthesis of the elements of legends from the ancient history of the city of Kraków, Norwid’s output, cultural contexts of the epoch of Romanticism and, finally, the contemporary music composition, in which rhythm of Polish national dances combined with Proto-Slavic choral singing play the main role. The composer reads Norwid’s values in the contemporary context, encouraging us to give it multidimensional considerations.

The choice of time and place of the premiere of the work is not a coincidence. The Norwid’s mystery play is in fact set at the Wawel Royal Castle and its courtyard. Also there, in the Crypt of the National Poets in the Wawel Cathedral, the symbolic funeral ceremony of Norwid took place twenty years ago, in 2001.

Wanda by Joanna Wnuk-Nazarowa, dedicated to the memory of Jadwiga Halina Gallowa, is also a 70-minute musical work written for large ensemble with solo voices, mixed choir, children’s choir, ballet and symphony orchestra.

The piece was written as part of the "Composing Commissions" programme carried out by the National Institute of Music and Dance.

Justyna Pieszczek-Zadańska

Media patronage: Polish Music Information Centre POLMIC.

Information about the tickets: www.opera.krakow.pl 

”The art of our fourth prophet has been present in my family for years”, - says Joanna Wnuk-Nazarowa. “My mum loved Norwid and in the time of occupation, when she had to move many times, she protected the bulky volume with his works that she had bought before the war. My fascination with Wanda started in the music high school, where Jadwiga Halina Gallowa, an outstanding actress and legendary lecturer at the Theatre School in Kraków, led The circle of the living word. During the classes we worked on the text of the mystery play, I played Wanda. From that moment, I have been bearing this text inside me and I have decided, as a composer raised in Kraków, the place of the event described by Norwid, to interpret it musically”.


MUSIC: Joanna Wnuk-Nazarowa

LIBRETTO: Cyprian Kamil Norwid



STAGE MOVEMENT: Janina Niesobska

COSTUMES: Maria Balcerek


WANDA | Wanda Franek, Agata Schmidt

GRODNY | Tomasz Konieczny, Sebastian Marszałowicz

RYDYGIER/SKALD | Andrzej Lampert, Pavlo Tolstoy

PANNA (MISS) | Zuzanna Caban, Paula Maciołek

Orchestra, Choir, Children’s Choir and Ballet of the Kraków Opera


Co-financed by the Minister of Culture, National Heritage and Sport of Poland.

Co-financed by the Minister of Culture, National Heritage and Sport of Poland from the Fund for the Promotion of Culture as part of the ‘Commissions from the composers’ programme implemented by the National Institute for Music and Dance.

The project is co-financed by the Municipality of Kraków.

The project is implemented as part of the Kraków Culture programme.