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English Section

Szymanowski's 'King Roger' staged in Switzerland

02.12.2019 11:30
A new production of the opera 'King Roger' by 20th-century Polish composer Karol Szymanowski premiered in the Swiss city of Bern on Sunday.
Polish composer Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937). Image: George Grantham Bain Collection (Library of Congress) [Public domain]
Polish composer Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937). Image: George Grantham Bain Collection (Library of Congress) [Public domain]via Wikimedia Commons

The staging at the city's Konzert Theater was directed by Ludger Engels. The Bern Symphony Orchestra and the Konzert Theater Chorus were conducted by Matthew Toogwood. The title role was sung by Polish baritone Mariusz Godlewski.

The Polish opera was staged in Switzerland as part of the Culturescapes Polen Festival, which opened in that country in October.

There will be five more performances in the coming weeks (December 3, 12, 15 and 27, and January 12).

King Roger was co-produced by the Warsaw-based Adam Mickiewicz Institute.

Szymanowski, who lived from 1882 to 1937, composed King Roger in 1918, when his family manor house Tymoszówka on Poland’s eastern borderland was set on fire as a result of revolutionary turmoil.

The opera, which is a philosophical tale of sacrifice that people make to preserve their views and spiritual independence, was the composer’s escape into the world of medieval Sicily.

King Roger was premiered in Prague in 1932. Its revival started in the mid-1990s, with British conductor Simon Rattle’s recording of the work. Since then, it has had several highly successful productions, including in St. Petersburg, Sydney and London.