Goplana

About

‘I prefer silence to music,’ Tadeusz Boy-Żeleński remarked in his Słówka [A Word or Two]. Does this have anything to do with the person of his father, composer Władysław Żeleński? We cannot say for sure. Władysław was expected to become a successor…

‘I prefer silence to music,’ Tadeusz Boy-Żeleński remarked in his Słówka [A Word or Two]. Does this have anything to do with the person of his father, composer Władysław Żeleński? We cannot say for sure. Władysław was expected to become a successor to Moniuszko. He did, but as a teacher of harmony and counterpoint at the Warsaw Conservatoire and not Poland’s national composer. However, his Goplana is a very fine piece, its lyricism showing affinity with Moniuszko’s works. Żeleński wove Polish motifs into the music: the polonaise, kujawiak, mazurka and oberek. He and Ludomił German, who based the libretto on the text of Słowacki’s Balladyna, made this almost Shakespearian drama more like a fairy tale. The protagonist is a goddess of the lake, a fantasy character with a lyrical coloratura voice. However, the tale retains its cruelty: there are three corpses and evil reigns. Director Janusz Wiśniewski has blended everything into the very distinctive world of his rich imagination. His original productions: Panopticum à la Madame Tussaud, Koniec Europy [The End of Europe] and Walka karnawału z postem [The Fight between Carnival and Lent] brought a new tone to Polish theatre in the 1980s.