Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

Drama in Verona

Saturday, December 26th, 2009

The lovers from Verona, Romeo and Juliet, have returned to us after an eight-year hiatus. Opera Circle first presented this tragic love story in 2001. The current production was performed twice: November 6 and 8, 2009, at St. Stanislaus Church. The story that inspired Shakespeare has taken on countless forms all over the world—after all, everyone knows it. It has been presented as a theatrical drama as well as in musical versions by numerous composers. Prokofiev wrote an ingenious ballet, Tchaikovsky an orchestral poem, while Gounod and Bellini created operatic versions. (more…)

Gaetano Donizetti & his Linda

Thursday, April 5th, 2007

Whenever I set out to describe a work presented by Opera Circle, I feel somewhat anxious. I doubt if I will be able to accomplish the task, whether I will sufficiently represent the composer and his work, whether I will grant enough credit to the tremendous dedication of the Sobieski family in such an endeavor…

My preference would be to share a brief commentary along with a colorful DVD, since it is truly impossible to express in words the entire artistic aura created by the sets, the costumes, the soloists, the choir, and, of course, the music as performed by the orchestra. (more…)

My introduction to the Polish American Cultural Center

Monday, March 5th, 2007

My introduction to the Polish American Cultural Center came in the form of an exhibition opening.  As part of my job, coordinator of the SPACES World Artists Program at SPACES gallery, I was hosting Polish artist Roman Dziadkiewicz.  I wanted Roman to learn about Cleveland and to better understand what it means to be part of a Polish community in the United States. Also, he had been forced to speak and write in English for weeks, and we both needed some help. Roman and I were warmly welcomed to the opening of the Polish-Hungarian exhibition, documenting the relationship between the two peoples over many, many years. While Roman found solace in other Polish artists, I was moved by the openness of the Polish Center to welcome another community through its doors. (more…)

Legacy of Adam Grant

Friday, January 5th, 2007

The tragedy of great artists, says Peggy Grant, is that they live only during the time that they work, and when they pass away, their creation dies with them if they have no one to pass on their way of seeing the world.  She never wanted this fate to befall her husband, Adam Grant, and therefore she continues his work in her own special way identifying with his creation, presenting it to the world by traveling to various Polish centers to talk about Adam Grant’s life and art.  He has remained alive in this way and by her side.

We were fortunate to have been visited by Mrs. Grant in the Cleveland Polish American Cultural Center on January 5, to hear her speak about Adam Grant and view his work in a slide show presentation.
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Talents of Polonia

Friday, January 5th, 2007

Several weeks ago, on December 10, 2006, I had a great pleasure to attend a concert “When Stars Collide” at E.J. Thomas Hall in Akron, Ohio.  I decided to spend this beautiful Sunday afternoon by going to the concert at E.J. Thomas Hall for two reasons: I needed to relax in the middle of my difficult exam session, and most importantly, I wanted to hear a young, very promising musician of the Polish origin.

Konrad Binienda (17), a senior at Firestone High School in Akron, appeared as a soloist with the Akron Symphony in the world premiere of his own composition Piano Concerto in e-minor.  When asked before the performance what was his inspiration for writing this concerto, he replied that he began working on this composition just after the departure of John Paul II.  The death of “the Polish national hero,” as he put it, inspired him to write this very beautiful music.  I am writing “beautiful” because this is the only word that comes to mind as appropriate to describe my experience. In this music I heard Zygmunt tolls from Wawel Hills, birds singing over Polish meadows, and all my nostalgia for Poland, albeit I would never be able to paint it with sound like Konrad painted it.  A more experienced ear could easily discern Chopin’s motives woven into the structure of the concerto.  Konrad himself remarked that Chopin has been his icon.
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Magdalena Abakanowicz in Chicago

Tuesday, December 5th, 2006

In Chicago’s Grant Park, work began in November on the installation of an interesting project named “Agora” (from the Greek, “a place of meeting”) by our own Magdalena Abakanowicz. This seems a good time, then, to introduce the artist with a few words here.

Abakanowicz (born June 20, 1930) is one of the most well-known Polish artists throughout the world. For many years, she was one of the main „exports” of Polish culture, representing the country officially on the world stage; she was one of the most often cited artists in promotional materials for Polish art.

Abakanowicz specializes in creating large, figurative, spacial compositions using fabric, stone, wood, and bronze; her compositions have become known as „abakans” from her name. She is a professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Poznań, where she taught classes from 1965 to 1990. Silhouettes of human figures standing in a certain order are a frequent feature of her work. One example is „Nierozpoznani” (The Unrecognized), permanently installed at the Citadel in Poznań. The Chicago Project “Agora” is similar.
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Do You Know this America?

Tuesday, December 5th, 2006

In the fifties, America became wealthier, and, in addition to money, they discovered free time. Time which they devoted to themselves, their families, and their friends. They bought homes and looked to their neighbors to see what was new in their garden and they bought the same grills, the same patio furniture, the same cars, and the same clothes. And, in their homes, they hung the same pictures on the walls.

But it’s easy to spend money. It was also important to show personality and creativity, especially artistic creativity. And a new fad helped: paint by numbers! The idea was a phenomenon. Entire sets were sold: the picture, paints, and brushes. Everyone could match the color with the number and paint those areas with the same number the same color. In this way they painted their own works of art with their own hands.
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International Frederick Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw

Sunday, July 31st, 2005

The 15th Frederic Chopin International Piano Competition will be held in Warsaw on September 23 – October 24, 2005. The competition is one of the oldest and most prestigious music competitions in the world. It belongs to a small group of piano competitions dedicated to the performance of music by just one composer.

The first Chopin Competition was initiated by Jerzy Zurawlew, an outstanding Polish pianist and teacher. It took place on 23-30 January 1927 in the hall of the Warsaw Philharmonic. The next two competitions occurred five years apart, in accordance with the rules of the organizers, up to the start of WWII.

The fourth competition, following the war, took place in the “Roma” concert hall at Nowogrodzka Street, which was the only surviving building capable of serving as a temporary hall for the Warsaw Philharmonic. The year was 1949, the hundredth anniversary of the death of the great composer, and the competition became a culmination of the Chopin’s Year. The next competition was held six years later, in 1955, in the rebuilt hall of the Warsaw Philharmonic, which was promoted to the rank of a national institution. Since 1955, the international competition has taken place in the halls of the National Philharmonic, every five years, without interruption.

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ArtDeco…… Tamara L. – Maria Górska

Friday, April 1st, 2005

Along with many others, I recently had the opportunity to enjoy the stage production of “Tamara L” at the Polish American Cultural Center.  Joseph Hart, the newest member of our editorial team at FORUM, recently reviewed the play.  Because of Eugene Bak’s efforts to bring the Polish theatrical troupe and their play, “Tamara L” to Cleveland, I take the opportunity to convey to our readers some of the interesting history of the twenties, and to tell about one of the fascinating figures at the center of that era. (more…)

Oscar for Polish Composer

Tuesday, March 1st, 2005

Oscar recognized the Polish composer Jan A. P. Kaczmarek this year for his music to the film, „Finding Neverland”.

Jan A. P. Kaczmarek, who has lived for many years in Hollywood, has written the music for many important films. In his opinion, there appear only two or three really good films each year, among the hundreds of mediocrities.
„Finding Neverland” includes many of the elements of a first-rate film. It tells the emotional history of the life of the Scottish writer, James Barrie (1860-1939). Marc Foster, a well-known director with many Oscars already to his name, adopted this theme and engaged many of the greatest Hollywood stars in both leading and supporting roles. (more…)