Opera Circle’s Musical Marathon at the Center

This never happened before: it took place for the first time and hopefully with many repeats.

The two-day performance of the Opera Circle ensemble will go down in history as a cultural event recorded in gold letters.

On Saturday evening, June 26th, a piano recital featuring Jacek Sobieski took place at the Center. The following day, after traditional dinner was a yet another spiritual feast. All thanks to Dorota Sobieski. This time it was a musical program entitled “Addio!” which ended the Opera Circle’s season for the summer.

First, let us focus on the Saturday piano performance of Jacek Sobieski. He played a repertoire that was ambitious and at the same time interesting.

It began with W. A. Mozart’s three pieces sonnet KV 331. The first part had a wild nature, part two was a minuet, and third – the finale was a popular, once played alone Turkish Marsh. In addition, during this part of the concert the well-liked J. Brachmsa’s waltz was played. At this time, I will like to repeat the words of this piece:

„Behind the forest, behind the mountains, fell strong rain
On a tiny rose bud, small water drop landed so plain
And since that day the world had a rainbow.”

And this rainbow, a wondrous creation of color appears in front of me whenever I hear this piece.

The program also included I. J. Paderewski with minuet a l’antiqua. Jacek Sobieski interpreted the compositions of our great countrymen very similarly to the master himself, whom we can see in documentary movies from 1930s shown on TV Polonia. Those video recordings were produced here in the United States. With pleasure we listened to this minuet with long pauses followed by music, like held breath that is released by the fingers of the pianist.

After the intermission, the Center was filled with the sounds of Chopin. From the wonderful instrument came music that is close to our hearts. Starting with the Polonaise, followed by nocturne, then the dance-like, light waltz, and four mazurs. The concert ended with ballad F-moll.

Listening to the pianist’s interpretation of the subtle, beautiful pieces, I started to wonder how the world’s taste in music has changed drastically. Today, an elegantly dressed gentlemen, well educated, well mannered does not gather large crowds of viewers like he use to. Recitals of I. J. Paderewski in the 1920-1930, during his tours of both Americas, generated great enthusiasm. The master had fame and received large amounts of money. After all, the music has not changed, artists are just as great, but the audience has moved from concert theaters to convention halls where they now applaud new young idols.

Jacek, Thank you for a wonderful evening. You by the piano, and us listening, peaceful inside, left in the presence of beautiful composition.

The recital was dedicated to Barbara and Eugene Bak.

The Sunday concert was an arrangement of many pieces, which with sung text brought on feelings of love. Emotions fully expressed in the words of Moniuszko’s song titled “Love”, and carry out by the Opera Circle.

In a duet from Mozart’s opera “Cosi fan Tutte”, two ladies share with the audience how much in love they are with their fiancés. Soloists, Dorota Sobieska and Agnieszka Duda-Bieniek, sang this piece.

Another piece, to the words of Adam Mickiewicz with the music of Chopin, speaks of love that lasts forever: “Leave my sight! I listen right away. Leave my heart! And the heart listens. Leave my memories! No, this order neither yours nor my mind will obey.”

The Sunday program also featured compositions of Karlowicz, Rachmanin, and the beautiful aria “O mio bambino caro” from Puccini’s opera “Gianni Schicchi” sung by Dorota Sobieska. The applause that followed brought the audience to life. Choral performances from V. Bellini’s opera “Pirate” foretold the presentation of this opera that we will have a chance to see later this year. Next, a different atmosphere filled the room with songs of prayer, the most dominant being “Hymn to the Mother of God” composed by S. Moniuszko.

Program “Addio!” presented the many sides of love, the earthly and the godly. The pieces brought to the audience the feelings of love, sometimes happy and sometimes complicated. This is true evidence of just how many emotions can be expressed with music.

The soloists: Dorota Sobieski (soprano), Agnieszka Duda-Bieniek (mezzo soprano), David Krakowski (bas) and Andrew Ziebro (baritone), also the Opera Circle choir and pianist Jacek Sobieski received many ovations. The costumes in pastel colors, abundant in material with an ethnic style, completed the picture of the whole perfomance. Every scene had a different placement of the singing group, effective and artistic. In the choir, for the last time sang Jadwiga Kozera-Zuckor, who decided to return to Poland permanently with her family. Addio Jadwiga!!!

Great thanks and recognition are offered to the creators and presenters of both concerts. It was a pleasant gathering. We will remember this marathon!!!

Dr. Elzbieta Ulanowska
Translated by Monika Glazar

Forum, 8/2004