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SZUKAJĄC LEARA: VERDI [SEARCHING FOR LEAR: VERDI]

Searching for Lear: Verdi is an original piece created by Michał Znaniecki and carried out by the Jutropera Foundation. It is part of the project THE VOICE OF THE EXCLUDED. Its goal is to introduce people who usually have a limited access to culture to the world of theatre and music. Over the years, a series of performances will come into existence, and each will encourage a different socially excluded group to act on stage alongside acclaimed professional artists. The Wroclaw show [Searching for Lear: Verdi] engages residents of social welfare homes run by the Municipal Social Services Centre (MCUS) in Wroclaw to perform together with stars of the opera and the theatre world. Among the lead actors are: Jerzy Artysz (King Lear), Ewa Biegas (Cordelia), Karina Skrzeszewska (Goneril), Marta Mika (Regan) and Wojciech Malajkat (Fool). 

For several months before the July premiere, the senior citizens attended workshops conducted by Zofia Dowjat and Anna Skubik. It was the first presentation of the performance by the small theatre. By contrast, in December, the audience will be able to watch the performance on the stage of The Musical Theatre Capitol, with the participation of the orchestra conducted by Łukasz Borowicz. Moreover, these theatre productions are created in collaboration with selected twin cities of Wroclaw. Also, Searching for Lear: Verdi was previously staged in Buenos Aires (April 2013), in the historical villa of Victoria Ocampo, in order to promote the European Capital of Culture. At that time, artists of Teatro Colón took part in the performance.

 

Shakespearean King Lear, the composer Giuseppe Verdi, as well as the theme of passing and death became the inspiration to choose exactly this social group. Thanks to the participation of elderly people, the project gains additional value and it is intensified by the genuine life experiences and emotions of each contributor, which become a part of the performance. Michał Znaniecki has worked with other marginalized groups, such as residents of hospices, prisons, mental hospitals and orphanages. He has received multiple awards for his achievements in this field.

 

Verdi intended to write the King Lear opera for many years. First indications of the composer’s interest in the Shakespearean character can already be found in 1843. Initially, fascinated by the theme, Verdi worked on a libretto with Salvatore Cammarano, who died in 1852, unfortunately, before he could complete it. Therefore, a librettist Antonio Somma continued the work. Within the space of a few years, two versions of the libretto were created, the second of which was the product of a more detailed cooperation between Verdi and Somma.

 

Verdi intended to write the King Lear opera for many years. First indications of the composer’s interest in the Shakespearean character can already be found in 1843. Initially, fascinated by the theme, Verdi worked on a libretto with Salvatore Cammarano, who died in 1852, unfortunately, before he could complete it. Therefore, a librettist Antonio Somma continued the work. Within the space of a few years, two versions of the libretto were created, the second of which was the product of a more detailed cooperation between Verdi and Somma.

 

The history of the opera’s origins is extremely fascinating. On several occasions, Verdi undertook the challenge and tried to compose King Lear, but each time he abandoned the project. In 1856 he was offered a contract for a composition of the opera based on Shakespeare’s play, however, he did not accept the proposition, and focused his attention on Simon Boccanegra instead. Still, King Lear was present in the life of the composer for a long time. In Verdi’s letters one can discover indications that some of his musical pieces were composed with the King Lear opera in mind. Lastly, in 1896, five years before his death, Verdi handed over the libretto to Pietro Mascagni, then, a young composer. 

 

When looking through Verdi’s oeuvre, many intriguing connections emerge, based on which, a new reading of King Lear has been born today. It is the first attempt to find traces of Verdi’s Lear in the history of the opera and musical theatre. For the bicentenary of the compositor’s birth, we pay tribute to Verdi by creating a theatrical-musical performance grounded in the subject, to which Verdi has never been indifferent.

 

SEARCHING FOR LEAR: VERDI 

 

The premiere: July 20, 7:00 pm

 

Impart 2016 Festival Centre in Wroclaw, ul. Mazowiecka 17 [17 Mazowiecka Street] 

 

July 19, 7:00 pm – dress rehearsal open to the public

 

Director and Screenwriter: Michał Znaniecki

 

Musical Directors: Jacek Kita, Łukasz Borowicz

 

Cast: Ewa Biegas, Karina Skrzeszewska, Marta Mika, Jerzy Artysz, Wojciech Malajkat/Michał Dudziński

 

Choreographer: Diana Theocharidis

 

Costume Designer: Joanna Medyńska

 

Lightning Engineer: Bogumił Palewicz

 

Workshops: Zofia Dowjat, Anna Skubik

 

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