Carmina Burana

Classical music

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  • Thursday, March 12, 2020, 6:30 PM

The rousing chorus of O Fortuna opening the masterpiece isn’t just familiar to fans of classical music – its renown extends to metal, pop, hip-hop and countless other genres. It’s also popular with cinemagoers, TV audiences, fans of advertising, sports and video games… Carmina Burana, the stage cantata performed for the first time in 1937, enchants with its powerful music teeming with rhythm and the joy of life. Carl Orff composed it to secular lyrics from a mediaeval manuscript found in the Bavarian Benediktbeuern monastery, which gave name to its Latin title translated as Songs of Beuern. The composer wanted it to be performed following his concept of “theatrum mundi” – a syncretic combination of music, text and movement.

The Kraków Opera embraces the notion: during the premiere of Emil Wesołowski’s interpretation, Orff’s scores are complemented by dazzling costumes, ballet and multimedia, all coming together to form a spectacular performance celebrating life and the world. The soloists recall texts from over eight centuries ago, telling about twists of fate, the transience of being, the joy of spring, love’s delight and the pleasures and pitfalls of feasting, boozing and gambling – none of which are any less pertinent today. Just as the O Fortuna chorus, which is reprised in the finale, forewarning against the unpredictable whims of the Roman goddess, whose capriciousness delivers good and bad luck, power and poverty, victories and defeats… (Barbara Skowrońska)

Composer: Carl Orff
Direction, choreography: Emil Wesołowski
Musical direction: Tomasz Tokarczyk
Set design and costumes: Bożena Pędziwiatr
Premiere: 27 April 2018



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