The rarely-performed Cud mniemany czyli Krakowiacy i Górale [An Apparent Miracle or The Cracovians and the Highlanders] is the first example of Polish opera, composed by Jan Stefani to a libretto by Wojciech Bogusławski. Premiered in Warsaw in 1794 to a wild public reception, it was the first Polish work to prominently use folk melodies, dances and customs. Written in a Mozartean style with numerous entr’actes deftly mixing national themes and the entertaining plot centered on the virtues of rural life, it was staged only three times before Russian censorship closed the production. Nonetheless, its impact was clear and lasting on such composers as Maria Szymanowska, Frederic Chopin and Stanisław Moniuszko.
The Bydgoszcz Opera Festival revisited this exciting item in the Polish opera repertoire, presenting it on May 8 on stage at Opera Nova. Performers include the National Dance Ensemble Mazowsze, which celebrates its 65th anniversary this year. More information about the Bydgoszcz Opera Festival at: www.opera.bydgoszcz.pl.