Teatr Wielki – Polish National Opera
For more than 170 years the Teatr Wielki (Grand Theatre) in Warsaw has been Poland’s largest opera and ballet institution. Designed by the Italian architect Antonio Corazzi, the theatre was built between 1825 and 1833 in order to host the national opera, ballet and drama companies that were active at that time in Warsaw. As Poland underwent various partitions up to 1918, the institution fulfilled the crucial role of upholding the tradition and cultural heritage of a country that had disappeared from the world map. The company produced works by Polish composers and choreographers. In particular it premiered Stanisław Moniuszko’s operas, among others The Haunted Manor and Halka and after Poland regained its independence, the theatre held the world premiere of Paderewski’s Manru and Szymanowski’s King Roger.
The theatre was completely destroyed during the Second World War, and for twenty years thereafter the companies had to perform on other stages in the city. In 1965 the restored theatre was opened to the public, being at that time one of the most imposing and best equipped theatres in Europe, fitted with state-of-the-art installations and facilities. Now, after almost five decades, it remains a well-equipped modern theatre, catering for the demands of complex and impressive productions. The theatre has two halls: the Moniuszko Auditorium and the Mlynarski Auditorium, with respectively 2000 and 250 seats. It may not be widely known, but the Polish National Opera boasts one of the largest opera stages in the world, with the main stage area together with the proscenium amounting to a total of 1.150 square metres.
Since 2008, Waldemar Dąbrowski, Poland’s former minister of culture between 2002 and 2005, is the general director of the Teatr Wielki – Polish National Opera. Its artistic director is the renowned stage director Mariusz Treliński, whose productions are considered landmarks of the opera repertoire, both nationally and internationally, not only in Warsaw but also in Washington, Los Angeles, St. Petersburg, Tel Aviv, Vilnius and Bratislava.
In March 2009, the world-renowned Polish choreographer Krzysztof Pastor was appointed director of the Teatr Wielki’s ballet company. Under his management, the Polish National Opera’s ballet became autonomous, and as a separate entity, an equal partner of the Polish National Opera.
Today, the Polish National Opera continues to play a leading role in the cultural life of the whole country, as it has for almost two centuries. It perpetuates its tradition of building a repertoire that includes national and world opera masterpieces, as well as modern works; beside large-scale productions it also hosts outstanding chamber opera performances. The Polish National Opera is regularly involved in international co-productions and gives guest performances on stages around the world.
Currently, the management is also developing educational aspects of the theatre’s activities, considering it as an important element of its mission. Many educational projects for young audiences are run, including music mornings and interactive workshops.
Currently the management has made it one of its crucial missions to develop educational aspects of the theatre’s activities. It runs many educational projects for young audiences, like music matinees/mornings or interactive workshops.
The Young Artists’ Programme, also named Opera Academy, is an asset of increasing importance in the life of the Polish National Opera. It caters to young singers, stage directors, composers, set designers, supporting them at the start of their professional career.
The Polish National Opera has joined the enoa network, seeing this as a unique opportunity to contribute to an international framework that supports opera and shapes its future.