Thursday 30 March 2017

WEXFORD FESTIVAL OPERA

STATKOWSKI'S 'MARIA'

Pat O'Kelly

THEATRE ROYAL

Wexford Festival's second opera turns to the Polish repertoire and Roman Statkowski (1859-1925), whose music is virtually unknown here.

First produced in Warsaw in 1906, his 'Maria' has had relatively few performances, so Wexford's revival is breaking new ground.

The story revolves around Count Palatine whose son Waclaw has married Maria, a district governor's daughter. Having planned a nobler union, the count has Maria dispatched before Waclaw kills himself.

The Wexford staging is finely cast with several Polish artists bringing an air of authenticity to Statkowski's nationalism.

Soprano Daria Masiero's vital characterisation of Maria is Act II's focal point. Reunited with her beloved Waclaw -- the superbly heroic tenor Rafal Bartminski -- she offers tender expression and urgent passion.

Darkly hued baritone Adam Kruszewski brings solid personality to Maria's father while bass-baritone Krzysztof Szumanski needs more vocal heft in discharging the sinister depths of the count.

Tomasz Tokarczyk conducts the unashamedly romantic score with tremendous feeling as Wexford's Chorus and Orchestra show the rich tapestry of Statkowski's choral and instrumental colour.

Irish Independent

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