Opéra National de Paris
An opera in four acts. Performance staged in Polish language with English surtitles.
While Fredric Chopin was recognized in France as a cultural ambassador of the oppressed Polish nation, his younger fellow composer, Stanisław Moniuszko, worked in the field of culture in their homeland. Just like Chopin, Moniuszko in his works tried to combine Western European Romanticism with the spirit of the Polish culture. HALKA is without a doubt an example of successful combination of features of Italian, French and German opera with elements typical for Polish folklore and music tradition. Moreover, HALKA, thanks to its patriotic and social significance, became an expression of Polish national identity.
In order to understand this opera story about an abandoned girl, we have to set it in the right context – of a social discord, which at Moniuszko's time led to the bloody Gallician slaughter. Halka is a young woman sustained between two worlds: of the immoral nobility and vengeful highlanders. There are no unambiguously bad or good characters here. It is not a tearful melodrama. It is a cruel parable of human loneliness.