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Stanislaw Moniuszko: Hrabina (The Countess)

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Stanislaw Moniuszko: Hrabina (The Countess)
Stanislaw Moniuszko: Hrabina (The Countess)


Introducing 'The Countess' (1860) ~ an opera in three acts, in a concert version presented here as a World Premiere studio recording on period instruments with Fabio Bondi and Europa Galante. On 7 February 1860, at the Grand Theatre in Warsaw, Stanislaw Moniuszko led the premiere production generating this comment: 'Although a light opera, with immeasurably accessible music [] it contains such marvels [] that one must examine them well, enumerate them and relish them'.

The Countess, nowadays overshadowed by a three-act opera with a libretto by Wlodzimierz Wolski (Halka), was enthusiastically received by the audience, which appreciated both the beauty of the music and the well-observed social critique inscribed in the work, but above all easily caught all the political allusions artfully concealed from the censor in both the words and the music.

As Adam Zawadzki, ever sparing in his words when discussing Moniuszko, wrote in a letter shortly after the premiere: 'The Countess enjoyed unprecedented success'.

This is one of the most interesting, subtle and colourful of Moniuszko's works, one that merits our special attention. The Countess is the composer's only opera (written in Warsaw) about Warsaw, and the second one that he offered the city after moving there.

It is worth relishing this wonderful music, intelligent humour (in both the music and the words: the libretto, including the dialogues, is superb), and all the shades of emotion to which Moniuszko intentionally turns. And, enjoying the experience, considering whether we might not perhaps be dealing with the most interesting, most colourful and most multi-faceted work by the father of Polish national opera.

Performed by a top class ensemble of soloists, Fabio Biondi and his Europa Galante offer us this world premiere recording on period instruments, supported by Podlasie Opera and Philharmonic Choir.

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