Moniuszko Year launched in Lithuania

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A concert version of Polish composer Stanisław Moniuszko’s opera “Halka”, presented by the Capella Cracoviensis ensemble, chamber choir and Polish soloists, has inaugurated the Moniuszko Year in Vilnius.

The bicentenary of Moniuszko’s birth in 2019 has been included on a list of UNESCO-sponsored anniversaries as a result of a joint initiative by Poland, Lithuania and Belarus.

The father of Polish national opera, Moniuszko was born in Ubiel near Minsk, present-day Belarus, and spent over a dozen years in Vilnius, before settling in Warsaw.

It was in Vilnius that he composed numerous songs, including four Litanies of Ostra Brama (Litanie Ostrobramskie) in honour of the shrine to the Virgin Mary at Ostra Brama Cathedral in Vilnius, a place venerated by Lithuanians and Poles alike.

Marcin Łapczyński, the director of the Polish Institute in Vilnius, which is co-organising the events of the Moniuszko Year in Lithuania, has told Polish Radio that Moniuszko brings together the nations of Poland, Lithuania and Belarus.

The programme of next year’s celebrations in Vilnius includes a concert by choirs from Vilnius University, the State University of Minsk and the University of Technology in Białystok, north-eastern Poland, and an international academic conference on Moniuszko’s musical legacy.

In addition to Halka, Moniuszko’s output includes the operas The Haunted Manor and The Countess, chamber compositions, several hundred songs and religious music. (mk/pk)

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