53. International Wratislavia Cantans Festival

From 7–16 September in Wrocław, classical music lovers are in for a variety of works by Haydn, Verdi or Szymanowski in rendering from the celebrated conductor Sir John Eliot Gardiner and baritone Mariusz Kwiecień.

The 53rd edition of the Wratislavia Cantans Festival is going to explore the idea of liberation. The festival commemorates the centenary of Poland’s regained independence in a broader context. From 7–16 September, classical music lovers are in for a variety of works by Haydn, Verdi or Szymanowski in rendering from the celebrated conductor Sir John Eliot Gardiner and star soloists such as baritone Mariusz Kwiecień and soprano Sandrine Piau. Tickets are available in presale until 31 May.

Wratislavia brings liberation

“This year’s guiding idea recurs in all of our events as liberation is an obvious reminder of Poland’s regaining independence,” admits Wratislavia Cantans Director General Andrzej Kosendiak. However, he goes on to add that the programme itself is far from obvious.

Wratislavia’s Artistic Director Giovanni Antonini explains in a press release published before the announcement of the programme: “Our programme encourages reflection on independence and sovereignty. Do we really want to be free? What do we want to be liberated from? How committed are we to the idea of independence?”

Commencement with Szymanowski’s King Roger

This year’s edition commences on 7 September at the National Forum of Music with a concerto rendering of Karol Szymanowski’s opera King Roger. “The opera delves deep to represent an inner human conflict between the rational and the instincts,” explains Andrzej Kosendiak.

Although Giovanni Antonini, a Milanese by birth and a proud resident of Palermo, knew very little about the Polish opera, he took an immediate interest in its Sicilian setting. “His idea of Sicilian history is totally different, but he enthused with Szymanowski as soon as he started to study his King Roger,” admits Andrzej Kosendiak.

The vocal parts are going to feature the celebrated Metropolitan Opera baritone Mariusz Kwiecień and two wonderful tenors Arnold Rutkowski and Krystian Adam Krzeszowiak. The NFM Orchestra will be conducted by their former Artistic Director Jacek Kaspszyk.

Conclusion with Verdi’s Requiem

The festival is going to conclude on 16 September at the NFM with liberation into eternity, or Giuseppe Verdi’s Messa da Requiem. The audience are in for a stylish performance from the celebrated conductor Sir John Eliot Gardiner, who is going to showcase the project in three European cities, including Wrocław with the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique and the soloists.

Concerts and star performers

This year’s programme is very diverse and yet focused on the idea of Liberation. The highlights include: The Soldier’s Tale by Igor Stravinsky (8 September), sacred works by Marcin Józef Żebrowski, the most significant Polish composer of the 18th century (8 September), a concert featuring once persecuted composers (Webern, Schönberg, 15 September), and Madame Curie, a contemporary opera by Elżbieta Sikora (13 September)

This year’s undisputed star performers include the vocal ensemble graindelavoix (9 September), the regular presence from Il Giardino Armonico, this time round with Paukenmesse by Joseph Haydn (featuring the great soprano Sandrine Piau and tenor Krystian Adam Krzeszowiak, 14 September) and the Ukrainian Dumka Choir (15 September).


The Wratislavia Cantans Festival will be held in a variety of venues across Wrocław, including the NFM, Holy Cross Church, St Elizabeth’s Church, University Church and Oratorium Marianum, but also in other towns and cities in Lower Silesia (a detailed list to be announced shortly).