The harsh fate of one of the eminent European paintings by Hans Memling, "The Last Judgement", has become an inspiration for the authors of the opera. The new production presents a mysticism about the origins and significance of the triptych, the struggles of its creator and its audience, who could admire it in different circumstances, historical realities and European cities. The wandering of the image began with the loot that brought him to Gdansk and is now a permanent exhibit. The scene of the Baltic Opera proposes the "final judgment" of Krzysztof Knittel, thanks to the multitude of operatic means, to discover this work in a new context and to bend over the fundamental theme of human life in the context of good and evil.
Sienkiewicz, Matejko, Moniuszko – these are are the three bards at this point in time. Krasiński and Słowacki do not seem to govern the souls anymore. Perhaps Mickiewicz needs to be recognized as well with his unquestionable authority owned to a fact we were all brought up to worship „Pan Tadeusz”. Nevertheless nostalgia of Sarmatia and dreams of the power are still essential for fuelling our national pride. Even Wyspiański or Gombrowicz have not been able to change that. Nor could the luminaries of the Polish People’s Republic. We love our gentry’s traditions, valour, honour, courage and Miecznik when he is listing this code of virtues to Damazy as a necessary conditions to have in order to marry his daughter. I have witnessed more than once how the audience reacted with outrage when a director sneered at this character and staged his aria ambiguously.
However, a dispute with Sarmatia is a basic driving force behind our culture. Almost every Polish artist feels obligated to participate in this discussion. Almost every Polish spectator vividly observes these disputes. Even the generations that seem cosmopolitan and for which our national virtues belong to a junk room in the primary school long in fact for a journey into the past that would enable them to discover their roots. Let’s play it then again here and now with the conviction that this heroic poetry we were brought up upon has its own substantial price that will have to be unexpectedly paid.
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