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Paderewski Manru

Director Laco Adamik
Scenografia Milan David
Choreografia Janina Niesobska
Conductor Maciej Figas

Dux 9793 2011 [124 mins]

An important opera which ought now to achieve wide and rightful recognition through this excellent DVD of a notable production in Opera Nova Bydgoszczy, which could (and should) be a model for its overdue GB premiere.

Paderewski (1860 – 1941) was pianist, composer, diplomat, politician, and the second Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland !

The musician is remembered as a phenomenal pianist, but as composer he is best known for a little minuet. Pressure of other demands delayed his ambition to compose an opera, but Manru emerged, to acclaim, in the first decade of the last century.

It is compelling musically, with structural influences of Wagner (and some would say of Tchaikovsly) and it has several magnificent parts for major opera stars to take on. The eponymus hero is torn between two styles of life and experiences rejection from both, reflecting intolerances in wider society.

Manru was widely performed internationally in 1901/1902 but fell into obscurity. This first DVD should revive its cause; see characteristic fragments of this production on-line.

Ignacy Jan Paderewski's MANRU would be an ideal candidate for one of those companies which bring back to life forgotten operas of the past in festival surroundings; Buxton and Wexford come straight to mind. Which'll be first?

Peter Grahame Woolf

For extensive background information, please see review of the first sound recording of Manru, DUX 0368/0369, Polish Radio, Wrocław, 2001 - Robin Lim of Salisbury Recorded Music Society.