Handel resounded in Łazienki. The 1st Festival of Baroque Operas ended

Brilliant baroque operas, including "Agrippina" and "Orlando" were presented to the guests of the 1st Festival of Baroque Operas "Dramma per Musica", which took place in the Royal Theatre in the Royal Łazienki until 20 September. There were also atmospheric concerts and recitals. Nearly 100 artists, including nearly 40 vocalists, performed for audiences of the Festival.

- I am glad that the Festival drew large audiences, that the public knows that the Festival is taking place, and that there is a group of people who want the baroque music to resound as often as possible in concert venues – says Lilianna Stawarz, who leads the Association of Baroque Art Lovers “Dramma per Musica”, in an interview with the Virtual Museum.

- The audience approached me after the performances and thanked me for organising a musical feast. Such kind opinions fill me with utmost joy - she adds.


The premier of “Orlando” by George Frideric Handel - one of the most brilliant baroque operas - attracted the largest audiences. The musical work, which has never been taken up by a Polish artist so far, has been produced by Natalia Kozłowska.

The guests of the Festival watched it in the renovated interiors of the Royal Theatre in the Old Orangery - one of the few authentic 18th century court theatres preserved in Europe, and the only one of that kind in Poland. Thanks to exceptional acoustics, not only the vocal part resounded beautifully but also the orchestral music.

- I admit that in case of “Orlando” I heard various opinions; on the one hand, I was told that the setting was fabulous, on the other hand, I heard that there was only a forest on the stage and nothing happened. It is difficult to suit all tastes, the most important thing, however, is the fact that the artistic level of the Festival was very high - stressed Lilianna Stawarz.


She added at the same time that considerable interest was raised by the phenomenal - in her opinion - recital of Olga Pasiecznik, which included Handel’s cantatas. - As usually, Olga showed that her great vocal meant an outstanding performance. Moreover, I always admire her dramatic talent which she shares with the characters she plays - states Lilianna Stawarz.

- The Festival venues were also full during the show of Marcello-Teatro Alla Moda and the recital of Kacper Szelążek in the Royal Łazienki (just starting his career as a counter tenor) – she added.

"Agrippina" in the Royal Theatre, fot. Kinga Taukert

The guests of the Festival could also admire eminent singers who perform on European stages, such as Anna Radziejewska, who celebrated her 20-year anniversary of professional career, and also Aleksandra Zamojska, Artur Stefanowicz, Wojciech Gierlach and Artur Janda. In total, nearly 100 artists, including nearly 40 vocalists, performed during the Festival.

- The preparation for the Festival involved a huge effort by many. What was important in my work with signers and instrumentalist was that, in addition to their ability to create art within Handel aesthetics, the musicians were also able to collaborate as a group - told Lilianna Stawarz.

- We felt like a family, we supported and comforted each other in difficult moments, because such moments always come, not only in daily life but in professional life too. You can’t say that everyone has his or her own space to fill in. I am aware that each small part of our individual work is a part of a greater whole. It is very important - adds the president of the “Dramma per Musica” association.

Anna Radziejewska and the director of the Royal Łazienki Tadeusz Zielniewicz, fot. Kinga Taukert

The repertoire of the 1st Festival of Baroque Music included operas, but also oratorios and cantatas. The guests of the Festival could also see “Agrippina” of George Frideric Handel, whose premier took place last year in the Royal Theatre. It was so popular at the time that there were not enough tickets for everyone. As explained Anna Radziejewska, who played the title role of “Agrippina”, the popularity of this work is mainly due to the fantastic libretto. - This is a living theatre, which in an opera, especially in a baroque opera, is not so obvious. It is a story which is played by itself - said Anna Radziejewska.


The Festival venues included the Royal Łazienki, the Royal Theatre in the Old Orangery, and also the Palace on the Isle. Artists performed also on the stage of the Warsaw Chamber Orchestra, in W. Lutosławski Concert Studio of the Polish Radio and at the Warsaw University.

- I am very grateful to the director of the Royal Łazienki Tadeusz Zielniewicz that he thinks long-term about the development of the baroque, classical opera in the Royal Theatre, in the Old Orangery, because it is an ideal place for such ventures. I believe operas may find a permanent place here, and that the Royal Theatre will spread culture around all Europe - says Lilianna Stawarz.

The Royal Theatre in the Royal Łazienki

The “Dramma per Musica” association has already announced that musical attractions will be presented at the next year’s Festival too.

- We will repeat “Orlando”, there will be a recital and also a sacred composition, which I hope to conduct. Moreover, an interesting project by Anna Radziejewska, and also the premier of an Italian 18th c. composer, whose music hasn’t been performed in Poland yet. It will be led by an Italian conductor. It will certainly be a surprise - assured Lilianna Stawarz.