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Marin Alsop Leads Polish National Radio Symphony in Rare, Semi-Staged Production of Penderecki’s Opera The Black Mask, Directed by ENO’s Georg Zlabinger; Marking Late Composer’s 90th Birthday, Performance Streams Live on

(November 2023) — As a high point of her first season as Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, MacArthur award winner Marin Alsop leads the ensemble in a rare, semi-staged performance of Krzysztof Penderecki’s opera The Black Mask on November 23 to commemorate the late composer’s 90th birthday. Directed by Georg Zlabinger, Associate Director of the English National Opera, and featuring the NFM Choir and a large cast of soloists headed by tenor Tadeusz Szlenkier, sopranos Yeree Suh and Joanna Kędzior, and mezzo-soprano Jennifer Johnson Cano, the performance will stream live on as well as being recorded for future video release.

The Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra (NOSPR), Poland’s first independent radio symphony orchestra, makes its home in the city of Katowice. NOSPR has enjoyed close relationships with Poland’s preeminent contemporary composers, including the late Krzysztof Penderecki, who led the orchestra in multiple performances and recordings of his music before his death in 2020. Drawing on Penderecki’s “wide and potent musical vocabulary, which ranges from raw-edged dissonance to a supercharged lyricism” (Washington Post), The Black Mask (1986) tells a story of murder, plague, blackmail and religious conflict that can be understood as “a brutal and complex parable for our times” (Bachtrack). As Alsop explains:

“This opera is a seminal work by Penderecki. It has a bold and ambitious score that captures the essence of the Polish avant-garde.”

The opera’s semi-staged performance is one of the conductor’s five fall and winter collaborations with NOSPR. After launching their partnership in September with the second Szymanowski International Competition Concert, followed by a pairing of Beethoven and Hindemith, she and the orchestra reunite, first for a festive program that concludes with Schumann’s Third Symphony (Dec 14) and then for Gabriela Montero’s “Latin” Piano Concerto, with the composer herself as soloist (Feb 9).

Click here to download high-resolution photos.

Marin Alsop: upcoming engagements with the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra
Nov 23
PENDERECKI: The Black Mask
Livestream at on Nov 23 at 1:30pm ET
With NFM Choir / Lionel Sow
Georg Zlabinger, director
Silvanus Shuller: Tadeusz Szlenkier, tenor
Benigna: Yeree Suh, soprano
Arabella: Joanna Kędzior, soprano
Rosa Sacchi: Jennifer Johnson Cano, mezzo-soprano
Jedidja Potter: Patrick Vogel, tenor
Francois Tortebat: Nathanaël Tavernier, bass
Daga: Ewa Tracz, soprano
Löwel Perl: Tómas Tómasson, baritone
Robert Dedo: Patrick Alexander Keefe, bass-baritone
Plebanus Wendt: Dariusz Machej, bass
Hadank: Mateusz Zajdel, tenor
Graf Ebbo: Remigiusz Łukomski, bass
Gräfin Laura: Magdalena Pluta, contralto
Schedel: Piotr Maciejowski, tenor
Dr. Knoblochzer: Jan Żądło, bass
Schwarzer Tod: Justyna Ołów, mezzo-soprano

Dec 14
COLERIDGE-TAYLOR: Christmas Overture
VAUGHAN WILLIAMS: Fantasia on Greensleeves
James MACMILLAN: Concerto for percussion and orchestra, “Veni, Veni, Emmanuel” (with
Colin Currie, drums)
SCHUMANN: Symphony No. 3

Feb 9
SPISAK: Allegro de Voiron for orchestra
Gabriela MONTERO: Piano Concerto No. 1, “Latin” (with Gabriela Montero, piano)
R. STRAUSS: Ein Heldenleben

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© 21C Media Group, November 2023


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