FULL FAUST (Radziwiłł) Nieborów 2018 Jacek Szponarski, Agnieszka Grala, Antoni Olszewski
Information on the Performance
- Work Title: Faust
- Composer: Antoni Henryk Prince Radziwiłł
- Libretto: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (fragments).    Libretto Text, Libretto Index
- Venue & Opera Company: Museum in Nieborów and Arkadia, Nieborów, Poland
- Recorded: August 2, 2018
- Type: Staged Opera Live
- Singers: Jacek Szponarski, Agnieszka Grala, Antoni Olszewski, Magdalena Pluta, Rafał Żurek, Karol Skwara, Jan Piasecki, Bartosz Szwaciński
- Conductor: Marta Kluczyńska
- Orchestra: Orchestra "La Scoperta"
- Chorus: Choir "La Scoperta"
- Chorus Master: Lilianna Krych
- Stage Director: Jitka Stokalska
- Stage Designer: Piotr Majewski
- Costume Designer: Katarzyna Bublewicz
Information about the Recording
- Published by: Muzeum w Nieborowie i Arkadii
- Date Published: 2018
- Format: Streaming
- Quality Video: 4 Audio:4
- Subtitles: nosubs
- Video Recording from: YouTube     FULL VIDEO
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ON THIS PERFORMANCE
Due to Prince Antoni Henryk’s strong connections with the Radziwiłł Palace in Nieborów, the performance of the opera Faust in the museum courtyard will be an important event showing a chapter of the history of Polish music unknown to the general public.
The first who dared to provide twenty-five passages of Goethe’s tragedy with a perfectly prepared musical setting was not any German professional composer from circles close to the poet, but a Polish musician – Antoni Henryk Radziwiłł. Prince Radziwiłł’s work, contained in two huge volumes of orchestral score, was fully published by Singakademie in Berlin in 1835 and consisted of as many as 589 pages.
When starting to work on the music, the prince showed great courage. The enormity of the work, its extraordinary emotionality, philosophical depth and originality of form would constitute a great challenge not only for a dilettante, but even for a fully qualified musician. It is therefore not surprising that it took him over twenty years to compose the piece. He probably put his first sketches on paper before 1810, after publishing several fragments of Goethe’s work, and finished them three years before his death.
The governor of the Grand Duchy of Poznań – Prince Antoni Henryk Radziwiłł, was born on July 10, 1775, as the second son of Michał Hieronim Radziwiłł and Helena née Przeździecki, owners of Nieborów and Arkadia. In 1796, he married Princess Louise of Hohenzollern, granddaughter of the King of Prussia, Frederick William I.
The life of the Radziwiłł family took place between the Berlin palace “Hotel de Radziwill” at Wilhelmstrasse 77, Poznań, Antonin and Ciszyca. Art lovers, especially music lovers, but also painters and writers, always gathered in large numbers in their residences. They hosted there, among others: composer Carl Friedrich Zelter, the von Humboldt brothers and architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel. Meetings at the Radziwiłł family’s were honored with weekly concerts with the participation of Prince Antoni Henryk, who played music. He was not only an ardent music lover, but also a cellist, guitarist, singer and composer. He earned a lasting place in the history of art by composing music to Faust by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Visiting the great poet in Weimar, the prince personally presented him with fragments of the score of his opera. Goethe expressed his admiration for the music and even introduced some changes to the text of his drama under its influence. Fryderyk Chopin, who was visiting Antonin, also praised the prince in a letter from 1829, writing about the music to Faust: “I found many things so well thought out, even brilliant, that I could never have expected it from the governor.”
Antoni Henryk Radziwiłł’s opera was created in the years 1808–1832. Although fragments of the music to Faust have been performed many times on various occasions, including: in the palace of Prince Radziwiłł, and they were quite popular, the work was performed in its entirety only on October 26, 1835, i.e. three years after the poet’s death and two years after the composer’s death. This performance became a great event and caused a huge sensation. Radziwiłł’s Faust enjoyed great success not only in Berlin – other cities followed the Prussian capital’s example: Hanover, Leipzig, Gdańsk, Halle, Königsberg, Lüneburg, Potsdam, Prague, Jena, Weimar and Coburg. In 1880, the Polish composer’s opera was presented to the English audience at Hyde Park College. Interest in his work soon crossed the borders of Germany and lasted for a long time, almost twenty years, when Wagner’s music began to reign supreme. Prince Radziwiłł’s brilliant work was also successful in Polish lands. The premiere of the opera took place in the then most famous Warsaw salon of Magdalena Łuszczewska in 1848. The performance gained wide publicity and recognition. “… My mother, seeing the enthusiasm of the Germans not only for the poem, but also for the music, felt, as she said, ashamed and outraged that it was a work by a Pole, and in Poland no one knew it, no one even knew about it!”
At the beginning of the 20th century, Faust was performed in Lviv, and in 1932, fragments were also heard by the audience in Kraków – thanks to the involvement of the composer’s great-granddaughter, Małgorzata Potocka née Radziwiłł. The work was also performed in fragments on Polish Radio in the interwar period, and in its entirety only after World War II. In 2012, the opera was finally performed in Poland in its full version in German.