‘It’s easy to stage a revolution when you know nothing,’ says Mariusz Treliński, now the respected winner of an ‘operatic Oscar’, recalling his proper opera debut and acknowledging the impact he had on the transformation of contemporary opera language. He transitioned from film equipped with cinematic narration and raised his hand on opera, which he considered ‘pretentious, bourgeois, irritating, and pandering to poor tastes’. Although Treliński claims that he was ignorant about opera as a young director, that was not really the case: his first film, Farewell to Autumn, based on Witkiewicz’s novel and matching the original’s quality, dazzled with the operatic scale of staging, set design, and the dandy way it flirted with the artificiality of its constraints on which music theatre thrives. Any accusations of Treliński’s musical ignorance are also hugely exaggerated, considering that he illustrated homoerotic antics of the film’s protagonists with Nemorino’s aria from Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore. That’s enough to suspect that Ciociosan meant for him more than the supermarket brand of Bulgarian vermouth. Setting out to stage the Puccini classic together with set designer Boris Kudlička, Treliński strived for minimalism and stripping Madame Butterfly of its Japanese-style kitsch. Thus, paradoxically, lying at the origins of the greatest Polish opera career of this century was the desire to bring the means of operatic expression to a bare minimum. It is a great, canonic production. The first choice for opera beginners and a favourite with advanced opera lovers.
Premiere of this production: 29 May 1999, Polish National Opera, Teatr Wielki, Warsaw
Patrick Fournillier Conductor
Mariusz Treliński Director
Boris Kudlička Set Designer
Paweł Grabarczyk Costume Designer
Magdalena Tesławska Costume Designer
Emil Wesołowski Choreography