Misteria Paschalia 2017


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  • Monday, April 10, 2017 - Monday, April 17, 2017

France as a reference point, staged opera sacra, two programme strands, premieres, international collaborations and new concert venue – this year’s Misteria Paschalia Festival (10-17 April) brings many changes.

Following its revitalised and expanded formula, the festival – traditionally showcasing music of the Holy Week and Easter – focuses on a specific cultural environment and its performance aesthetic. The new chapter in the event’s history opens with France, with Vincent Dumestre, conductor, founder and artistic director of the Le Poème Harmonique ensemble, acting as this year’s Artistic Resident Director. The artist is acclaimed for his stage performances featuring original gestures and conventions, including dazzling spectacles in which music is intertwined with theatre, dance and folk traditions. Dumestre reaches for less well known works and those rediscovered after centuries to best present the world of Baroque: to recreate both the sounds and the atmosphere in which they resounded three centuries ago, and this April he brings his interpretations to Kraków. The two festival strands – the main Vanitas and new this year Tenebrae – introduce the festival audience to Baroque spirituality and sensitivity.


The festival opens with Poland’s premiere of works penned for the Basilica of St Mark in Venice by Claudio Monteverdi, the greatest pioneer of Baroque style in music. The compositions originating from the collection Selva morale e spirituale – Gloria, Dixit Dominus and Salve Regina, intertwined with compositions by other artists from the era, are presented by Le Poème Harmonique and the Russian choir musicAeterna led by Vincent Dumestre (10 April, St Catherine’s Church).

The following day, on 11 April, we will hear Jean Gilles’ Messe des morts, performed in Poland for the first time. The most famous French requiem from the days of the ancien régime surprises with its light and hopeful tone, creating an atmosphere of tender mourning rather than despair. The concert by Polish and French artists under the baton of Skip Sempé, bringing together Capriccio Stravagante and the Capella Cracoviensis choir, resounds at Misteria Paschalia’s new venue: the Church of Corpus Christi.

Holy Wednesday (12 April) brings a special event: a world premiere of Antonio Draghi’s Il terremoto. The composition, penned for the Viennese court and not performed since the 17th century, belongs to a distinctive Baroque genre known as sepolcro, combining the religious nature of oratorios with the stage format of operas. They were performed during the Holy Week at churches, with Christ’s grave forming a part of the stage settings. Vincent Dumestre and Le Poème Harmonique remain true to this tradition. The meeting of Mary, Saint John and Mary Magdalene at the foot of the cross with the titular earthquake in the background will be staged in candlelight in front of the altar of the Church of St Catherine. The Biblical figures are performed by stars of early music including Claire Lefilliâtre and Dominique Visse and young soloists Léa Trommenschlager and Victor Sicard, among others; the French ensemble under Dumestre’s baton is joined by Polish singers and the ensemble Arte dei Suonatori.

The Passion libretto Der für die Sünde der Welt gemarterte und sterbende Jesus by the poet and councilman Barthold Heinrich Brockes, popular in the early 18th century, has had many musical interpretations over the years. Georg Philipp Telemann wrote his Brockes-Passion (named after the author of the text) creating an intense, theatrical composition. It provides a framework for the concert held on Maundy Thursday (13 April, ICE Kraków): the Baroque pasticcio, using music by George Frideric Handel, Reinhard Keiser, Johann Mattheson and Christoph Graupner, has been prepared by the conductor Raphaël Pichon and his Ensemble Pygmalion.

Giovanni Battista Pergolesi composed his Stabat Mater in the final weeks of his life to create one of the most dazzling testaments in the history of music. On Good Friday, we will hear it performed by Julia Lezhneva (soprano) and Anthéa Pichanick (alto). Vincent Dumestre, who leads the soloists and Le Poème Harmonique during the concert at ICE Kraków on 14 April, adds religious songs derived from Neapolitan folk traditions to create a plastic, deeply moving image of religious traditions of southern Italy during the Baroque.

The motif of Mary standing by the cross bearing her dying Son is also interpreted by Luigi Boccherini. His beautiful, albeit not very well known, Stabat Mater is a chamber piece, perfect for the setting where it is performed. On Holy Saturday (15 April), St Kinga’s Chapel, located 110 metres under ground – in Wieliczka Salt Mine, hosts the four-person Le Concert de la Loge ensemble and the soprano Eduarda Melo.

On Easter Sunday, Vincent Dumestre, Le Poème Harmonique and the Capella Cracoviensis choir take us on a journey to the chapel in Versailles which resounded with grands motets written for the Sun King. The royal organist and composer Michel-Richard de Lalande composed around eighty; we will hear four, including Te Deum which accompanied victories, weddings, recoveries from illnesses and anniversaries at the French royal court for many years. The concert MAJESTE! Te Deum et grands motets resounds on 16 April at ICE Kraków – and it’s yet another world premiere held during the festival!

Easter celebrations close with the virtuoso programme Handel – Vivaldi – Telemann: Arie e concerti (Easter Monday, 17 April, ICE Kraków) presenting a range of stylistic nuances, elements of national styles and approaches of individual composers – the incredible opulence we now describe with the short word “Baroque”. We will hear the countertenor David DQ Lee joined by another eminent French group: Ensemble Matheus led by Jean-Christophe Spinosi.


Dramatic texts of antiphons and psalms, candles being extinguished as prayers are said until the very last one whose flame symbolises the dying Christ… The Misteria Paschalia Festival’s new strand Tenebrae recalls the religious celebrations contemplating Jesus’ passion and death. Held during the Paschal Triduum, the nighttime liturgies gave rise to Leçons de Ténèbres, one of the most distinctive sacral music genres of the French Grand Siècle. Today it is difficult to find complete works from the pen of a single composer, so the reconstructed cycle of “Lessons of Darkness” reaches for scores by Sébastien de Brossard, Jean-Baptiste Gouffet, Marc-Antoine Charpentier and Michel-Richard de Lalande. During the moving, candlelit concerts at the Corpus Christi Church we will hear Victoire Bunel and the Le Quadrige ensemble (11 April), Eva Zaïcik and Le Taylor Consort (12 April) and Claire Lefilliâtre and Ensemble Centaurus (13 April). The first two are world premieres, and the latter a Polish premiere.


The Tenebrae strand and the MAJESTE… programme have been prepared especially for the festival by experts from the Centre de musique baroque de Versailles, an academic institution which preserves the heritage of French music of the 17th and 18th centuries. And it isn’t the only prestigious partnership Misteria Paschalia can be proud of: the collaboration with the acclaimed French TV channel Mezzo means the concerts from Kraków are transmitted and re-transmitted to music fans all over the globe. Festival music also traditionally resounds on Polish Radio Channel 2. Still, nothing is a true substitute for hearing (and seeing!) the concerts live – join us for the Misteria Paschalia Festival! (Barbara Skowrońska)


Holy Monday / 10 April 2017, 8pm
St Catherine’s Church

Claudio Monteverdi: Selva Morale e Spirituale (Polish premiere)

Le Poème Harmonique
Vincent Dumestre – conductor

Vitaly Polonsky – choirmaster

Deborah Cachet – soprano
Eva Zaicïk – mezzo-soprano
Cyril Auvity – tenor
Sébasstien Obrecht – tenor
Geoffroy Buffière – bass
Jean-François Lombard – countertenor

*live broadcast by Mezzo

Holy Tuesday / 11 April 2017, 8pm
Corpus Christi Church

Messe des Morts

Jean Gilles: Messe des Morts (Polish premiere)
Michel Corrette: Carillon des Morts
Henry du Mont: Grand Motet: Super Flumina Babylonis

Capriccio Stravagante
Capella Cracoviensis choir
Skip Sempé – conductor

Caroline Weynants – soprano
Marcin Gadaliński – countertenor
Davy Cornillot – tenor
Benjamin Appl – bass

*recording and broadcast by Mezzo

Holy Tuesday / 11 April 2017, 11pm
Corpus Christi Church

Sébasstien de Brossard: Leçons de Ténèbres Pour Le Mercredi Saint (world premiere)

Le Quadrige
Alix Rousselet – first soprano
Victoria Jung – second soprano
Amèlie Raison – second soprano
Victoire Bunel – soprano
Mathieu Boutineau – harpsichord

Holy Wednesday / 12 April 2017, 8pm
St Catherine’s Church

Antonio Draghi: Il terremoto (world premiere)

Le Poème Harmonique
Arte dei Suonatori
Léa Tromenschlager – Beata Vergine – soprano
Claire Lefilliâtre – Madalena – soprano
Jeffrey Thompson – San Gioseffo – tenor
Dominique Visse – Un Scriba – countertenor
Emmanuel Vistorky – Un Fariseo – bass
Victor Sicard – Centurione – baritone
Anna Zawisza – Lume di Scienza – soprano
Helena Poczykowska – Lume di Fede – alto

Marta Wróblewska – soprano
Marcin Liweń – alto
Piotr Gałek – tenor
Andrzej Marusiak – tenor
Andrzej Zawisza – bass
Michał Dembiński – bass
Alexandra Rübner – actress

Vincent Dumestre – conductor
Benjamin Lazar – director, scenography

*recording and broadcast by Mezzo

Holy Wednesday / 12 April 2017, 11pm
Corpus Christi Church

Jean Baptiste Gouffet: Leçons de Ténèbres Pour Le Jeudi Saint (world premiere)

Le Taylor Consort
Alix Rousselet – first soprano
Victoria Jung – second soprano}
Amèlie Raison – second soprano
Eva Zaïcik – soprano            
Justin Taylor – harpsichord

Maundy Thursday / 13 April 2017, 8pm
ICE Kraków Congress Centre, S1 Auditorium Hall

Georg Philipp Telemann: Brockes Passion TWV 5:1

Ensemble Pygmalion
Robin Trischler – tenor (Evangelist)
Joanne Lunn – soprano
Robin Johannsen – soprano
Marie-Claude Chappuis – mezzosoprano
NN – baritone
NN – soloist
Raphaël Pichon – conductor

Maundy Thursday / 13 April 2017, 11pm
Corpus Christi Church

Marc-Antoine Charpentier, Michel Richard de Lalande: Leçons de Ténèbres Pour Le Vendredi Saint (Polish premiere)

Ensemble Centaurus
Alix Rousselet – first soprano
Victoria Jung – second soprano
Amèlie Raison – second soprano
Claire Lefilliâtre – soprano
Philippe Grisvard – harpsichord

Good Friday / 14 April 2017, 8pm
ICE Kraków Congress Centre, S1 Auditorium Hall

Giovanni Battista Pergolesi: Stabat Mater

Stabat Mater (intonation)
Anonyme (Naples): Tarantella
Stabat Mater for three voices (different excepts from the manuscripts from Monopoli and Santoro)
Francesco Durante: Concerto n°1 in F Major
Stabat Mater (plainchant, excerpt from the manuscript from Ostuni)
Giovanni Battista Pergolesi: Stabat Mater (manuscript from Menus Plaisirs du Roy)

Le Poème Harmonique
Julia Lezhneva – soprano
Anthea Pichanick – alto
Serge Goubioud – tenor
Hugues Primard – tenor
Emmanuel Vistorky – bass
Vincent Dumestre – conductor

Holy Saturday / 15 April 2017, 6pm
Wieliczka Salt Mine, St Kinga’s Chapel

Luigi Boccherini: Stabat Mater

Luigi Boccherini: Symphony in B flat major G497
Francesco Corselli: Lamentations for Holy Thursday
Luigi Boccherini: Stabat Mater

Le Concert de la Loge
Julien Chauvin – conductor
Eduarda Melo – soprano solo

Easter Sunday / 16 April 2017, 8pm
ICE Kraków Congress Centre, S1 Auditorium Hall

Michel Richard de Lalande: MAJESTE! Te Deum and Grands Motets (world premiere)

Le Poème Harmonique
Capella Cracoviensis choir
Sophie Junker – soprano
Dagmar Šašková – mezzosoprano
Sean Clayton – tenor
Mathias Vidal – tenor
Benoit Arnould – baritone
Vincent Dumestre – conductor

Easter Monday / 17 April 2017, 8pm
ICE Kraków Congress Centre, S1 Auditorium Hall

G.F. Handel, A. Vivaldi, G.Ph. Telemann: Arie e concerti

Ensemble Matheus
David DQ Lee – countertenor
Laurence Paugam – violin
Alexis Kossenko – recorder 
Jean Marc Goujon – traverso
Jean Christophe Spinosi – conductor, violin



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  • Krakow Festival Office
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