© Krakow Festival Office
Misteria Paschalia – Destination France!

Stars of early music in world premieres, two parallel programmes, a stage version of an oratorio, artistic debuts and finally prestigious international partnerships and new concert venues – that’s the summary of the forthcoming 14th Misteria Paschalia festival, one of the most recognisable European festivals of early music. Join us in Kraków between 10 and 17 April 2017.

Next year the festival takes on a new, expanded and harmonious formula, introducing a programme focused on different cultural circles and aesthetics distinctive of performing early music. The first chapter of the new format takes us to France. During the Holy Week, masterpieces of French and European early music are presented by ensembles, conductors and soloists from France and across Europe. Jacek Majchrowski, Mayor of the City of Kraków, invited Vincent Dumestre, the acclaimed French conductor and founder and artistic director of the ensemble Le Poème Harmonique to perform during the Misteria Paschalia festival once again. The 14th festival also marks the start of a prestigious collaboration with the acclaimed and world-famous French music TV channel Mezzo.

The revised formula of the festival involves inviting prominent resident directors, who will be entrusted with overseeing the programme and its artistic form. "We are pleased that the 14th edition of the festival Misteria Paschalia was prepared under the supervision of the eminent French conductor and instrumentalist Vincent Dumestre. He and his excellent ensemble, Le Poème Harmonique, will play as many as four concerts in Krakow," says Izabela Helbin, Director with the Krakow Festival Office.

Artists invited by Dumestre and his repertoire introduce the powerful influence of the French aesthetic and style on contemporary performance technique. They take the audience on a journey to the French art of gesture of the 17th century and the sensitivities and spirituality of the Baroque period. We present a rich, sophisticated programme revealing links between music, theatre and meditation; masterpieces of French and European music literature of the Baroque era are brought by the most accomplished ensembles, conductors and soloists working today.

The main programme proposal of the festival, i.e. Vanitas (Vanity), will be inaugurated on Good Friday with a Polish première of the unique work by Claudio Monteverdi: "Selva Morale e Spirituale" (April 10, Church of St. Catherine of Alexandria, 8 pm). It is a collection of liturgical works, written by Monteverdi with the Basilica of St. Mark's in Venice in mind. The famous ensemble Le Poème Harmonique, specializing in performing the music of the 17th and 18th centuries, the Russian choir Musica Aeterna and soloists will be led by the festival's resident director, Vincent Dumestre. On Holy Tuesday (April 11, 8 pm), the Corpus Christi Church will host the music of the composers of the French Baroque: Michel Corrette, Marc-Antoine Charpentier and Jean Gilles. One particularly interesting piece is "Messe des Morts" (Requiem), by Jean Gilles, a composer who is little known in Poland. It will be the Polish première of his funeral mass. The performers will be the French instrumental ensemble Capriccio Stravagante and the Capella Cracoviensis Choir, led by the French conductor, Skip Sempé. On Holy Wednesday, the church of St. Catherine will host the world première of the oratorio "Il terremoto" ("Earthquake"), by the Italian composer Antonio Draghi. In addition to the international line-up of soloists, the audience will hear Le Poème Harmonique and the Polish baroque orchestra Arte dei Suonatori, all lead by Vincent Dumestre. On Holy Thursday, the auditorium of the ICE Krakow Congress Centre will host a monumental work of the German composer Georg Philipp Telemann - "Brockes-Passion". Telemann's Passion uses the verse text of a German poet Barthold Heinrich Brocke, popular in the baroque, which is a paraphrase of the threads of all four Gospels. Apart from Telemann, the text was used by G.F. Haendel and J. Mattheson. The Passion will be performed by the acclaimed Ensemble Pygmalion from France, specializing in historical performance. They will be led by Raphaël Pichon, and the Evangelist part will be sung by the British tenor Robin Trischler. The famous "Stabat Mater," by the Italian composer Giovanni Battista Pergolesi, will sound on Good Friday in the auditorium of the ICE Krakow Congress Centre. In addition to Le Poème Harmonique, Vincent Dumestre will lead the best French soloists and the famous Russian soprano, a favourite of the Krakow audience - Julia Lezhneva. Traditionally, the Good Saturday concert will be held in the Salt Mine "Wieliczka", and specifically, in the historic Chapel of St. Kinga, located 101 meters underground. We will hear "Stabat Mater" by the 18th century Italian composer, a master of the style galant - Luigi Boccherini. The work will be performed by the French ensemble Le Concert de la Loge Olympique, specializing in the 18th century music. The formation will be led by its founder, violinist Julien Chauvin, and the soprano part will be performed by the Portuguese soprano, Eduarda Melo.

On Easter Sunday, the outstanding music of the French Baroque composer and long-term director of the orchestra at the Versailles Royal Chapelle, Michel Richard de Lalande, will reign in the auditorium of the ICE Krakow Congress Centre. His "Te Deum" and motets will be performed for the first time ever by Le Poème Harmonique, the Capella Cracoviensis Choir and the international line-up of soloists: Sophie Junker (Belgium), Dagmar Šašková (Czech Republic), Sean Clayton (United Kingdom), Mathias Vidal (France) and Benoit Arnould (France). The artists will be led by maestro Vincent Dumestre. On Easter Monday, at the closing of the festival, (the Auditorium Hall of the ICE Krakow, 8 pm) the most beautiful pieces from famous operas by Antonio Vivaldi and George Frideric Handel will sound during the recital "Arie e concerti." The French Ensemble Matheus, led by the unmatched Jean Christophe Spinosi, will be accompanied by the famous Korean-Canadian countertenor, David DQ Lee.

The second programme proposal will be Tenebrae (Darkness), which is a series of romantic evening concerts (always at 11 pm in the Corpus Christi Basilica), a presentation of the music by French composers, written to the text of Lamentations of Jeremiah. On Good Friday, for the first time ever, Polish audience will hear "Leçons de Ténèbres Pour Le Mercredi Saint" or "Dark Tenebrae," by Sébastien de Brossard, performed by French ensembles: Le Quadriga, and women's choir Athénaïs. What awaits us on Good Wednesday is the world première of "Leçons de Ténèbres Pour Le Jeudi Saint" by Charles de Villeneuve, performed by Le Taylor Consort and the Athénaïs Choir. On the other hand, on Good Thursday we will hear "Leçons de Ténèbres Pour Le Vendredi Saint" by Marc-Antoine Charpentier and Michel Richard de Lalande. The cycle Tenebrae is created in cooperation with the Versailles Centre de Musique Baroque.

Misteria Paschalia in Mezzo

Starting from the 14th edition of the Misteria Paschalia, a prestigious collaboration with the famous French TV channel Mezzo, dedicated entirely to classical music and jazz, kicks off. "It is an honour for us that the Misteria Paschalia festival will be aired on Mezzo. Thanks to live broadcasts, music enthusiasts from around the world will be able to watch the best concerts of the 14th edition of the festival," says Izabela Helbin, director of the Krakow Festival Office. Mezzo will broadcast the opening concert, during which we will hear compositions by Claudio Monteverdi from the collection "Selva Morale e spiritual". Also scheduled are two retransmissions of concerts, on April 12 (oratorio "Il terremoto" by Antonio Draghi) and on April 16 ("Majeste! Te Deum and the Grand Motets" by Michel Richard de Lalande). During the festival, as part of the series Mezzo Voce, Mezzo will broadcast an interview with Vincent Dumestre, and a programme that is a coverage of the Good Week event and presents the sacral interiors of Krakow and the Wieliczka salt mine, and reflects the spirit of Easter.

The festival is organised by the City of Krakow and the Krakow Festival Office.

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