Representing artists in the world of opera

Tomasz Konina

opera director and stage designer

Konina is a graduate of the National Academy of Dramatic Art in Warsaw (1996) and the University of Economics in Wrocław (Managerial Postgraduate Studies on Business Management, Institute of Contemporary Management, at the Faculty of Management, 2013).
 

In 2002 he was granted the scholarship of Vilar Young Artists Programme (presently: Jette Parker Young Artists Programme) at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden in London.
 

He made his début in 1998 at the Athenaeum Theatre (Teatr Ateneum) in Warsaw where he directed Chekhov's Uncle Vanya, which was acclaimed „one of the most interesting developments of this stage for a few years” („Rzeczpospolita” newspaper). His directorial opera début, Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro at the Wrocław Opera (1998), was very highly praised by audiences and critics alike. 
 

From 2007 to 2015 he has been the artistic and executive director of the Jan Kochanowski Dramatic Theater in Opole.
 

Selected opera, operetta and music productions

  • 2000 – Rossini's Tancredi, Polish National Opera in Warsaw (with Ewa Podleś in title role, under music direction of Alberto Zedda);

  • 2001 – Boito's Mefistofele, Opera Nova in Bydgoszcz;

  • 2002 – Beethoven's Fidelio, Grand Theatre in Poznań;

  • 2004 – Cilea's Adriana Lecouvreur, Grand Theatre in Łódź;

  • 2005 – Verdi's Macbeth, Grand Theatre in Łódź;

  • 2005 – Lehar's The Merry Widow, Music Theatre in Łódź;

  • 2006 – Verdi's La traviata, Wrocław Opera;

  • 2007 – Be like Callas (based on own scenario), Music Theatre in Łódź;

  • 2013 – Verdi's Falstaff, Grand Theatre in Poznań;

  • 2014 – Boito's Mefistofele, Cracow Opera;

  • 2015 – Strauss's The Gypsy Baron, Grand Theatre in Łódź;[2][3]

  • 2015 – Boito's Mefistofele z Trondheim Symphony Orchestra;

Tomasz Konina directed many plays which had never been staged in Poland before:

  • 2002 – Debussy's Pelléas and Mélisande, Polish National Opera, Warsaw

  • 2003 – Rossini's Il viaggio a Reims, Polish National Opera, Warsaw (with Ewa Podleś as Marchesa Melibea, under music direction of Alberto Zedda);

  • 2005 – Ullmann's The Emperor of Atlantis, Warsaw Chamber Opera[5];

  • 2005 – Bernstein's Candide, Grand Theatre in Łódź;

  • 2010 – Ptaszynska's The Lovers From the Valldemosa Monastery, Grand Theatre in Łódź.

 

In March 2017 he had directed rarely staged G. Verdi’s opera, La forza del destino, the production achieved enthusiastic reception of critics and audiences.

TOMASZ KONINA in Wikipedia

REVIEWS

Event of the season.

„Il viaggio a Reims” Teatr Wielki Opera Narodowa (Polish National Opera) Warsaw

POLITYKA 19.04.03

 

Premiere of the year.

„Il viaggio a Reims” Teatr Wielki Opera Narodowa (Polish National Opera) Warsaw

ŻYCIE WARSZAWY 31.12.03

 

The performance of great European class.

“Tancredi” Teatr Wielki Opera Narodowa (Polish National Opera) Warsaw

ŻYCIE WARSZAWY

 

Outstanding performance.

“Il viaggio a Reims” Teatr Wielki Opera Narodowa (Polish National Opera) Warsaw

RZECZPOSPOLITA 8.04.03

 

The greatest, so far, event of this season on the opera stages in Poland.

„Il viaggio a Reims” Teatr Wielki Opera Narodowa (Polish National Opera) Warsaw

GAZETA WYBORCZA 08.04.03

 

One of the most important, if not the most important, opera successes of the last years in Poland, a clear, intelligent, logical and moving performance. Undoubtedly an outstanding spectacle.

„Il viaggio a Reims” Teatr Wielki Opera Narodowa (Polish National Opera) Warsaw

TRUBADUR 26-27/03

 

One of the most interesting achievements of this stage since a few years.

“Uncle Vanya” Teatr Ateneum in Warsaw

RZECZPOSPOLITA

 

One of the greatest accomplishments of the Polish opera theatre of the last years.

“Fidelio” Teatr Wielki in Poznan

TRUBADUR 23/02

 

Since very long the opera lovers in Poznan have been waiting for such an excellent and theatrically coherent performance.

“Fidelio” Teatr Wielki in Poznan

GAZETA WYBORCZA 22.04.02

 

Unusual event.

„Mefistofele” Opera Nova in Bydgoszcz

GAZETA POMORSKA 31.04-01.05.01

 

Shocking experience, almost moving into tears.

“Pelleas et Melisande” Teatr Wielki Opera Narodowa (Polish National Opera) Warsaw

TRUBADUR 24/02

 

The musical theatre in its best condition.

“Adriana Lecouvreur” Teatr Wielki in Łódź

GAZETA WYBORCZA 26.10.2004

 

All the stages in Poland should envy Łódź “Adriana Lecouvreur”.

“Adriana Lecouvreur” Teatr Wielki in Łódź

RZECZPOSPOLITA 25.10.2004

 

Revealing interpretation.

„Macbeth” Teatr Wielki in Łódź

HAAGSCHE COURANT 10.01.2005

 

Intriguing and timeless stage vision.

„Macbeth” Teatr Wielki in Łódź

EXPRESS ILUSTROWANY 14.02.2005

 

It has been worth waiting so long to let [The Emperor of Atlantis] have this stage shape, which was created by Tomasz Konina.

“The Emperor of Atlantis” Warsaw Chamber Opera

RZECZPOSPOLITA 08.03.2005

 

The perfect work.

“Adriana Lecouvreur” Teatr Wielki in Łódź

GAZETA WYBORCZA 06.05.2005

 

The performance is classic example of how to turn simple means into a maximum result.

„Macbeth” Teatr Wielki in Łódź

HET FINANCIEELE DAGBLAD 15.01.2005

 

Here is a director who knows exactly what he wants.

„Macbeth” Teatr Wielki in Łódź

HAAGSCHE COURANT 10.01.2005

 

Konina chose the path of sincerity. In the first sequences of his production, the story of circus artists, Gypsies and Austrian bourgeoisie was presented with seemingly no interpretation. Nothing was taken with a pinch of salt – circus was circus, taming was taming, and it was hard to sit calmly when one three-beat rhythm followed came after another. But the farther we went, the less we felt like dancing. When we were listening to the aria about how more valuable knickknacks should be hidden when the Gypsies are around… a red lamp began to lit up in our heads. It blinked at first, but then the sign of alarm no longer went out. We could see to which degree Strauss’s operetta is rooted in entertainment based on prejudice and simplifications aimed against elementary human dignity. Konina –by making the audience listen to the lyrics– proved how much the tastes of the bourgeois Vienna of late 19th century had already been a portent of racist actions and derelictions of the following generations of Austrians. He showed the straight way leading from a large part of Viennese operettas to interwar-time cabarets ridiculing the Jews and, finally, to the consent to the Holocaust or even active participation in it. There is no such thing as unpunished entertainment, or one exempt from the rules of reason and order of life – as Konina seemed to argue. In the apparently trite story with elegant music, the director saw a document from the life of a society which did not protest too much when Hitler annexed Austria and which had been sweeping the question of its responsibility for genocide under the carpet for years. Did the audience like Konina’s vision? Its large part booed when, in the waltz The Blue Danube added after the finale, dancers in SS costumes walked on stage. You go to operettas to have fun and not to think, especially not to think about unpleasant things…

 

In The Gypsy Baron, Tomasz Konina used a strategy similar to the one adopted by Thomas Bernhard, when he served disagreeable stories of the then recent past to the audience seated in comfortable seats,  upholstered with red velvet, in the theatres of Vienna. The spectators wanted beautiful, enjoyable shows, and they were forced to watch plays about their grandparents’ Nazi longings… The longings which did not fade out in the least when the war was over. Obviously, I do not think such an interpretation of The Gypsy Baron was the only one possible, but I left Teatr Wielki convinced that I had seen a sincere, intelligent production, important for our discussion on whether there is still life force in the operetta genre.

"Der Zigeunerbaron" Teatr Wielki in Łódź

Piotr Olkusz, http://teatralny.pl/recenzje/jest-operetka-wiec-musi-byc-operetka,1411.html

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