Dariusz Kulesza

After the great success of the debut of “Il Don Bucefalo” at the Baltic Opera in Gdansk in 2020, Massimiliano Caldi goes back to Poland for a great opera production: he will conduct the Orchestra and Chorus of the Podlasie Opera and Philharmonic – in the city of Białystok – between March and April 2023. Via Crucis by Paweł Łukaszewski and Cavalleria Rusticana by Pietro Mascagni will be on stage, directed by Michał Znaniecki.

The Premiere will be on Friday March 3rd, 2023.

Encore performances will take place during all the weekends of March and on April 1st, 2nd, 5th at the European Art Center of Białystok, ending right at the gates of Easter.

The project benefits from the patronage and support of the Italian Cultural Institute in Warsaw.




“Cavalleria Rusticana”, 1890, single act by Pietro Mascagni: one of the most famous and most performed operas of all time. However, despite the fame and fortune that the score has always enjoyed, Maestro Massimiliano Caldi wants to restore it. This has already been the case for about 25 years, since the first time of his approach to this masterpiece of “Verismo”.

About six years ago, when he was invited to write a doctoral thesis by Klaudiusz Baran, Rector of the “F. Chopin” University of Music in Warsaw, Massimiliano Caldi chose this topic: “Cavalleria Rusticana: fidelity to the text or performance tradition?” .

During his research he tried to understand why Mascagni himself had recorded it in 1940, interpreting it so differently (especially in the choice of tempos) from how he wrote it 50 years earlier. Massimiliano Caldi discovered that the only two existing manuscripts (which are located one at the Rome Conservatory and the other at the Stanford Music University in California) presented a longer and different version of the work – also from a dramaturgical point of view – from the one that audiences around the world are used to listen for more than 130 years.

While completing his writings, Massimiliano Caldi came up with the idea of reconstructing Mascagni’s original score just over 130 years later, giving it justice again and making it listen as it came out of the head of the young and talented composer. This will be a project that should take shape in the not too distant future.

The audience of the Podlasie Opera Theater in Białystok will therefore hear the well-known and traditional version of the work on Friday 3rd March (with another 11 performances until Easter) – as already happened in Warsaw in November 2019, when Massimiliano Caldi conducted his concert of Doctorate – free from those old executive traditions that flatten the spontaneity and emotion originally present in the intentions of the young composer from Livorno.

The work will be preceded by another splendid one-act play, “Via Crucis” by Paweł Łukaszewski, one of the most active Polish composers on the world music scene.

Both scores will make use of the brilliant and visionary direction of Michał Znaniecki from Warsaw, a figure well known to European and South American audiences, who will masterfully unite the two compositions in a “unique”, without solution of continuity, as the director himself explains: “Easter will become the key to combining the two titles.” The action of Mascagni’s opera takes place on the morning of Easter Sunday. “Via Crucis” in Łukaszewski’s original version is not only Good Friday and its procession in the footsteps of the last journey of Christ, but also his resurrection. This creates a very important plot for the revolutionary idea of ​​Mascagni, who fought for spatio-temporal realism in the narration of the libretto of the opera. In the staging, characters from Cavalleria can participate in the Via Crucis that precedes the action of Mascagni’s work. Their flirtations, relationships, conflicts and characters will be revealed in the first part of the diptych. The characters will participate as spectators or as actors of Via Crucis. They will meet up front during Friday’s ceremony. This will clarify the plot and lay the foundations for the second part of the evening dedicated to “Cavalleria Rusticana”.

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