Stanisław Moniuszko

Stanisław Moniuszko (Polish pronunciation: [stãˈɲiswaf mɔ̃ˈɲuʃkɔ]; May 5, 1819, Ubiel, Minsk Governorate – June 4, 1872, Warsaw, Congress Poland) was a Polish and Belarusian composer, conductor and teacher. He wrote many popular art songs and operas, and his music is filled with patriotic folk themes of the peoples of the former Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (predominantly the Poles, Lithuanians and Belarusians).[1]

He is generally referred to as "the father of Polish national opera".[2]

Stanisłaŭ Maniuška. Станіслаў Манюшка (T. Maleszewski, 1865)
Stanisław Moniuszko



Stanisław Moniuszko
Stanisław Moniuszko bust in Gdańsk sculpture by Giennadij Jerszow

Moniuszko was born in Ubiel, Minsk Governorate (in present-day Belarus) in 1819 to a szlachta nobility of landowners from the eastern fringe of the Vilna Governorate of the already partitioned Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, its eastern subject, Grand Duchy of Lithuania. His mother (maiden-name Madziarska) had Polish-Hungarian-Armenian roots.[3][4] Moniuszko displayed an early ability in music, and began private piano lessons with August Freyer in 1827.[5] In 1837, once his talent and interest justified it, Moniuszko began to formally study composition in Berlin with Carl Friedrich Rungenhagen, the director of the "Singakademie" Music Society,[6] who also instructed him in choral conducting. At the same time Moniuszko studied major works of the classical repertoire as well as the process involved in staging music.[4] While in Berlin, he had an unexpected early success when he set three songs to the words of the Polish national poet, Adam Mickiewicz.[7] Several of his songs composed during this period were published by Bote & Bock and were favorably received by the music critics.[4]

Moniushko bust
Bust of Stanisław Moniuszko in Vilnius, Lithuania

After three years in Berlin, he returned to Poland in 1840 to marry Aleksandra Müller. He obtained a post as an organist in Vilnius and also worked as a private piano tutor.[6] He often had to face financial difficulties, especially as his happy married life was blessed with an ever-growing family. The Moniuszkos had ten children and together with the nurses and servants there came a time when 18 people sat down at their table every day.[8] He contributed greatly to music in the local area, staging performances of large choral works such as Mozart's requiem, and excerpts from Haydn's The Creation and Mendelssohn's St. Paul. There were also orchestral performances of works by Spontini, Mendelssohn and Beethoven.[5]

During that time he became acquainted with the novelist Józef Ignacy Kraszewski and playwright-satirist Aleksander Fredro, who stimulated his interest in dramatic music. Around 1840, he began to compose intensively, writing his first operas and several other stage works, as well as sacred music and secular cantatas.[9] At around this time he began work on the collection of songs entitled Śpiewnik domowy (Songbook for Home Use), which came to have wide appeal to Polish public.[4] The first volume of this collection was published in 1843 and over the years the collection grew to 12 volumes containing 267 songs with piano accompaniment in total.

During his lifetime Moniuszko traveled numerous times to St. Petersburg where his concerts were very well received.[4] In St. Petersburg Mikhail Glinka and Alexander Dargomyzhsky showed appreciation of Moniuszko's talent; Moniuszko became a close friend of the latter, and dedicated his Bajka (Fairytale) to him.[10] He also knew Mily Balakirev, Modest Mussorgsky and Alexander Serov,[4] and his style was appreciated by Hans von Bülow.[9] Serov, the young Russian critic of the time, referred to Moniuszko's compositions as "brilliant works".[10] He was the mentor of César Cui. Most crucial to Moniuszko's career was, however, his visit to Warsaw in 1848. He met there Jozef Sikorski, the future editor of the most notable Polish music journal "Ruch Muzyczny" (Musical Movement), Oscar Kolberg a well-known folk song collector, and Włodzimierz Wolski, a poet and future librettist of Moniuszko's best known opera Halka.[8]


In 1848 in Vilnius, he staged and conducted the premiere performance of the first, two-act version of his opera Halka. It took ten years before the political climate cooled enough to be able to perform such a nationalist-themed opera again.[11] After the triumph of his new four-act version of Halka during the Warsaw premiere on 1 January 1858, he toured France, thanks to the help of the pianist Maria Kalergis, where he met Auber and Rossini. After a visit to Berlin, he met Smetana in Prague, who prepared the Prague premiere of Halka, and finally Moniuszko visited Weimar, where he met Liszt.[5] Named after its heroine, Halka, after being shown in two acts in 1848 in Vilnius, was premiered with great success in 1858 in Warsaw in its final four-act form. On that evening the composer, shy and limping slightly, thanked the audience, bowing many times to incessant applause. It was soon later staged in Prague, Moscow and St. Petersburg,[5] where it met with great success.[11]

Miuler house in Vilnius
House in Vilnius where Moniuszko lived, 1839–58

On 1 August 1858 he was appointed principal conductor of the Polish Opera in the Grand Theatre in Warsaw. He wasted no time in staging his opera Flis later that year, and during his 15-year tenure he conducted almost solely his own work.[6] In 1862 Moniuszko travelled to Paris again, hoping to have one of his operas staged there, but this didn't happen.[5] His early return from France, was due to a change in the political climate caused by the January Uprising, which was unfavourable to artistic activity. Moniuszko's composition was affected.[5] In 1864, Moniuszko started lecturing in harmony, counterpoint and composition in the Music Institute in Warsaw, where he also directed a choir. His disciples included, among others, Zygmunt Noskowski and Henryk Jarecki.[6] In 1865, a staging of his Straszny Dwór (The Haunted Manor) enjoyed an enthusiastic reception, and his new opera proved to be a success comparable to that of Halka.[6]

From the success of Halka to other major operatic compositions; Flis (The Raftsman), 1858, Hrabina (The Countess), 1860, Verbum Nobile, 1861, and most importantly Straszny Dwór, 1865. The common trait shared by all these works are librettos that—while depicting Polish nobility and gentry, and sometimes characters of common origins—emphasized Polish customs and traditions, and at the time of national strife, sustained and fostered patriotic feelings.[6] Stanisław Moniuszko died on 4 June 1872 in Warsaw of a sudden heart attack and was buried in Powązki Cemetery. His burial ceremony becoming a national event and his music became widely acclaimed in Poland and generally accepted as a paragon of "Slavonic" music. There is a bust monument built in his honor in the Old Town of Vilnius in the middle of the square of his name.


Cover of Śpiewnik domowy (Songbook for Home Use)

According to Jim Samson in Moniuszko's Grove Music entry, "Like Glinka in Russia, Erkel in Hungary, and Smetana in the Czech lands, Moniuszko has become associated above all with the concept of a national style in opera." Moniuszko's opera and music as a whole is representative of 19th century romanticism, given the extensive use by the composer of arias, recitatives and ensembles that feature strongly in his operas. An exception is Straszny Dwór (The Haunted Manor), where beautifully scored choral parts testify to Moniuszko's mastery of writing for many voices.[10] The source of Moniuszko's melodies and rhythmic patterns often lies in Polish musical folklore. One of the most visibly "Polish" aspects of his music is in the forms he uses, including dances popular among upper classes such as polonaise and mazurka, and folk tunes and dances such as kujawiak and krakowiak.[10] The most notable among his choral works are cantatas Sonety krymskie (Crimean Sonnets) and Widma (Phantoms), composed to the texts of Adam Mickiewicz, the leading poet of the Polish Romanticism. The melodic line of the former is particularly expressive and in parts of the composition takes on the form of variations.[10]

His series of twelve song books, Śpiewnik domowy (Songbook for Home Use), are notable for sheer number as well as quality. Though many of the songs are simple, predominately strophic, some take on a form of dialogues or ballads, and the majority testify to the composer's originality and melodic inventiveness.[4] The source of Moniuszko's melodies and rhythmic patterns often lies in Polish and Belarusian musical folklore; the majority of the texts are those of some prominent Polish poets, of whom many traced their roots from what is now Belarus (where of Litvin origin): Mickiewicz, Pol, Kraszewski, Syrokomla, Lenartowicz, Czeczot, Odyniec,[10] Dunin-Martsinkyevich.[12]

Moniuszko manu signature
Autographed music quotation
Grób Stanisława Moniuszki Stare Powązki
Grave of Stanisław Moniuszko (right), Powązki Cemetery in Warsaw

An English version of Straszny Dwór was created and premiered by the student operatic society at Bristol University in 1970; this version has been performed since, specifically in 2001 by Opera South. The company also presented the world premiere of a specially created new English version of Verbum Nobile in 2002.

Pocket Opera, in San Francisco, produced and presented Donald Pippin's English language version of Straszny Dwór in 2009, and of Halka in 2010.


During his life, Moniuszko was recognised as an important national composer,[13] but after his death, he became revered. From statues,[14] to the names of parks,[15] music competitions,[16] musicians,[17] and institutions[18] the name Stanisław Moniuszko constantly features in Polish society. He has also been featured on stamps,[19] bank notes[20] and other official documents in Poland. The 1,841 seat main auditorium of the Teatr Wielki, where the Polish National Opera is based, is also named after him.

In 1951 Moniuszko's life, particularly his composition of Halka, was portrayed in the film Warsaw Premiere directed by Jan Rybkowski. Moniuszko was played by Jan Koecher.

Since the 1990s Stanisław Moniuszko is being recognized in Belarus as an important figure of Belarusian culture.[21] Moniuszko's operas are regularly performed at the Belarusian National Opera. There is a Museum of Stanisław Moniuszko.[22]

May 5, 2019, on what would have been his 200th birthday, he was honored with a Google Doodle.[23]


Due to the current obscurity of Moniuszko outside Poland, this list more or less represents a complete discography.


The Fryderyk Chopin Institute has the project to present and record several works by S. Moniuszko around the celebrations of his 200th birth anniversary in 2019.


Halka (Front CD) Moniuszko, Matheus Pompeu
Cover of the edition of Halka (Italian version) by The Fryderyk Institute, 2018
  • Halka (2019): Matheus Pompeu (Jontek), Tina Gorina (Halka), Monika Ledzion-Porczyńska (Zofia Sofia), Robert Gierlach (Janusz Gianni), Rafał Siwek (Stolnik Alberto), Karol Kozłowski (Lad Giovanotto). Soloists of the choir: Mateusz Stachura (Dziemba Gemba) Choir of the Podlasie Opera, Europa Galante, conductor: Fabio Biondi. Recorded on 24th August 2018, NIFCCD 082-063
  • Halka: Andrzej Hiolski, Barbara Zagorzanka, Jerzy Ostapiuk, Ryszarda Racewicz, Wieslaw Ochman. Robert Satanowski cond., Polish National Opera Orchestra & Chorus. 2 CDs, DDD, CPO Records, Live (recorded 1987?), 18 January 1995
  • Halka (highlights): Andrzej Hiolski, Edmund Kossowski, Barbara Nieman, Halina Slonicka, Bohdan Paprocki. Zdizislaw Gorzynski cond., Polish National Opera Orchestra & Chorus. CD, Polskie Nagrania Muza, 6 April 1994 (originally 1992)
  • Halka: Harmonia Mundi/Chant du Monde?
  • Halka: Tatiana Zacharczuk, Władimir Kuzmienko, Zbigniew Macias, Katarzyna Suska, Piotr Nowacki. Antoni Wicherek cond., Soloists, Choir, Ballet and Orchestra of The Great Theatre National Opera in Warsaw. DVD, 2h10m, ZPR Records, 1999
  • Halka: Tatiana Borodina, Oleh Lykhach, Aleksandra Buczek, Mariusz Godlewski, Radosław Żukowski, Zbigniew Kryczka, Jacek Ryś, Rafał Majzner, Andrzej Kalinin, Rafał Majzner, Janusz Zawadzki. Ewa Michnik cond., Wroclaw Opera Orchestra, Chorus & Ballet. DVD, 2h16m, subtitles in Polish, English, German. DUX Recording Producers/Metronome, 19 March 2007. Cat. no DVD : DUX 9538, Barcode: 5902547095387
  • Hrabina: Halina Slonicka, Agnieszka Kossakowska, Edmund Kossowski, Kazimierz Pustelak, Bogna Sokorska. Mieczysław Mierzejewski cond., Orchestra & Choir Teatru Wielkiego w Warszawie. CD, Polskie Nagrania Muza, 2004
  • The Haunted Manor: Adam Kruszewski, Iwona Hossa, Jacek Parol, Anna Lubanska, Krzysztof Szmyt, Dariusz Stachura, Piotr Nowacki, Stefania Toczyska, Zbigniew Macias, Romuald Tesarowicz, Agnieszka Zwierko. Jacek Kasprzyk cond., Wielki Theatre Orchestra. 2 CDs, DDD, EMI Classics, Studio, 13 July 2004
  • The Haunted Manor: Bozena Betley-Sieradzka, Wiera Baniewicz, Zdzislaw Nikodem, Wieslaw Ochman, Andrzej Hiolski, Leonard Mroz, Andrzej Saciuk, et al. Jan Krentz cond., Orchestra & Choir of the PRiTV, Kraków. 4 CDs, Polskie Nagrania Muza, 1 January 2003. SX 0253
  • The Haunted Manor: Andrzej Hiolski, Bernard Ładysz, Bogdan Paprocki, Halina Słonicka, Zdzisław Nikodem. Witold Rowicki cond., Orchestra & Choir Teatru Wielkiego w Warszawie. Polskie Nagrania Muza, 1992. PNCD093
  • The Haunted Manor: Bogdan Paprocki, Edmund Kossowski, Antonina Kawecka, Marian Woźniczko, Barbara Kostrzewska, Felicja Kurowiak, Radzisław Peter, Zygmunt Mariański, Henryk Łukaszek, et al. Walerian Bierdajew cond., Poznań Opera. Early 1950s
  • Verbum Nobile: Andrzej Kizewetter, Krystyna Pakulska, Marian Kondella, Jan Czekay, Edward Kmiciewicz. Robert Satanowski, cond., Orchestra & Choir Państwowej Opery. CD, AAD, 1h5m, Polskie Nagrania Muza, 1993. PNCD 247


  • Canons: Krzysztof Szmyt, Pawel Skaluba, Piotr Kusiewicz, Ryszard Minkiewicz. CD, DDD, DUX Recording Producers, 27 March 2001
  • Litanies of Ostra Brama: Czeslaw Galka, Anna Lubanska, Iwona Hossa, Adam Zdunikowski. Henryk Wojnarowski cond., Warsaw Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra. CD, CD Accord, 5 September 2006
  • Religious Songs: Andrzej Hiolski, Jaroslaw Malanowicz, Joanna Kozłowska, Piotr Kusiewicz. CD, DDD, CD Accord, 26 June 2001
  • Religious Works: Marian Sawa, Witold Pilewski, Anna Malewicz, Krystyna Szoslek-Radkowa, Krystyna Szostek-Radkowa, et al. Edmund Kajdasz cond., Warsaw Chamber Orchestra. CD, ADD, Olympia, 4 October 1993
  • Śpiewnik domowy I: Bożena Betley, Alina Bolechowska, Maria Fołtyn, Jadwiga Romańska, Hanna Rumowska-Machnikowska, Halina Szymulska. CD, Polskie Nagrania Muza, 1996. PNCD348
  • Śpiewnik domowy II: Andrzej Hiolski, Bernard Ładysz, Wiesław Ochman, Maciej Witkiewicz. CD, Polskie Nagrania Muza, 1996. PNCD349


  • Opera Overtures: Grzegorz Fitelberg; Jan Krenz; Witold Rowicki cond., Polish Radio Orchestra & Chorus Katowice; Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra. CD, ADD, Olympia, 4 October 1993
  • Overtures: Robert Satanowski cond., Filharmonia Pomorska Bydgoszcz. CD, DDD, CPO Records, 25 January 1995
  • Overtures & Dances: Roland Bader cond., Kraków Philharmonic Orchestra. CD, DDD, Koch Schwann, 21 January 1997
  • String Quartets (w/ Ignacy Feliks Dobrzyński): Camerata Quartet. CD, DDD, DUX Recording Producers, 29 May 2007
  • Новае неба Станіслава Манюшкі: Classic Avantgarde ensemble (Belarus). CD, 2008.
  • Mazur from Act IV Straszny Dwór with Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Witold Rowicki, 1967, Orchestral CDs, CD12/2011
  • Overtures: Antoni Wit cond., Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra. CD, DDD, Naxos 8.572716, 1 January 2014

See also


  1. ^ Аляксей Хадыка, "Станіслаў Манюшка — паляк, літвін..." Archived from the original on July 27, 2011. Retrieved 2013-01-20.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link) Novy, Culture. Retrieved from the Internet Archive, February 18, 2013.
  2. ^,13,4021,0,stanislaw-moniuszko-ojciec-polskiej-opery.html
  3. ^ Jan T. Z. (24 IV 2005) Polscy Ormianie (Вспоминая геноцид Армян. Польские армяне) Archived 2012-03-08 at the Wayback Machine (in Polish) Retrieved February 18, 2013.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g University of Southern California: Polish Music Center |Stanisław Moniuszko Archived 2006-04-10 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved February 18, 2013.
  5. ^ a b c d e f |Stanisław Moniuszko
  6. ^ a b c d e f Polish Music Information Centre |Stanisław Moniuszko Archived 2007-09-26 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ |Stanisław Moniuszko
  8. ^ a b "Stanisław Moniuszko". Archived from the original on October 17, 2004. Retrieved 2013-01-20.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  9. ^ a b |Stanisław Moniuszko
  10. ^ a b c d e f Prominent Poles |Stanisław Moniuszko
  11. ^ a b Polish Art Center |Stanisław Moniuszko and His Operas
  12. ^ «Нацыянальнае, краёвае, мясцовае...»
  13. ^ Teatr Wielki |"Teatralny Square and its environs"
  14. ^ See Stanisław Moniuszko in Wikimedia Commons
  15. ^ Stanisław Moniuszko Park in Poznań
  16. ^ Stanisław Moniuszko Vocal Competition Archived 2007-08-02 at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ Stanisław Moniuszko Mixed Chorus Archived 2007-09-28 at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^ Stanisław Moniuszko Academy of Music Archived 2004-11-08 at the Wayback Machine in Gdańsk
  19. ^ Stanisław Moniuszko stamp (also hosted on Wikimedia Commons at Stanisław Moniuszko)
  20. ^ Stanisław Moniuszko bank note (also hosted on Wikimedia Commons at Stanisław Moniuszko)
  21. ^ Праправнучка Станислава Монюшко: “В Минске должен появиться памятник композитору”
  22. ^ Stanisław Moniuszko Museum, Belarus
  23. ^ "Stanislaw Moniuszko's 200th Birthday". Google. Google. Retrieved 8 May 2019.

External links

Countess (disambiguation)

Countess is the female equivalent of the title Count, or in Britain of the title Earl.

Countess or The Countess may also refer to:

Countess (band), a black metal band

Countess (novel), a novel by Josephine Edgar

Countess (cake)

Countess, Alberta, a community in Canada

The Countess, an opera by Stanisław Moniuszko

The Countess (film), a 2009 film about Elizabeth Báthory

The Countess (American Horror Story), an American Horror Story: Hotel character

The Countess (play), 1999 play

Grand Theatre, Poznań

Grand Theatre, Poznań (Polish: Teatr Wielki im. Stanisława Moniuszki w Poznaniu) is a neoclassical opera house located in Poznań, Poland. It is named after famous Polish composer Stanisław Moniuszko.


Halka is an opera by Polish composer Stanisław Moniuszko to a libretto written by Włodzimierz Wolski, a young Warsaw poet with radical social views. It is part of the canon of Polish national operas.

Halka (film)

Halka is a 1937 Polish musical film directed by Juliusz Gardan and starring Liliana Zielinska, Witold Zacharewicz and Wladyslaw Ladis-Kiepura. It is an adaptation of the 1848 opera Halka composed by Stanisław Moniuszko with a libretto by Wlodzimierz Wolski. It was shot at the Falanga Studios in Warsaw.

Hanna Hipp

Hanna Hipp is a Polish lyric mezzo-soprano.

Hipp trained at the Stanisław Moniuszko Academy of Music in Gdańsk, the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and the National Opera Studio.Hipp was a member of The Royal Opera's Jette Parker Young Artist Programme, and for the 2018/19 season she sings Hansel in Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel.

Jan Koecher

Jan Koecher (1908–1981) was a Polish actor. He played the composer Stanisław Moniuszko in the 1951 film Warsaw Premiere.

Konstanty Andrzej Kulka

Konstanty Andrzej Kulka (born 5 March 1947) is a Polish violinist, recording artist, and professor of the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music in Warsaw since 1994, also heading the Institute of String Instruments there. Kulka graduated with honors from the Stanisław Moniuszko Academy of Music in Gdańsk in 1971. He played over 1,500 recitals internationally, including in the United States, Japan, and Australia. Kulka is a guest performer with the Berliner Philharmoniker, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam, Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra, and Saint Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra. He took part in leading music festivals including in Lucerne, Bordeaux, Flandria, Berlin, Prague, Barcelona, Brighton, and Warsaw.

List of Polish composers

This is a list of notable and representative Polish composers.

Note: This list should contain notable composers, best with an existing article on Wikipedia. If a notable Polish composer is missing and without an article, please add the name here.

List of compositions by Stanisław Moniuszko

This is a list of compositions by Stanisław Moniuszko.

List of public art in Vilnius

This is a list of public art in Vilnius, Lithuania.

1916, 1989: Three Crosses (Lithuanian: Trys kryžiai) was designed by a Polish-Lithuanian architect and sculptor Antoni Wiwulski in 1916. It was constructed in Kalnai Park on the Hill of Three Crosses, in the place where the three wooden crosses used to stand at least since 1636. It was torn down in 1950 by order of the Soviet Union authorities. A new monument designed by Henrikas Šilgalis was erected in its place in 1989.

1922: Bust of Stanisław Moniuszko in a park near the Church of St. Catherine (lt:Vilniaus Šv. Kotrynos bažnyčia) on the Vilnius Street, architect Bolesław Bałzukiewicz. It rests on a pedestal left from the bust to Alexander Pushkin.

1991: Memorial to victims of mass deportations, Naujoji Vilnia neighborhood by the train station which witnessed thousands of victims of Soviet political repressions in Lithuania deported during 1940-1941. It was the last station in the Lithuanian territory on their way to Siberia and Kazakhstan.

2007: a monument to "the Vilnius citizen doctor Zemach Shabad, prototype of the Doctor Aybolit", with inscriptions in English, Yiddish, Lithuanian and Russian, at the crossroads of Lithuanian: Mėsinių g. and Lithuanian: Dysnos g., sculptor lt:Romualdas Kvintas.

Polish Music Publishing House

The Polish Music Publishing House (Polish: 'Polskie Wydawnictwo Muzyczne', abbreviated as PWM) is a music publishing house based in Kraków, Poland. It was founded in 1945 and was the only music publisher in Poland for several years. In 2012 it released the twelfth volume of Encyclopedia of Music, edited by Elżbieta Dziębowska.The Polish Music Publishing House publishes the complete works of Frédéric Chopin, Mieczysław Karłowicz, Stanisław Moniuszko and Karol Szymanowski. The publisher also sells works by Grażyna Bacewicz, Tadeusz Baird, Ignacy Feliks Dobrzyński, Józef Elsner, Wojciech Kilar, Ignacy Jan Paderewski and Kazimierz Serocki in addition to traditional Polish music. It also publishes books, audiobooks, music guides and lexicons.The publisher's hire library in Warsaw lends items for performances and recordings to choirs, ensembles, orchestras and theatres.

Polish opera

Polish opera may be broadly understood to include operas staged in Poland and works written for foreign stages by Polish composers, as well as opera in the Polish language.

The tradition reaches back to Italian language entertainments of the baroque. Romantic opera in Polish flourished alongside nationalism after the partition and is exemplified by the work of Stanisław Moniuszko. In the 20th century Polish opera was exported and composers such as Krzysztof Penderecki wrote operas in other languages (Ubu Rex, Die Teufel von Loudun) that were translated into Polish later.

Tchaikovsky (song)

"Tchaikovsky (and Other Russians)" is a patter song with lyrics by Ira Gershwin and music by Kurt Weill, first performed by American comedian Danny Kaye in the 1941 Broadway musical Lady in the Dark.

"Tschaikowsky (and Other Russians)" is not a song in the normal sense of the term: it is a rhyming list of fifty Russian composers' names, which Kaye rattled off (in a speaking, not singing, voice) as rapidly as possible. At each performance, Kaye tried to break his previous speed record for reciting this song: consequently, it was intended to be recited a cappella (without instrumental accompaniment), as the orchestra could not keep up with him. The performance launched Kaye's career. The original spelling is "Tschaikowsky (and Other Russians)", as Gershwin used the spelling "Tschaikowsky" from the German transliteration (used by German music publishers of the period) in place of the more widely accepted modern transliteration Tchaikovsky.

Several of the "Russian" composers listed in this song are actually Russian-Americans whose names Gershwin altered for the purposes of his lyric. For example, one of the names in the song is "Dukelsky"; this is actually the birth name of Vernon Duke, an American composer of Russian ancestry. Stanisław Moniuszko, Witold Maliszewski and Leopold Godowsky are actually Polish, not Russian, but all three were born in what was then part of the Russian Empire.

Ira Gershwin began his career writing lyrics for his brother George Gershwin. Ira, the more self-effacing of the Gershwin brothers, was concerned that music publishers might think that George had chosen him as lyricist on the basis of nepotism rather than talent, so Ira originally chose to write lyrics under the pseudonym "Arthur Francis" (derived from the names of his other brother Arthur and his sister Frances).

The song was originally a nonsense poem which Ira Gershwin had published in a college newspaper under the name "Arthur Francis" in his student days. Decades later, in his memoir Lyrics on Several Occasions, Ira Gershwin expressed the hope that someone might accuse him of plagiarizing his song "Tschaikowsky" from the collegiate poem, so he could reveal that he and Arthur Francis were the same person.

The Countess

The Countess (Hrabina) is an opera in three acts by the Polish composer Stanisław Moniuszko. The libretto was written by Włodzimierz Wolski (who also authored the libretto of Moniuszko's Halka). The opera was first performed at the Great Theatre, Warsaw on 7 February 1860.

Though the opera is acknowledged as Moniuszko's first fully mature musical composition, the libretto was criticized at first for its use of clichés. Yet the opera became extremely popular thanks to the splendid music (Moniuszko shows great prowess in many sections, e.g. the polyphonic sextet at the end of Act I) as well as the national subject matter (this was only 3 years before the January Uprising), and perhaps also to the incorporation of some popular melodies (like Pojedziemy na łów! in Act III) .

The Haunted Manor

The Haunted Manor (Polish: Straszny dwór) is an opera in four acts composed by Polish composer Stanisław Moniuszko in 1861–1864. The libretto was written by Jan Chęciński. Despite being a romance and a comedy, it has strong Polish patriotic undertones, which made it both popular with the Polish public and unpopular – to the point of being banned – by the Russian authorities which controlled most of Poland during that era.It is considered Moniuszko’s best opera, and also the greatest among all 19th-century Polish opera scores. However, it is mostly unknown outside Poland.

Verbum nobile

Verbum nobile (The word of a nobleman) is a one-act comic opera by Polish national composer Stanisław Moniuszko written to a libretto by Jan Chęciński, and set in 18th century Poland before foreign partitions of the country. It was first performed at the Teatr Wielki, Warsaw, on 1 January 1861 to instant popularity.

Warsaw Premiere

Warsaw Premiere (Polish:Warszawska premiera) is a 1951 Polish historical film directed by Jan Rybkowski and starring Jan Koecher, Barbara Kostrzewska and Jerzy Duszyński. The film's art direction was by Roman Mann. The film portrays the life of the Polish composer Stanisław Moniuszko, particularly focusing on the composition of his 1848 opera Halka. The film was the first Polish costume film made since the Second World War, and was stylistically similar to historical biopics in other Eastern Bloc countries such as Rimsky-Korsakov (1952).

Wiesław Ochman

Wiesław Ochman (born 6 February 1937) is a Polish tenor.

Ochman began learning voice under the direction of Gustaw Serafin in Kraków (1955–1959) and Maria Szłapak in Bytom (1960–1963). In 1960, he joined the Silesian Opera in Bytom, where he sang for three seasons, in 1963 and 1964; and then, at the Opera Krakowska. He performed at the Teatr Wielki in Warsaw from 1964 till 1970. In 1965 he sang the tenor lead Jontek in the "national Polish opera" Halka by Stanisław Moniuszko in the opening performance in the reconstructed Teatr Wielki. He recorded that role and it is now available on compact disc.

Wiesław Ochman began his international career in 1967 with the Opera in Berlin. He sang in Munich and Hamburg. He achieved his first successes in competition at festivals in Glyndebourne and Salzburg. In 1972, he was engaged by the Paris Opera, and consecutively by operas in Chicago and San Francisco. In 1975 with the role of Arrigo in the opera The Sicilian Vespers by Giuseppe Verdi, Ochman made his debut at New York's Metropolitan Opera.

Witold Zapała

Witold Idzi Zapała (born June 5, 1935 in Dziurów, near Starachowice, He currently lives near Warsaw, Poland) is a Polish dancer, choreographer and pedagogue.

For over 60 years, (1957 - 2011) Witold Zapala collaborated with Mazowsze, the Polish Song and Dance Ensemble (Polish: Zespół Ludowy Pieśni i Tańca Mazowsze), for whom he created repertory of dances and folk ceremonies from 43 ethnographic regions of Poland. Zapała was also an originator, director and choreographer of children dance group Varsovia. Zapała got his start at age 16 with the folk troupe Skolimow. He has also trained Polish folk dancers in the United States, and has choreographed the dance sequences for the Polish Opera, Straszny Dwór (Stanisław Moniuszko) in Warsaw.

In October 2011 Wytańczone "Mazowsze" Witolda Zapały, a book about Zapała's career with Mazowsze was published. It was written by a former Mazowsze dancer, Małgorzata Włoczkowska. Witold Zapała is one of Mazowsze's "Legends".

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