Yvonne, The Princess of Burgundy

Soloists, chamber choir and orchestra
1S 2MS 2A 2CT 1T 1Bar 1B-2(picc)222Sax2-2210-batt(2esec) chitt el. fsm ar pf-archi
PWM Kraków

World premiere of concert version: 20th – 21st November 2004, Theâtre Sylvia Monfort, Paris


Under the auspices of Bertrand Delanoë – mayor of Paris, and Lech Kaczynski – mayor of Warsaw

In celebration of the centenary of Witold Gombrowicz’s birthday.


Yvonne – Dominika Kuzniak
King Ignace (bass) – Dariusz Machej
Queen Margareth (soprano) – Magdalena brylak
Pronce Philip (tenor) – Adam Zdunikowski
Chamberlain (baritone) – Grzegorz Pazik
Isabelle – maid of honor (soprano) – Joanna Tylkowska
Cyryl – prince’s friend (contra-tenor) – Michal Wajda Chlopicki
Cyprian (contra-tenor) – Michal Czernikowski
Yvonne’s aunt I (alto) – Joanna Cortez
Yvonne’s aunt II (alto) – Agnieszka Dabrowska
Dame I (alto) – Joanna Cortez
Dame II (alto) – Agnieszka Dabrowska


Polish Radio Orchestra
Andrzej Straszynski – conductor


World premiere: 29th September 2006, National Theatre, Warsaw Autumn


Premiere at the National Opera: 1st February 2007, Warsaw


Producer and Director: Marek Weiss-Grzesinski
Set Designer: Wieslaw Olko
Costume Designers: Gosia Baczynska, Wojciech Dziedzic
Lights: Miroslaw Poznanski


Soloists and Orchestra of the National Opera
Conductor: Andrzej Straszynski


Yvonne: Kinga Preis
King Ignacy: Dariusz Machej
Queen Margaret: Magdalena Barylak
Prince Philip: Adam Zdunikowski
Chamberlain: Artur Rucinski
Isabella: Monika Ledzion
Cyril: Piotr Lykowski
Cyprian: Krzysztof Kur
The first Aunt: Joanna Cortes
The second Aunt: Agnieszka Dabrowska

The City of Warsaw

Libretto: Grzegorz Jarzyna and Zygmunt Krauze after Witold Gombrowicz’s theater play


Yvonne – the main character of the opera, does not say a word. She does not sing nor does she speak. Her silence creates the most fascinating plot which causes rise of tension between Yvonne and other characters. This leads to an absurd murder on the edge of grotesque and surrealism, fulfilled at last after a series of unsuccessful attempts.


Gombrowicz’s drama is ambiguous. The characters and their behavior can be interpreted in different ways. In the opera the music takes the role of an interpreter. I had lots of possibilities to form the situations and picture the characters. I chose the easiest one: not to interpret at all, but to describe the characters with music in the easiest and literal way, which follows the word. I chose this way, because I believe in the strength of classical structure which features Gombrowicz’s play. This way I gave each character a clear direction and created more freedom for the director and singers.


It is hard for me to talk about Yvonne’s music. It took me three months to write the whole opera and everything what this music consists of, comes directly from the words. I hear the music through the words.


Zygmunt Krauze


Order: PWM