The Podlasie Opera and Philharmonic—European Art Centre in Białystok combines the functions of an opera house, philharmonic and theatre, while also serving as a venue for other stage productions, exhibitions, conferences and shows. The General Manager of our institution is Damian Tanajewski.
The building, designed by Prof. Marek Budzyński’s architectural studio, looks impressively light in spite of its dimensions, and its transparent form is perfectly adapted to the surroundings. The plant-covered roof, viewing terraces and the green area around the opera create an urban park—a favourite spot for leisure activities and summer observations of the sky. The roof, which features Teresa Murak’s sculpture “Composer’s Head,” is also an ideal place to admire the panorama of Białystok. The building’s interior, made of glass, concrete, steel and wood, is beautifully adapted to the green landscape of the city, combining the chief assets of a traditional opera house with the multifunctionality of contemporary art centres. The space is brought to life by Tomasz Urbanowicz’s enormous glass compositions with transcribed pieces by Krzysztof Penderecki and Jerzy Maksymiuk, among others. The Main Stage auditorium is decorated with sculptures of muses by Dominik Wdowski.
The rich and diverse repertoire of the Podlasie Opera and Philharmonic spans classical operas (“The Haunted Manor,” “La Traviata,” “Die Zauberflöte,” “Carmen,” “La Bohème”), musicals (“Korczak,” “The Phantom of the Opera,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” “Doctor Zhivago”) and operettas (“Die Fledermaus”), as well as symphonic and chamber concerts, oratorios, recitals, interactive shows for children and music festivals. The institution also organizes educational activities, exhibitions, film screenings and popular music concerts.
The Podlasie Opera and Philharmonic strives to reach a broad audience. To this end, the repertoire proper is accompanied by various other activities, such as the International Book Fair, the Long Night of Museums, meet-the-author or meet-the-artist meetings as well as The Phantom of the Opera Fans Convention.
The building additionally serves as an attractive exhibition space, fit for the presentation of various types of artworks. The exhibition programme is consistently structured around music and opera. However, since operatic theatre itself is a synthesis of many genres, our intention was to present a universal panorama of arts and culture. Apart from exhibitions of opera posters, artists’ fans and other valuable theatrical memorabilia, costumes and collections of music instruments, our visitors had the opportunity to admire works by renowned painters (Rafał Olbiński, Franciszek Starowieyski, Nikifor) and the multi-cultural heritage of the Podlasie region. Last but not least, the Podlasie Opera and Philharmonic takes pride in presenting Polish fine art photography. Our Gallery of Photography series has so far featured works by such eminent artists as Edward Hartwig, Wojciech Plewiński, Tadeusz Rolke, Chris Niedenthal and Tomek Sikora.
Cultural education occupies a special place in the work of our institution. The main objective of education through art is preparing junior and young audiences to take an active part in creating and shaping culture in the future. To this end, the Opera is involved in a number of initiatives aimed at educating a new group of conscious recipients of art.
The Podlasie Opera and Philharmonic has a permanent ensemble of opera soloists. The institution also boasts its own Orchestra, Choir (headed by its conductor and artistic director, Prof. Violetta Bielecka), Children’s Choir (headed by its conductor, Dr. Ewa Barbara Rafałko), and Big Band. Several chamber ensembles, such as the Aleksander Tansman Quartet, Lontano Piano Trio, and La Vanagloria Wind Instrument Quintet, have their seats in the building.