It’s a celebration for musical theatres all around Poland. Yesterday was the day of the Jan Kiepura Theatre Music Award gala, the awards given every year by the Jan Kiepura Mazovian Musical Theatre since 2007. One of the laureates is Prof. Violetta Bielecka, who was praised with an honorary award for lifetime achievement!

At the gala held at the Royal Castle in Warsaw, we get to know laureates of this year’s 13th edition of the Jan Kiepura Theatre Music Award in 18 competition categories. The winners were chosen by a committee of Iwona Wujastyk (the chair), Prof. Izabela Kłosińska, Krystyna Mazurówna, Danuta Renz, Marek Chowaniec, Prof. Ryszard Karczykowski, Andrzej Pągowski ART, Janusz Stokłosa, Jan Szurmiej, Daniel Wyszogrodzki.

Laureate of an honorary award for lifetime achievement is Prof. Violetta Bielecka. For the first time, it was awarded ex aequo. The second laureate is the prominent conductor Tadeusz Kozłowski.

“A great committee. The committee consisting of specialists in different fields has appreciated my work, or, actually, the work of my ensembles, the ones I have led so far. Because what would that success mean without them? It would never be possible. So the statue is a success of the ensemble of the Podlasie Opera and Philharmonic Choir,” says Prof. Violetta Bielecka. “This award is even more meaningful because it’s aimed not only at choirs. Different worlds meet here: set designers, directors, dancers, musical and opera soloists, vocalists, and conductors.”

Radio Białystok has prepared a great material from the gala. You can’t miss out on it: Prof. Violetta Bielecka odebrała teatralną nagrodę im. Jana Kiepury (in Polish, with photographs).

“The lifetime achievement award is not here since the beginning of the Kiepura awards,” says Iwona Wujastyk, general director of the Jan Kiepura Mazovian Musical Theatre and the chair of the committee. “As far, only a couple of people were honoured with that distinction. It’s an award that really goes to people associated with musical theatre for years, people who are authorities, masters, not only for the coworkers in their own theatres. Ms. Violetta Bielecka is such a person. Often you don’t see her, but you can hear her work in the precision, craft and talent, worked out talent, of many other people. Because leading the choir demands great pedagogical skills and great leadership skills.”

Asked about her numerous awards, Prof. Violetta Bielecka says humbly: “There were plenty of them.”

For her artistic achievements she has been awarded the Grand Prix of the Rector of Fryderyk Chopin University of Music (2019), the Honorary Badge of the Podlasie Voivodeship in the field of popularising music culture (2017), the President of the City of Białystok Award for artistic achievements (2016), the Medal of Merit for the FCUM, awarded by the Vice-Chancellor of the University, Prof. Ryszard Zimak (2014), the Gold Medal awarded by the President of the Association “Polish Community” in Warsaw (2012), the Gold Medal awarded by the President of the Republic of Poland Bronisław Komorowski (2010), the Minister of Culture and National Heritage Award for artistic and didactic achievements (2009), the Medal of the Commission of National Education (Ministry of Education, 2009), the Silver Medal for Merit to Culture Gloria Artis (2008), the badge of honour for Merit for Polish Culture (2006), the Gold Medal of Merit awarded by the President of the Republic of Poland (2002), the Award of the Marshal of the Podlaskie Voivodeship (2002), the Award of the President of the City of Bialystok for organizing activities popularising the cultural heritage in the East through the activities of the Polish Peace Choir (2000), the “Distinguished in the Białystok Region” Golden Badge (1992), and the Golden Cross of Merit granted by the President of the Republic of Poland (1990). In 2013, in Poznań, she received the Prof. Kurczewski Prize for outstanding achievements in the field of choral music and propagation of Polish music.

“I consider this a recognition of my hard work, the hard work of my ensembles, and discernment of the existence of opera choir in the artistic environment. My name circles the country as well, and for me it’s an encouragement to work further, to maintain the level we have, to aspire to be in the lead of professional choir ensembles in Polish operas and philharmonics,” says Bielecka.

The Theatre Music Awards in over a dozen years of their history have gained prestige and credibility of the musical theatre environment. It’s the only national competition that aims to honour artists and creators associated with the musical theatres. During those years, a formula has been achieved that manages to join many fields of musical theatre: opera, operetta, musical, and honouring experienced creators as well as newcomers. Each year the committee awards candidates in over dozen categories with a Jan Kiepura statue, distincting prominent and promising opera singers, musical vocalists, dancers, choreographers, set designers, conductors, as well as theatre poster designers and directors.

A short talk with Prof. Bielecka (interview by Adam Klimiuk) in Polish atthe Radio Białystok website.