31 Aug 2018
Composer: Anton Rubinstein
Other participants: Michaił Jurowski, Warsaw Philharmonic Choir, Artos Children’s Choir
“an immense declaration of faith and culture” – Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
The opera was composed between 1884 and 1891, to the libretto by Salomon Hermann Mosenthal. Today, the Austrian playwright is remembered primarily as the librettist of Otto Nicolai’s comic opera The Merry Wives of Windsor, based on the Shakespeare play. The success of this work also brought fame to the writer; he worked with the Russian composer several times (including The Maccabees in 1874, which was very successful in Russia and Germany); the music to Moses was composed after Mosenthal’s death. The opera tells the story of the prophet in eight suggestive pictures, using an enormous performing apparatus. Maintained in the expressive, Neo-Romantic style, Moses contains many magnificent arias, especially in the stunning group scenes illustrating the famous dramatic episodes described in the biblical Pentateuch.
“Moses” was never performed on stage in its entirety. One of the reasons for this were the enormous costs of staging a work with such large cast, but also the fact that the fashion for “sacral operas” was already passing at the time. The author’s death shortly after composing the work also meant that he faded into oblivion quite quickly.
The prestigious concert under the auspices of the Polish Committee for UNESCO and the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, which took place in the National Philharmonic Hall on 15 October 2017 (preceded by a recording of the work for this publication, with the same cast), was probably the first performance of the entire, integral opera, which had awaited its restitution for over a century! This was made possible thanks to the personal commitment of Michail Jurowski, who devoted many years to the preparation of the performance of this work and gained support for this project from the Polish Sinfonia Iuventus Orchestra. Maestro Jurowski's dream is for this extraordinary artistic undertaking to begin a wider renaissance of the interesting and beautiful, unjustly forgotten work of one of the most original characters of the musical scene of the 19th century.