- November 19, 2012
Impressive Polish Culture Days in Vilnius
Concerts, theatrical performances and an exhibition added splendour to this year’s Days of Polish Culture that took place in Vilnius from 16 November to 18 November.
This year’s repertoire proposed by the organisers before the event promised to be impressive. The performers who appeared on the Vilnius scene have a strong position on the Polish art scene and are widely recognized in the world of culture.
The audience had a right to expect high level of performances and they were not disappointed.
The whole project harmonized with the celebration of the Year of Piotr Skarga which was established by a resolution of the Polish Sejm. To this outstanding preacher was devoted an exhibition in the main hall in the House of Polish Culture. The exhibition remained of Piotr Skarga’s role as a priest, a teacher and a man of science. Vilnius in particular owes much to the priest. The Jesuit served there as a first rector of the local university.
The leading theme of the first performance, entitled A Local Diet on the Occasion of 400th Anniversary of the Death of Rev. Piotr Skarga, was concern for the common good that always requires a solid moral foundation. The performance was staged by the Hussar Banner of Podlasie and the Stefan Czarniecki’s Comput Banner. Maciej Gąsiorek played the role of Piotr Skarga. The performance, which gradually took on the characteristics of monodrama, successfully adapted the form of a sermon for the purpose of the stagecraft. In addition to that, the performance was spiced up by the historical costumes from that era and even by a pyrotechnic display. It came out so credibly that after the performance the artists were showered with applause.
The first day was finished with a strong music emphasis. Alicja Majewska, who is famous for her hit To Be a Woman (Być kobietą), together with Włodzimierz Kurcz, a pianist, presented not only the classics of Polish songs but also a notable self-irony. Especially, the banter between the singer and the pianist made the audience laugh. The fact that the artists mentioned their visits to Vilnius also made the atmosphere more friendly.
Emilian Kamiński, who was the first performer on Saturday, also established a good connection with the audience. The actor, recently engaged in running his own theatre Kamienica in Warsaw, sung about his experiences connected with the martial law. Sometimes these experiences were traumatic, especially these connected with the blessed priest Jerzy Popiełuszka. Mr Emilian also talked about his connections with Vilnius. He said that he feels there as if he was on a piece of the Polish land.
On that day the ambassador of the Republic of Poland in Vilnius, Janusz Skolimowski, thanked everyone who contributed to this event and made it possible to take place.
A singer Maciej Miecznikowski was the next artist announced to perform on Saturday. He is a representative of a younger generation of artists, a television and stage personality who is famous, among other things, for his performance in Leszcze band. He interpreted pre-war Polish hits with a piano accompaniment. The whole show had a cabaret character and it referred to the atmosphere of pre-war Polish scene in an unconventional manner. The repertoire included songs once performed by the legendary Eugeniusz Bodo, for example Milonga Tango (Tango Milonga). Maciej Miecznikowski also mentioned his relationships with Vilnius and it helped to create an additional bond between the artist and the audience.
At that day in Polonia House in Pultusk culinary demonstrations were also offered. The event was promoted as “Jagiellonian Kitchen.” The participants of Polish Culture Days had a chance to try the dishes.
Majka Jeżowska performance was a compliment for a younger audience. The artist, who is known among others for the song All Children Are Ours (Wszystkie dzieci nasze są), was the first performer on Sunday. On the last day of the event Michał Milowicz, a singer and an actor in theatres and musicals, presented his singing and dancing skills. The inexhaustible energy of the performer infected the audience whose part encouraged by the artist started dancing next to the scene. Scheduling Michał Milowicz’s concert for the end of the event was not an accidental choice. The singer excellently entertained the audience as if remanding the participants all the experiences connected with the three days of the event.
Polish Culture Days in Vilnius showed that Vilnius residents are seeking contact with Polish culture. The achievements of Polish culture and the attractiveness of it not only enrich the individual sense of aesthetics, but also create a bond between people who experience it.
Certainly there is a need to build a strong foundation in order to create bonds and culture plays here a very important role. This need was emphasised by the great attendance and active participation of the audience in the performances. Vilnius residents who haven’t had a chance to get to know Polish songs and theatre before had the opportunity to see and hear what’s best in the contemporary Polish culture. This is an encouragement to maintain contact with Polish culture more often than just once a year.
It can be said that the demand for Polish culture is not at all that little. The question is whether or not will it survive in the current conditions. The answer would be: yes, it will survive because of the value it has in itself. And this statement is valid also in Vilnius.
Tłumaczenie Monika Rak w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Monika Rak the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.