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Chopin Without the Piano

“Chopin Without the Piano” is the first interpretation of Chopin’s piano concerti no.1 and no. 2 in which the piano part is replaced with the text written by Barbara Wysocka and Michał Zadra. The text itself is a literary interpretation of the music and a critical reflection on the reception of the composer’s pieces. Barbara Wysocka transcribes the piano part with a detailed description of what is being performed on the piano at a given moment. The script is based on the interviews with prominent pianists, musicological dissertations, biographies, Chopin’s letters, as well as philosophical and theoretical works. “Chopin Without the Piano” is, then, a verbal equivalent of the piano part, and a guide – the concerti’s description and a commentary. The performance’s structure corresponds to concerti’s composition. “Chopin Without the Piano” was awarded the Grand Prix at the 2014 Kontrapunkt Festival in Szczecin.

Frederic Chopin is undoubtedly one of the most influential, yet one of the most popularised and belittled, figures of Polish culture. He has been used as a national symbol that has been covered with the dusty layer of stereotypes and appropriated by various institutions that overlooked a vast array of interpretations, critical references and approaches.

Can Chopin still appeal to broad audiences, and not only to professional musicians and music aficionados today? What will happen if we knock Chopin off the dusty pedestal and break with the travesty inherent in a famous quote from Gombrowicz’s “Ferdydurke” stating that “Chopin was a great artist indeed”?


Performance in Polish with English subtitles

Playwright: Barbara Wysocka, Michał Zadara,
Director: Michał Zadara
stage design: Michał Zadara
music: Fryderyk Chopin
cast: Barbara Wysocka, Quintet Sinfonietta Cracovia