Oratorio Music Concert Filharmonia Narodowa

Go to content
Oratorio Music Concert
Tania Miller, photo: Todd Rosenberg

A twist of fate inextricably linked Karłowicz’s last, unfinished symphonic poem with his own tragic death in an avalanche at the foot of Mały Kościelec in 1909. It was the manuscript for Episode at a Masquerade that was found on the composer’s desk in his Lutnia villa in Zakopane shortly after the dramatic incident. The work was completed and orchestrated by Karłowicz’s close friend Grzegorz Fitelberg, a fervent advocate of the young composer’s outstanding talent. This composition, couched in the scheme of a sonata allegro, displays the composer’s wonderful musical imagination, mastery of development work and perfect deployment of a large orchestra.

Carl Orff’s cantata Carmina Burana, from 1936, is sometimes described as the most ‘overused’ work in the history of music. It is impossible to count the contexts (mainly in film and advertising) into which this exceptionally suggestive and characteristic composition has been woven. So how did Orff’s setting of poetry by thirteenth-century goliards come to be so inspiring and appealing? Well, the large performance apparatus, with a mighty chorus and expanded percussion, the archaicisms and motoric rhythms, as well as the texts, at times close in style to morality plays, laden with sarcastic, iconoclastic humour and eroticism that is far from subtle, have all contributed to the enduring success – unprecedented in the history of music – of Orff’s work.

Urszula Ciołkiewicz-Latek


Brett Sprague

American tenor Brett Sprague has been lauded for his performances on operatic and concert stages in Europe and the Americas. Born and raised in Tacoma, Washington in the United States, he studied at the Chapman University in California and at the Manhattan School of Music in New York where he gained his Master’s degree in classical voice. He received his professional training at Opera Colorado and Chautauqua Opera, in the United States.

The artist expanded his operatic career to Europe in 2019 performing the role of Lord Barrat in Der junge Lord by Hans Werner Henze at the Staatstheater am Gärtnerplatz in Munich and Pedrillo in Die Entführung aus dem Serail by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart during the Thüringer Schlossfestspiele in Sondershausen. In August 2022, he joined the Theater Erfurt company where he has sung many roles, notably, Hoffmann in Les contes d’Hoffmann by Jaques Offenbach, Ismaele in Nabucco by Giuseppe Verdi, King Charles VII in The Maid of Orleans by Pyotr Tchaikovsky, Nicholas (adult) in Eleni by Nestor Taylor, Néocles in Le siege de Corinthe by Gioachino Rossini, Tsarevich Gvidon in The Tale of Tsar Saltan by Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov, The Gingerbread Witch in Hänsel und Gretel by Engelbert Humperdinck, and The Visitor in In the Penal Colony by Philip Glass. Upcoming roles in Erfurt include the title parts in Peter Grimes by Benjamin Britten and in Orestes by Felix Weingartner, as well as Loge in Das Rheingold by Richard Wagner. Brett Sprague has also seen great success as a concert soloist, having sung Mozart’s Requiem at Carnegie Hall in New York, Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Philharmonische Orchester Erfurt, Rossini’s Petite messe solennelle with the Jenaer Philharmonie, and Carmina burana by Carl Orff with the Tampere Philharmonic, the Göteborgs Symfoniker, and at the Festival Alfonso Ortiz Tirado.