This is the first recording on period instruments of Moniuszko's Opera in Four Acts, The Haunted Manor which was written in 18611862. Intoxicated by the Warsaw success of Halka which unexpectedly raised him to the pinnacle of his career, Moniuszko was full of enthusiasm and wanted to write more operas but his collaboration with Wlodzimierz Wolski had ended and he needed a new librettist. Jan Chechinski (18261874) appeared on the horizon who was an esteemed translator of operatic libretti (French and Italian, including for Giuseppe Verdi) who would become the composer's new regular collaborator. The libretto of The Haunted Manor, regarded as Chechinski's finest work, was completed in mid January 1862. It soon came into the hands of the composer, who by June had probably finished a piano reduction of the new work, and possibly also part of the orchestration. The opera's manuscript authorised by the composer was copied out clean between October 1862 and 9 January 1863. In both musical and dramatic terms, The Haunted Manor contains many references to the French opéra-comique, of which the unquestioned masters during the nineteenth century were considered to be the now forgottenbut admired by MoniuszkoParisian composers Adolphe Adam (18031856) and Daniel Auber (17821871). Present-day music lovers will easily recognise the rhythms of Polish dances (polonaise, krakowiak and mazur) yet in The Haunted Manor we also hear echoes of cosmopolitan drawing-room dances: waltz, polka, galop and even minuet. However, the hidden patriotic message and the references to the myth of the Polish nobility, reiterated with pathos, made The Haunted Manororiginally conceived as a musical comedya semi seria opera which makes it a Polish operatic epic. The Orchestra of the 18th Century, specialising in the restoration of the original version of music from the past, performs the first ever recorded version of this work on historical instruments, conducted by Grzegorz Nowak.
Tomasz Konieczny (Miecznik), Małgorzata Walewska (Cześnikowa), Edyta Piasecka (Halka), Monika Ledzion- Porczyńsk (Jadwiga), Arnold Rutkowski (Stefan), Mariusz Godlewski (Zbigniew), Marcin Bronikowski (Maciej), Rafał Siwek (Skołuba), Karol Kozłowski (Damazy)
Orchestra of the 18th Century