The 38th Stage Song Review will take place in Wroclaw on 24 March-2 April – after last year, when the city was European Capital of Culture and the festival took place in May, we return to the traditional March date.
Foreign star of this year’s Review is Jamie Cullum – one of the most popular jazz musicians in the world today. His charismatic personality and great talent are the reasons of his presence on the Stage Songs Review, the world’s only festival devoted to the interpretation of songs, so it should not surprise anyone.
The most anticipated events of the Review are of course the Gala and the Final Concerts. The Gala Concert, “Museum of Freedom”, is endorsed by the boldest literary cabaret and theater in Poland today – Pożar w Burdelu (Fire in the Brothel) from Warsaw. The usual team will be joined by, among others, Magdalena Cielecka, Maciej Stuhr, Magda Umer, Pablopavo and Bartosz Porczyk, and the story takes place in an unspecified future, in the eponymic museum, that is the only place where freedom can still be seen.
The Finale Concert consists of two parts: the first one is the finale of the Contest of Songs Interpretation and the emotions associated with the selection of the winners by the jury, journalists and audience. The secondo one, “Dziubanina” – the songs and music of one of the most interesting theatre composers, Piotr Dziubek (hence the title pun), often cooperating with Wojciech Kościelniak, but seen through the eyes of Agata Duda-Gracz, who is the author of the script and director of “Dziubanina”.
We will also host artists from different parts of the world. The richness of cultures and vocal techniques is another interesting clue in the interpretation of the songs and the presence of music on stage. Among them we will see the French multi-instrumentalist, using the technique of overtone singing, MathiasDuplessy, who together with Mukhtiyar Ali, a Sufi singer from the Indian Rajasthan creates an unusual mix of eastern and western tradition . Shefita, a young Israeli singer, will sing the most famous contemporary hits (by Aerosmith, Nirvana, Alanis Morisette) in intriguing arrangements, full of eastern ornaments. We will also hear Steve Smyth, songwriter and singer from Australia, who will per form his feisty and catchy blues-folk-rock ballads. Compagnie Derniere Minute from France, champions of movement and song, music and imagination, will present a dance and song show “Meme”.
Polish artists at the festival include Maja Kleszcz and The Provincial Quartet, who will play and sing songs inspired by paintings by Jerzy Duda-Gracz.
The premiere presentations will also include the performance of last year’s winner of the song contest, Artur Caturian “Ways to Lose Weight and Stay Happy, or How Capitalism Stuffs Us and Doesn’t Let Us Eat Up” and the show of the winners of last year’s OFF Strem- Teatr Układ Formalny will show „Android Treaty: God Hates Poland” based on the book of Michał R. Wiśniewski.
The variety of musical and theatrical genres is one of the key mottos of the Review. Viewers will see a satirical musical performance “Kaszana zdalnie sterowana” („Remote Contolled Flop”) with songs of Piotr Bukartyk directed by Jerzy Satanowski, and hipsteroperetta by Cezary Studniak “Honey, I Killed Our Cats”, based on the book by Dorota Masłowska (New Theatre in Poznan).
We will also see the most interesting graduation performances by students of Polish theater schools: Theatre Academy in Warsaw will show “Pibloktoq”, a show by Wojciech Kościelniak with Maria Peszek songs and Krakow Theatre School – “Do DNA”, the unusual arrangements of Polish folk songs, directed by Ewa Kaim.
The OFF contest consists of premiere shows, too. This time six performances aspire to the prize. Small projects, yet more and more often carried out by experienced theatre professionals, look at stage singing as if from the side, and usually exceed the limits of the definition. It seems that this year’s contestants watch today’s reality deeper than ever: tere will be performances about women in contemporary Poland, about respect for otherness, about online hate and cyberbullying, among others.
Program is complemented by the daily concerts in the Festival Club and, last but not least, a surprising panel discussion “The Power of Song”, which will be hosted by Katarzyna Janowska. The importance and role of the song in cultural, social and political chan ges will be discussed by Maria Peszek, Zbigniew Hołdys and Tomasz Lipinski and illustated with vocal examples by actors from The Musical Theatre Capitol and invited guests.
The Stage Songs Review is one of the Poland’s oldest and most significant festivals, with a history of over 40 years now. It has always had a very distinctive mark of a high-class artistic event, exploring the best trends in music and theatre.
The Review is probably the only festival in the world dedicated entirely to the art of song in the theatre. We just love to watch how music and word contribute to each other, not only in musical or variety shows but also – perhaps most of all – in drama theatre.
The form of the festival has expanded in the recent years, becoming an increasingly international event. Since 1976, each year we host many recognized theatre and song artists from Poland and abroad. The artists have just one thing in common: a charisma in performing songs. We have presented, among many others: Laurie Anderson, Marianne Faithfull, Nick Cave, Patricia Kaas, The Tiger Lillies, Antony and the Johnsons, Gogol Bordello, Amanda Palmer, The Magnets, Brendan Perry, Lisa Gerrard as well as Berliner Ensemble with “The Threepenny Opera” directed by Robert Wilson, Volksbuehne’s “Die Fruchtfliege” by Christoph Marthaler or Vladimir Pankov’s “The War” (Chekhov International Theatre Festival / Edinburgh International Festival / SounDrama Studio).
The author of the Review logo and the poster is Ryszard Kaja, a prominent graphic artist, painter and stage designer from Wroclaw, the author of the famous series of posters POLAND.