Extraordinary, strong women, music and life filled with passion – this is a festival offer that cannot be overlooked. Madame Curie is a look at the Polish Nobel Prize winner through the eyes of the outstanding composer Elżbieta Sikora. The radiating power of the work is also due to the libretto by Agata Miklaszewska, the author of the text for the musical Metro, which has not been off the billboard for almost thirty years. The first Wrocław performance of Madame Curie will be an unusual opportunity to discover the modern face of the opera and to see Maria Skłodowska-Curie's character known to us from school education as a woman of flesh and blood.
The phenomenal Anna Mikołajczyk will perform a particularly demanding title role, as Madame Curie does not leave the stage at all and sings almost continuously. The emotions of the heroine will also be expressed by a dancer, whose presence will refer to the friendship of the researcher with the ballet dancer Loïe Fuller, the author of the concept of dance-sculpture. Fuller tried to use radium for painting stage costumes and, like Maria, she fell victim to radiation sickness. The well-known Polish Chamber Choir Schola Cantorum Gedanensis will take part in the semi-staged performance of this opera at the National Forum of Music. The performance will be conducted by a friend of Sikora Wojciech Michniewski, himself also a composer.
‘Her life is a ready-made scenario - we only interpret facts from her life,’ recalls Sikora, musing on her work on the opera. What connects Sikora to the double Nobel Prize winner is the strength of character, the consistent development of talent and emigration from Poland to France. And what else do we know about Skłodowska-Curie, known for her statues, street names and schools named after her, from the image on old Polish banknotes? She is the first woman to have won the Nobel Prize and to this day is the only woman who has won this prize twice. However, the authors of the opera have focused on presenting the personality of the researcher, who revolutionized science, overcoming unprecedented difficulties: unwillingness of the environment, cultural barriers and her own weaknesses. She loved her husband and research partner she had suddenly lost, she was a mother, she suffered social condemnation for an affair with a married man, she saved many people by doing x-rays in field hospitals during the First World War. Exploring the fascinating and dangerous phenomenon of radioactivity, she had to face the question of whether all scientific research was beneficial to the world. This issue is the theme of Madame Curie.
The opera features electronic music, the genre closest to Elżbieta Sikora, whereas the electric guitar and the saxophone give it a contemporary character. There is also an accordion that the Nobel Prize winner often listened to on the streets of Paris. This opera, rarely performed in Poland, was written only seven years ago (on the centenary of awarding the second Nobel Prize to Skłodowska-Curie) for the Year of Chemistry, whose patron was Marie Curie. The premiere took place in Paris as part of the cultural programme of the Polish Presidency of the European Union. Now, finally, we can see the work in Wrocław.