Composers / Fryderyk Chopin / Persons catalog

Stanisław Moniuszko

Stanisław Moniuszko (1819–1872) is regarded as the father of Polish opera. Moniuszko had an excellent musical education – first in Mińsk and Warsaw and later in Berlin, and also during his artistic trips to St. Petersburg, where he made the acquaintance of Alexander Dargomyzhsky, César Cui, Mikhail Glinka and others. The breakthrough for Moniuszko – and Polish opera – came when his opera Halka (then in two acts) premiered in Wilno in 1848. It was 11 years before Warsaw got wind of Halka but the opera was such a resounding success when it finally premiered there in 1858 (this time in four acts) that Moniuszko was almost handed the directorship of the National Opera on the spot. Hrabina [The Countess], Flis [The Raftsman] and Straszny Dwór [The Haunted Manor] (which proved as popular as Halka) followed in rapid succession.

Moniuszko also made a great contribution to Polish culture with his songs, especially the enormously popular and much used Śpiewniki domowe [Home Songbooks], where almost 300 works by Polish poets are set to music.

Moniuszko was a teacher (he lectured at the Institute of Music) as well as a composer. Zygmunt Noskowski was one of his most outstanding students.

Moniuszko died suddenly of a heart attack in 1872. He is buried in Powązki Cemetery, Warsaw.


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