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Teatr Wielki - Polish National Opera

Straszny Dwór – The Haunted Manor

Ghosts live in these halls... only not the kind of ghosts you might imagine

Extracts

Straszny Dwór (The Haunted Manor) is an opera by Stanisław Moniuszko. A Polish classic, this opera was written and premiered during a time when Poland did not exist as an independent nation. Nevertheless, it created a focal point for Polish identity.

Watch Cześnikowa's aria from the 2015 production at Teatr Wielki - Polish National Opera.

A grand manor house in Poland is haunted, only not in the usual way. Here live two ghosts: the sisters Hanna and Jadwiga. These are the kind and beautiful daughters of Miecznik, the sword bearer. The young soldiers Stefan and Zbigniew, along with their servant Maciej, have recently returned from fighting in the war. Their aunt, Cześnikowa, would like nothing better than to see them marry the two young ladies she has selected for them, but she knows that the lovely Hanna and Jadwiga will be too much of a threat to that plan. Cześnikowa starts a rumour that the manor is haunted, a rumour reinforced by local legend. She also goes to visit the manor and warns Miecznik and his daughters about the two young soldiers, calling them cowards and discouraging any idea of affection. The sisters reinforce the tale of the haunted manor by testing the brothers, hiding behind portraits to play tricks. Strange sounds are heard throughout the manor in the night, and the hunter Skoluba reinforces fears by telling Maciej that these paintings have magical properties. The sisters become the leads in the ghost story told about them, but all ends well with a double wedding, despite Cześnikowa’s schemes.