Music to our ears! Warsaw’s Marta Gardolińska becomes first ever female musical director at prestigious French opera house
Marta Gardolińska has made history after becoming the first female and first Pole to be chosen as the new musical director of the Opéra national de Lorraine in Nancy, one of the five national operas outside of Paris.
Gardolińska’s appointment, which will officially begin in September, will see her as director of the prestigious operatic institution for the next three years, where her responsibilities will include leading concerts of the Opéra national de Lorraine Orchestra and producing and staging opera productions.
The talented conductor, who was born and grew up in Warsaw until the age of 22, trained in acrobatics for many years before becoming a musician. She studied music at the Chopin University of Music as well as the Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Vienna.
She has performed with some of the top orchestras in the world, including, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra at a festival in Edinburgh, Orchestre Chambre de Paris as well as the National Philharmonic Orchestra in Warsaw and her upcoming plans include performances with several other leading European orchestras.
Her previous appointments and testament to her international recognition was when she received as Young Conductor in Association z Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, which she collaborated with in 2018/2019 and 2019/2020.
Gardolińska’s latest appointment cements her international standing. She first had occasion to work with the Opéra national de Lorraine under lockdown when she collaborated with the institution on the staging of a forgotten post-romantic opera production “Der Traumgörge” by Aleksander Von Zemlinski, the first time the production had been staged in France.
Gardolińska described staging the production under lockdown as a ‘big challenge’. But the production’s success, combined with Marta’s talents as a conductor, led to her being recognised and paved the way for her appointment.
Matthieu Dussouillez, artistic director and director general of Opéra national de Lorraine said: “Marta is part of a new generation of European artists, who are characterised by multiple talents and energy. I’m really happy to begin our joint journey at the Opéra national de Lorraine with Marta, the whole team and the public.”
Gardolińska, who lives on a day-to-day basis in Vienna, was elated to receive the news of her appointment and is excited at the prospects.
She told TFN that her opera productions with the Opéra national de Lorraine will be released in the Spring, and that there would be “a Polish accent in the repertoire” as she would also be collaborating with musicians from Poland.
She said: “It’s a source of great pride for me that I can take part in the shaping of cultural life in Nancy, a city on which Polish King Stanisław Leszczyński had such a great influence. I hope I will be able to be a worthy representative of Polish culture in Nancy.”
The first opera in Nancy was opened on the initiative of Stanisław Leszczyński in 1758.
Gardolińska aims to base her repertoire mainly on the start of the 20th century, the height of Art Nouveau when there was a cultural resurgence and a group of artists called ‘the Nancy school’ were active.
She told TFN: “It is important for me to highlight the importance and links between Nancy and the rest of Europe. We want to show what was happening at that time in different places, not just France.”
The nearest chance to see Gardolińska with the Opéra national de Lorraine Orchestra, will be during her performance of the concert ‘Dream or Destiny’, which will be transmitted by Radio France on the 18th February She will also lead the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra in Poland on the 21st of February.