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Podlasie Opera and Philharmonic

history of the theatresupplementtechnical dataHistoric equipment

Important events

(detail)14.1.2005 | announcement of the urban-architectural contest to create a construction project for „The Podlasie Opera and Philharmonic – European Center of Culture”

(detail)22.4.2006 | laying of the corner stone in the foundation

(detail)9.7.2004 | signing of the intention letter concerning construction of The Podlasie Opera and Philharmonic – European Center of Culture in Białystok

Singatories of the agreement are The Council of the Podlasie Voivodeship, represented by the Marshal of the Podlasie Voivodeship Janusz Kazimierz Krzyżewski, the Voivode of Podlasie Marek Strzaliński and the Mayor of the City of Białystok Ryszard Tur.


(detail)2008 | finished first stage of investment- unfinished building

People

Marek Budzyński |architect
(detail)Dominik Wadowski |sculptor
Author of statues in the Opera.

History

The architecture competition for the design of the Podlasie Opera was decided in April 2005. The construction works of the Podlasie Opera and Philharmonic – European Centre of Culture, the largest cultural institution in eastern Poland have lasted since 22 April 2006 when the cornerstone was laid. The author of the design is Professor Marek Budzyński, one of the most outstanding contemporary Polish architects. The project is now in the second, finishing stage of works, and the opera is planned to be open in 2011.

The new edifice is being built on Maria Magdalena Hill, on the site of the former Czesław Niemen amphitheatre, next to the Białystok Puppet Theatre and the Helios Cinema, between two cemeteries: one Jewish and one orthodox.  According to Professor Budzyński’s design, an urbanisation complex is to be created. Situated along the former Odeska Street and harmoniously integrated into the park landscape of the hill, it will symbolically interweave aspects of nature and culture into one common space. The sacred character of the place will not be lost, but will rather be transformed from a human dimension experience into an art dimension.

The ideas of combining culture with nature, as well as tradition with modernity have been clearly reflected in the architecture design. The geometric block is built from modern materials: concrete, glass and wood, it will be closed with a colonnade along the façade, centrally crowned with a sort of glass pediment and closed to the north with an amphitheatre, elements associated with ancient architecture. Classical inspirations will also be seen in the interior. The entrance leading to the foyer has been designed as a portal in traditional shape. The location of the opera, between two cemeteries surrounded by a park, means that the building joins them like a bridge, allowing them to pass fluidly into each other - a feature that Budzyński’s design uses and emphasises. There is a roof garden with a monument to Czesław Niemen, the patron of the institution, among flowers and trees. Outside, the edifice will be covered with creepers and evergreen ivy, helping the building to become incorporated by the green landscape, forming an organic part of it. Solar panels erected along a side elevation will also be covered with green, imitating the natural elevation of the ground. The entrances to the foyer and to galleries have been designed according the layout of paths in the park surrounding the opera, so that the building and the park can pass into each other.

The opera will house two concert rooms, the main one, seating an audience of 820 (or as many as 1,100 people in some concert layouts) and a chamber room for 200 people, as well as an amphitheatre summer stage. For intimate performances, the space of the main room can be reduced by half by using curtains, and it can be divided in two separate rooms, where different concerts can be held simultaneously, with no drop in acoustics. The vivid colour scheme of the interior (the bright azure of the walls, the lush green of the floor, podiums and construction elements and the red of the seats) distinguishes particular components of this theatrical space, designed with moderation, but with geometric distinctiveness. The rude interior gains lightness thanks to balustrades that finish the two balconies. Thin lines fan out and tangle, resembling stems finished with stylised leaves or a riff on the stave. The proscenium arch is embellished by sculptures of musicians and dancers, placed at the height of the second balcony.

There is modern technical infrastructure (a moving stage, a digital sound reinforcement system) in place to meet the various requirements of opera, ballet, theatre performances and concerts of all kinds. The multifunctional building of the opera will also house art galleries, performing exhibitions and commercial activity. 

The Podlasie Opera and Philharmonic – European Centre of Culture is a huge investment of both cultural and political significance, as it contributes immeasurably to the process of equalising any disproportions among regions. 

 

 

Author: Anna Ochman

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