Kazimierz Kord, an outstanding conductor, director of the Krakow Opera in the first years of its existence, a long-time director of the National Philharmonic, has passed away.
Kazimierz Kord was an extraordinary personality of Polish musical life, one of the greatest in the 20th century. He has enormous achievements in the field of symphonic music, but also in the opera repertoire. As the only conductor from Poland, he worked at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, where he made his début in 1972, as a conductor of "The Queen of Spades". He conducted at the MET many times until 1988. He was invited to Covent Garden in London and to many opera houses in Europe and the USA.
He was related to Krakow by his birth and studies at today's Krzysztof Penderecki Academy of Music in Krakow under the supervision of Artur Malawski and Witold Krzemieński. In the years 1962-70, he was the managing director and artistic director of the City Music Theatre in Krakow, presently the Krakow Opera. His contributions to our institution are invaluable. He turned the collapsing institution into a truly artistic theatre, one of the most interesting opera houses in Poland. He created an ensemble, defined the repertoire, set the directions of development, laid the foundations for the functioning of the musical theatre, on which the operation of the institution was based for the next decades up to the present day. Apart from managing the theatre, he was also involved in the musical arrangement of operas and often directed. Open to the environment of Krakow, gifted with intuition towards people, charismatic and courageous, he attracted intriguing artists such as Tadeusz Kantor, the creator of the legendary "Don Quixote" by J. Massenet, or Józef Szajna, with whom they created the famous staging of "Faust" by Ch. Gounod. The success of this show opened the way for Kazimierz Kord to Europe and the world. There were plenty of outstanding performances. These include "Madame Butterfly" with Jadwiga Romańska in the title role, with the scenography by Krystyna Zachwatowicz, "The Queen of Spades" with Janina Tisserant-Parzyńska as the Countess, "Hagith" by K. Szymanowski with the scenography by Andrzej Majewski, "Kynologist in a Dilemma" by Henryk Czyż or the libretto by Sławomir Mrożek, and ballet evenings choreographed by Henryk Tomaszewski and many others.
Years later, in 2008, on the occasion of the opening of the new headquarters of the Krakow Opera, he reminisces about the period of his management: “I spent a very important period in my life in Krakow. I worked with passion. Afterwards, for many years I was involved in conducting, I performed abroad (...). My 25-year work with the National Philharmonic was also completely different. In Krakow, my task was to create an event and inspire people. I was supported by my friends and I participated in daily artistic life."
It was a beautiful period of our Theatre, significant and unforgettable. We say goodbye to the Great Conductor, Director, and Artist with great sadness.