Marin Alsop conducts Penderecki's The Black Mask

Commemorating Krzysztof Penderecki's 90th birthday with the NOSPR and an all-star vocal cast

Certain chapters are not available.
Thank you for your understanding.


Georg Zlabinger — Stage director

Tadeusz Szlenkier — Silvanus Schuller

Yeree Suh — Benigna

Joanna Kędzior — Arabella

Karolina Sikora — Rosa Sacchi

Patrick Vogel — Jedidja Potter

Nathanaël Tavernier — François Tortebat

Ewa Tracz — Daga

Tómas Tómasson — Löwel Perl

Patrick Alexander Keefe — Robert Dedo

Dariusz Machej — Plebanus Wendt

Mateusz Zajdel — Hadank

Remigiusz Łukomski — Graf Ebbo Hüttenwächter

Magdalena Pluta — Gräffin Laura Hüttenwächter

Piotr Maciejowski — Schedel

Jan Żądło — Dr. Knoblochzer

Justyna Ołów — Schwarzer Tod

Program notes

On what would have been the 90th birthday of the great Krzysztof Penderecki, Marin Alsop leads his country's premier ensemble, the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, in a semi-staged concert version of his 1986 opera masterpiece Die schwarze Maske (The Black Mask), based on a 1928 play by Gerhart Hauptmann. Set in 17th-century Silesia after the Thirty Years War, The Black Mask follows nobleman Silvanus and his wife Benigna in a story of buried secrets and blackmail, murder, religious conflicts, and plague…

Bolkenheim, Silesia, 1662. The Thirty Years' War has just ended, but the city now finds itself ravaged by plague. Mayor Silvanus Schuller and his wife Benigna convene a dinner with representatives of multiple religions, including Jewish merchant Löwer Perl, pastor Plebanus Wendt, Catholic priest Robert Dedo, Huguenot François Tortebat and Jansenist Jedidja Potter. Discussions between the thirteen guests grow more and more heated, reflective of the conflicts that had torn Europe asunder during the war. As the opera progresses, Benigna opens up about her past, from which a mysterious figure in a black mask makes an unwelcome reapparance to spell the doom of the invitees…

This rarely performed work, intense and uncompromising, is one of the highlights of Alsop's inaugural season at the head of the NOSPR: a fitting celebration of the legacy of Penderecki, who died in 2020 and whose score is complex, allusive (with nods to Bach and traditional Jewish modes), and compelling throughout. A stellar vocal cast is assembled for the occasion, including tenor Tadeusz Szlenkier as Silvanus and soprano Yeree Suh as Benigna.

More info