Mariusz Treliński, renowned Polish stage director and artistic director of the Teatr Wielki – Polish National Opera, graduated from the film directing faculty of the Łódź Film School in 1986 and subsequently directed his debut feature film Zad wielkiego wieloryba (The Rump of a Huge Whale) in 1987. Other films include Pożegnanie jesieni (Farewell to Autumn, 1990) based on a novel by Stanisław I. Witkiewicz, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival and garnered him the “Andrzej Munk Award” and “Best Debut Award” from the Polish Minister of Culture; Łagodna (A Gentle Creature, 1995) based on the Fyodor Dostoevsky story; and Egoists (2001).
Treliński’s opera debut came in 1996 when the Warsaw Autumn Festival commissioned him to direct Elżbieta Sikora’s one-act Heartsnatcher based on the prose of Boris Vian, subsequently staged at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. The year 1999 saw the premiere of his famous production of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly at the Polish National Opera (PNO). The stage designer was Boris Kudlička, with whom he has been collaborating ever since. Presented in Washington, St. Petersburg, Valencia, and Tel Aviv, the production marked the start of the director’s international career. Since then, Treliński has worked regularly with the world’s leading theatres with such conductors as Daniel Barenboim, Kent Nagano, Lorin Maazel, Valery Gergiev, and Carlo Rizzi. Subsequent opera productions include Szymanowski’s King Roger (PNO, 2000), Verdi’s Otello (PNO, 2001), Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin (PNO, 2002; Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía in Valencia, 2011), Mozart’s Don Giovanni (PNO, 2002; Los Angeles Opera – cond. by Kent Nagano, 2003 and cond. by Hartmut Haenchen, 2008; Wrocław Opera, 2011), Tchaikovsky’s The Queen of Spades (Staatsoper Unter den Linden in Berlin – cond. by Daniel Barenboim with Plácido Domingo as Hermann, 2003; PNO, 2004), Giordano’s Andrea Chénier (Washington National Opera – cond. by Plácido Domingo, 2004; PNO, 2005). Heavily symbolic and infused with mythic lore, Treliński’s spectacles are complex stories filled with realistic and psychological images of heroes and their visions. This combination is characteristic of his La bohème (PNO, 2006; Washington National Opera, 2007), the second production of Szymanowski’s King Roger (Mariinsky Theatre – cond. by Valery Gergiev, 2008; Edinburgh Festival, 2008), Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov (Lithuanian National Opera, Vilnius, 2008; PNO, 2009), Gluck’s Orpheus and Eurydice (Slovak National Theatre in Bratislava, 2008; PNO, 2009), Rachmaninoff’s Aleko and Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta (Mariinsky Theatre – cond. by Valery Gergiev, 2009; Baden-Baden Festival, 2009, Anna Netrebko and Piotr Beczała in the leading roles), Verdi’s La traviata (PNO, 2010), Puccini’s Turandot (PNO, 2011), Wagner’s Der fliegende Holländer (PNO, 2012), Puccini’s Manon Lescaut (PNO, 2012; La Monnaie, Brussels, 2013). His Boulevard Solitude by Henze (2014) at the Welsh National Opera, was hailed by the Times as ’better than perfect’ and his take on Strauss’s Salome (2014), co-produced with the National Theatre in Prague, was called ‘profound and unsettling, deliberate and highly effective’. In January 2015 he made a widely acclaimed debut at the Metropolitan Opera with Iolanta / Bluebeard’s Castle starring Anna Netrebko and Nadja Michael. His production of Iolanta was presented at the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino festival in Florence (April 2016). In May 2015 Treliński premiered in Warsaw Thomas Adès’ Powder Her Face. The production, developed in association with La Monnaie, was then shown at Halles de Schaerbeek in Brussels. His Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde commissioned by the Met, was first shown at Baden-Baden (March 2016), then in Warsaw (June 2016), and finally in New York (opening of the 2016/17 season) and Beijing (August 2017). In June 2016 Treliński’s Powder Her Face received the Prix de l’Europe Francophone of the Association Professionnelle de la Critique Théâtre, Musique et Danse. In 2017 he staged Korngold’s Die tote Stadt at the PNO (a coproduction with by La Monnaie / De Munt, Brussels), and in 2018 King Roger (a coproduction with Royal Swedish Opera and Prague National Theatre). In December 2019, he will stage Moniuszko’s Halka at the Theater an der Wien (in coproduction with the PNO). In 2016 and 2018 Mariusz Treliński was nominated for the International Opera Award for the Best Director.
Photo: Robert Wolański / Sony