'Philaenis' (1897), an opera by Roman Statkowski (1859-1925), written to the libretto by Hermann Erler (1844-1918), is an interesting research subject from the perspective of the history of Polish opera, as a work which stands half-way between the legacy of Wladyslaw Zelenski (1837-1921) and the musical theatre of Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937). The article describes the difficulties encountered by the composer as he tried to get the work staged (among them the vicissitudes of the London competition of 1903); it also discusses the characteristics of the libretto and the music of 'Philaenis'. The libretto, in spite of its antique 'mask', contains typically modernist features, and the music, while somewhat academic in style, also contains progressive elements which give one a foretaste of musical theatre of the first decades of the twentieth century.
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