Warsaw Rising Museum with the largest theatre production in its history for the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of the Uprising

on 1 August, the Warsaw Uprising Museum will host the premiere of a site-specific opera entitled. “D’ARC”, directed by Krystian Lady. Produced in collaboration with the Grand Theatre – National Opera, the production is not only a tribute to the insurgents and insurgent women. It is also a journey through musical and theatrical conventions, in which the creators experiment with form and space. The project has involved the most important figures of the Polish opera, music and cinema scenes, including Agnieszka Grochowska, Dobrawa Czocher, Gabriela Legun and Szymon Komasa.

“D’ARC”, conceptualised and directed by Krystian Lady, is a contemporary opera set in three time plans and dreams in which the characters of the story meet: Joan (Agnieszka Grochowska) – a photographer from Paris, daughter of Polish emigrants; Joanna (Dobrawa Czocher)
– a Warsaw cellist and also an insurgent, and Giovanna (Gabriela Legun)
– a French national heroine, the Virgin of Orléans. What unites the characters in this story is their willingness to surrender to a larger-than-life vision.

80. the anniversary of the outbreak of the Warsaw Uprising is the last to be marked by so many participants and participants in the Uprising. This year’s celebrations therefore had to be special. The opera project was created to honour our ancestors, as well as Warsaw. “D’ARC” is the result of months of work by nearly 100 people, as many as 40 of whom are performing on stage ,” says Jan Ołdakowski, director of the Warsaw Rising Museum. – Prominent artists who perform every day on the boards of theatres around the world have been involved in the initiative. The scale of this undertaking shows how important it is for us to remember the Warsaw Uprising and pay tribute to those who gave their lives 80 years ago for the freedom we can enjoy today.

Music and art integrated into the place

Director Krystian Lada works with the most important opera houses in Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Germany. His productions are often set in unusual spaces such as production halls, former hospital buildings or city squares.

Especially for the 80th anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising, the director created a performance encompassing the space of the Museum, as well as the Museum’s Freedom Park and the nearby architecture, where Warsaw’s Wola becomes a portal to the past and the future. The spectator is constantly immersed in history – he or she does not watch the opera from the audience, but moves between scenes, and each such transition is an essential element of the play.

An aspect that sets site-specific performances apart from traditional opera is the lack of distinction between audience and stage. This boundary is blurred; every object or building surrounding the audience can be an element of the performance. When we talk about the history of the Warsaw Uprising, we take a kind of walk – a walk into the past, into memories… that’s why I chose a form that allows the audience to take this walk together with the heroines – both physically and into themselves,” says Krystian Lada, director of the opera D’ARC.

A site-specific performance is a unique theatrical art form. It is created in a precisely defined, usually unusual place, and this space influences the reception of the action. Krystian Lady’s project is not a classical opera as we know it from the theatre stage – it combines theatre, opera, performing arts and contemporary sculpture. In the musical layer, classical pieces are intertwined with recent music and uprising songs. Outstanding Polish composers and composers of the young generation – Dobrawa Czocher, Teoniki Rożynek, Wojciech Błażejczyk and Rafał Ryterski – have composed new works for chamber orchestra and soloists. In addition to the world premieres of their compositions, the audience will also hear little-known works by the artist-performer Roman Padlewski or the original composer of minimalist music Julius Eastman performed by an ensemble of 10 cellists aged between 10 and 70. The musical direction of the production has been taken by the excellent conductor Lilianna Krych, and among the performers on stage will be the leading contemporary music ensemble Hashtag Ensemble.


During one evening, following the heroines of ‘D’ARC’, the audience will visit Paris in 2024, Warsaw in 1944 and Rouen in 1429. The world that was, that is, and the one that only happens in dreams will be guided by cellist Dobrawa Czocher as Joan, actress Agnieszka Grochowska as Joan, soprano Gabriela Legun as Giovanna and baritone Szymon Komasa as the Angel of History. The authors of the libretto for the opera are award-winning playwright Anka Herbut and writer Łukasz Barys. Their texts are based on motifs from the diaries of artists who participated in the Warsaw Uprising and the symbolic story of Joan of Arc.

Each heroine is a different story, a different time and a different place – not only in the story, but also in the space of the Museum. Three women united by a larger-than-life goal and the courage to sacrifice themselves for others. The opera ‘D’ARC’ tells the story of the strength of women and their part in the fight for an idea that ignited an entire generation.

Opera at the museum

For 20 years, the Warsaw Rising Museum has been nurturing the memory of the 63 days in 1944 that changed the course of history forever. The ‘D’ARC’ project pays tribute to those who stood up 80 years ago to fight for the freedom of the capital and all of us. The opera is a commemoration of their sacrifice and at the same time a promise that we will never forget them.

The opera will premiere on 1 August, the anniversary of the outbreak of the Warsaw Uprising.

Tickets for the 3-6 August performances are available on the Museum’s website and at eventim.pl. From 1 October, the performance of “D’ARC” will be available on the international streaming platform operavision.eu.

Part of the opera takes place outdoors and for most of the performance the audience stands and moves between scenes.

Preparations for the premiere can be followed on the profile:

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