Vilnius Halka (version from 1848)
In the Cześnik’s garden, after the engagement ceremony of his daughter Zofia and young Janusz, the nobles cheer and raise toasts in their honour. The marriage of Zofia and Janusz unites two noble families, Pomian and Odrowąż. Cześnik blesses the bride and groom, but Halka‘s voice from the distance interferes him. Poor highlander is looking for her Jasiek (Janusz), who seduced her and with whom she fell in love. Cześnik and Janusz taking care of Zofia‘s peace cover up the incident. Janusz decides to calm Halka down. The girl dreams of meeting Janusz, who is coming and deceiving the poor girl, promising her life and happiness together. However, he sends her out of the city, where he promises to meet her again.
Jontek tries to make Halka realize that she is being cheated. Halka does not believe in Jontek’s words. Trying to break into the engagement ceremony, the girl dreams that Janusz is the father of her child. The nobles and the Marshal are witnesses to the madness of the heroine, and they have her dismiss the ceremony. Finally, Janusz also orders to throw her away. Jontek and Halka leave in a depressing sense of defeat and suffering.
The time of Zofia and Janusz wedding has come. In the mountain village, on Sunday afternoon, a bell is heard proclaiming the end of Vespers. The people leave the chapel after the service and comment the fate in a singing. Suddenly they notice coming Jontek with changed Halka. He tells what happened in the garden at Cześnik. His story has outraged the people.
A young couple with Marshal and Cześnik at the head come to the wedding. People obediently greet Zofia, Cześnik and Janusz with loud singing. Janusz notices the intrusion of Halka and is rushing the entrance to the chapel. Singing of church songs with the accompaniment of organs is heard. Jontek convinces Halka to look at the young couple in front of the altar. Halka’s world collapses. She tells the story of a dying child and decides to take revenge on Janusz, but deep inside she knows that she could not kill in the name of lost love. Forgiving Janusz, she blesses the young couple and decides to end her own life.
(Synopsis of the libretto by Bartosz Buława and Maciej Prochaska)