Premiere: 14th September 2019.
Libretto: Professor Henryk Skarżyński
Music director: Krzesimir Dębski
Staging and direction: Michał Znaniecki
Set Designer: Luigi Scoglio
Costumes: Anna Zwiefka
Choreography: Tobiasz Sebastian Berg
Lights: Dariusz Albrycht
Multimedia: Karolina Jacewicz
MOTHER: Wioletta Białk, Katarzyna Hołub
CLERK: Alicja Węgorzewska, Anna Jurksztowicz, Bogumiła Dziel-Wawrowska
TEACHER, KINDERGARTEN DIRECTOR: Barbara Kaczyńska
DOCTOR: Maciej Miecznikowski, Dariusz Niebudek
GRANDFATHER: Zbigniew Konopka, Andrzej Milewski
GRANDMOTHER: Ewa Szykulska, Ewelina Rzezińska
OLAF’S MOTHER: Małgorzata Kaca
ZOSIA, 5 YEARS: Kalina Klosek, Marita Kaca
PIOTR, 5 YEARS: Stanisław Sośnicki, Witold Grzywna, Jakub Matusiak
OLAF, 5 YEARS: Stanisław Sośnicki, Witold Grzywna, Jakub Matusiak
ZOSIA, 15 YEARS: Gabriela Zalewska, Karolina Tosia Sypniewska, Zosia Malcolm
ZOSIA, 20-25 YEARS: Dominika Kościelniak, Ewa Dziedzina, Karolina Tosia Sypniewska
OLAF, 15-20 YEARS: Olaf Kaca
DIRECTOR: Kamil Baron, Andrzej Skorupa
PIOTR, THE DANCER, 15 YEARS: Kuba Nawrot, Bartłomiej Kamiński
PIOTR, THE PIANIST, 20-25 YEARS: Piotr Sędkowski, Maciej Miecznikowski
ADAM: Jan Petersen, Michał Rosiński
WERONIKA: Aleksandra Siwek, Marta Wojewódka
FILIP: Mateusz Gawor, Jakub Chmielarz
CLASS: Jan Scardina, Ignacy Kunach, Emilia Szuwalska, Maja Wierniuk, Laura Łabiga
ROLLER DANCER: Zosia Baksy Brzezińska
COVER OF ALL GIRLS: Weronika Niczyporuk
FLUTE: Estera Łabiga
VIOLIN: Laura Łabiga
DANCERS: Patryk Dąbrowski, Tomasz Borkowski, Jan Czajkowski, Aleksandra Kądziołka, Szymon Bożycki, Radosław Zboralski, Dominika Klimek
VOCAL ENSEMBLE OF WARSAW CHAMBER OPERA:
Chorus Master: Krzysztof Kusiel-Moroz
ENSEMBLE: STRING QUARTET “THETONACJA”
STAGE MANAGER: Maria Grąbkowska
The originator and author of the libretto is the world-famous otolaryngologist professor of medical science, PhD, multi honoris causa doctorates Henryk Skarżyński – founder of the World Hearing Center in Kajetany. The pioneering operations performed by the Professor have brought back many musically talented patients to the world of sound, who, due to operations and rehabilitation, can not only develop hearing and speech, but also develop their musical passions and talents. Inspired by their stories, five years ago Professor Henryk Skarżyński created an event, during which artists-patients present their talents to the general public – the International “Snail Rhythms” Festival for Children and Youth. The artists’ and Festival’s successes gave Professor Henryk Skarżyński further impulse to create a musical libretto, that tells the true stories of patients cured from deafness.
The music composer and music director of “Interrupted Silence” is an outstanding composer and arranger, a phenomenal violinist and bandleader, for decades a member of the elite of the Polish music stage – professor Krzesimir Dębski. The director of the musical “Interrupted Silence” is associated with the Warsaw Chamber Opera, the world-famous director, Michał Znaniecki. Creator of the set design for this performance is Luigi Scoglio. In the musical, next to professional artists, there will appear artists-patients under the care of Professor Henryk Skarżyński.
In the musical we meet real people treated for deafness. Their fates reflect one of the greatest modern achievements in science and medicine.
Musical starts in complete silence in a limited set. One of the main characters – Zosia is about 4 years old. As a deaf child, she is helpless. Her mother is looking for treatment options. Her first contact with a doctor does not give her any hope for effective therapy for her daughter. Zosia does not hear anything, no sound comes to her. Zosia’s mother talks to the doctor. They have a conversation, that is initially poorly defined. The doctor throw up his hand, and the choir of doctors perform the song “Diagnosis” singing i.a. “… she can’t hear and she won’t hear …”. Zosia’s mother is distraught. Little Zosia on the proscenium. We witness the stage events from her perspective. Zosia notices the children playing the blind man’s bluff behind one of the backcloth. A second main character appears – Piotrek – who’s in a similar age what Zosia is. He wants to play with her and starts dancing by performing several ballet movements. Piotrek covers his mouth with his hand. He is severely hearing impaired. Gradually, Zosia begins to imitate his movements. With time, she makes it more and more fluently. At the same time, the third backcloth lights up. Behind it, there is a figure of a woman holding a small boy’s hand – it’s Olaf and his mother. Zosia’s mother learns from her, that the boy was deaf, but he has a cochlear implant, that works well with him, so that he may even go to a regular school – just like other children from the neighbourhood. Zosia’s mother sees it as a chance for her daughter. She is looking for help and Zosia has a cochlear placement. The choir sings, among others “… chance, chance, chance …” The time of difficult rehabilitation comes. Zosia’s Mother solo, and then with the choir sings the song “Hope”. Time passes quickly, mother is training with Zosia in order to develop the child’s speech. This is observed by Piotrek, who gets a small piano from his grandparents under the Christmas tree and begins to play a simple melody on it. Zosia’s mother stops believing, that rehabilitation will bring any results. Piotrek, who hears only low sounds, stubbornly tries to stimulate Zosia with his melody. Zosia’s mother, thanks to the play of little Piotr, suddenly comes up with the idea, that she will sing during rehabilitation exercises. Pensive, but hopefully sings the “Lullaby” to tired Zosia. The therapy runs faster and becomes more effective. Zosia finds out that Piotrek is severely hearing impaired and does not speak. Zosia and Piotrek get along well and like to spend time together. Little and older, teenage Zosia perform the song “Transformation”. Children grow up, go to school. Piotr’s older character appears as well. Zosia develops her vocal talent by performing, among others, “Ballad on Hearing”. In Zosia’s school class there is Piotrek and Olaf, whom she met earlier, and who develops his artistic skills as a drummer. A group of children – Zosia’s peers – drop into their class. They have backpacks and bags. Among them there are Olaf, who hits with drumsticks and Adam, Filip, Weronika and others. Typical school life gains a pace. The children perform subsequent verbal and musical parts. Zosia and Piotrek, who stayed close to each other – are separated. The children takes Zosia to their group, and the boys push Piotr aside. Piotr’s grandfather steps in and takes him home. Children, while humming, take their places in the classroom, where the teacher enters. The school lesson begins. During, the class, it comes to situations, which are very unpleasant for Zosia. One student, Filip, is treats her hearing problems viciously. However, other colleagues, among others Adam and Olaf, mentioned earlier, and who underwent the same treatment as she did, take her defence. The teacher cannot control the tense situation between students. It makes Zosia humiliated. Olaf and Adam prove Filip wrong, so that he shows apparent repentance. The class leaves – only Zosia remains, who is still slightly dimmed after the words she heard from Filip. Piotrek appears discreetly showing previously known dance moves. Zosia stands for a moment, she seems exhausted and sad. She doesn’t believe that her dream of singing one day can come true. Piotrek comes over and takes her arm. Zosia frees her hand gently. She doesn’t want any understatements to invade her relationship with Piotr, but she also smiles at her friend. Piotrek goes to the keyboard, but the tune “Mary had a Little Lamb …” is already in the right tone. He turns to Zosia and shows the implant behind his ear. Zosia recalls the difficult exercises from years ago – she smiles again and is humming the song “I can sing”. At first, they go out together, but Piotrek stops, he meets Filip and provokes a fight. The teacher and Zosia’s Mother appear.
We are on the film set for a commercial of the “Snail Rhythms” International Music Festival. In the dressing rooms, patients prepare instruments for the performance. Young people meet and share their artistic experiences. Some of them are preparing to perform at this festival. More figures and three main characters join them. Mrs. Gwiazda/Mrs. Star appears – an official, who accepts applications for the Festival and performs the song “Snail rhythms”. Another patients walks into the set. Piotrek finds out about the festival. He knows Zosia’s dreams, who wants to sing at such an important musical event. It is where children, young people and adults from all over the world meet, and who have not heard before and are now real artists. The choir performs the song “Enchanted piano”, in which the fate of a small patient, currently a pianist and doctor, is shown as a reflection in a mirror. Piotr goes to Zosia and urges her to take part in the Festival. Zosia trains with her friends on roller skates. Unfortunately, she is very distracted. Piotrek joins the girls. Zosia informs him, that she is leaving school and she departures. Piotrek patiently, reminds about sending an application to the Festival. In her phone, he shows her festival website and application form. Zosia initially refuses to agree on that. She thinks, that she stands no chance, but after a while Zosia promises to Piotr, that she will send an application form. Piotrek clearly indicates, that he is interested in Zosia. However, she does not pay attention to him, she announces that she is waiting for a call from someone and that the plans and her dreams are now the most important for her. She mocks Piotr’s feelings. Piotrek stands still, doesn’t react in any way. Zosia doesn’t even pay attention to it. She dials Adam’s number. For a while, Piotrek has no idea what to do. He slowly withdraws and disappears. Zosia ends the conversation. When she is left alone, she feels sorry for Piotr. Zosia’s mother learns, that the girl has been qualified to the competition and will perform at the Festival. She happily tells her daughter the good news. Zosia while talking to Adam shares good news with several people on Facebook. Adam quite rudely implies, that as a deaf she has no chance to win it. Zosia gets sad and sings “When everything starts”. Doubts about the performance are also expressed by Zosia’s Mother. Once again, Piotrek appears, unaware what happened, is happy to receive the news, that Zosia has qualified for performances. Zosia is distracted by such different behaviour of people, who used to were so close to her. She recalls that once, when they were little, it was nice. Now, she also suspects, that Piotr is persuading her to perform only so that she can finally bring shame on herself. Then everyone will turn away from her and he will have her only for himself. She declares to Piotr, that she’s had enough and she withdraws from the competition and runs out. He is devastated by the whole incident. Zosia stays alone and begins to cry. She is still shaken by earlier conversation with Piotr and friends’ opinions about her participation in the Festival. She sings the song “Evil to the bone”. Zosia’s mother get emotional about her daughter’s problems. She is listening her trying to calm down and singing the first tunes of “When I regained my hearing”. Mom joins in and sings with Zosia. It gives her extraordinary inspiration and power as well as faith, that she must succeed. Zosia successfully performs at the Festival. She happily performs her beloved song “When I Regained my hearing”. Piotr’s grandparents appear in the audience. He encouraged them to go to the final performance. He knew, that they would see Zosia there and listen to the music, that helps them endure tinnitus. He also plays for them to relieve them and at the same time thank them. It was thanks to them, that he also got his chances after the implant placement procedure. After Zosia’s performance, silence falls in the room, followed by applause. Zosia is touched, and says, that she dedicates the performance to her mother and Piotr – the people who deserved it the most – and runs away from the stage. In the last moments of the song’s performance the dispute begins. Piotrek and Filip appear, accusing Piotr of falling his fists on Filip. Parents had to call the police. Grandfather and grandmother follows Piotr in a hurry.
Several years have passed. Zosia practices intensively and prepares for her next performances. The director in the rehearsal room torments Zosia with a new choreography. He squeezes her last sweat out, reminding her, that in order to sing, she must be the best. He tells her that she should sing well, so he can promote her on the music market. Another contract is ahead of them – this time from China. The director is anxious, and Zosia on the side with the chorus begins to hum in spite of him, “I developed my voice”. Zosia’s mother is very happy with her daughter’s progress. She is glad that a great artistic path awaits her. When Zosia returns from class, they watch TV together. Suddenly, Zosia’s mother notices Piotr on the screen. The boy is a guest of the programme before performing at the International Piano Competition. They learn, that Piotrek, having an implant, is a great musician already famous in the world. Zosia is clearly moved by that information, you can see, that the old feeling has returned. The interview indicates, that Piotrek is renowned artist performing all over the world. Mom notices Zosia’s reaction to the appearance of an old friend. Zosia leaves and tries to call him. Piotr’s grandfather answers the phone, but tells Zosia that he is not there and talks about the circumstances with Piotr’s grandmother. Both are listening to his beautiful piano playing, which is for them a form of therapy in alleviating tinnitus. Upon hearing, that Zosia wants to contact him, they conclude that for what happened to him because of Zosia, now they are obliged to protect him from her. The therapeutic power of his music is also needed by others. Grandmother reminds his grandfather that he will soon have a special performance at the Elder Care Home, among which a lot of people have hearing problems and tinnitus. Saddened, Zosia hangs up the phone and watches Piotr’s performance on the screen. Piotr plays beautifully. The audience applauds. So is Zosia in front of her TV. She is very emotional about Piotr’s performance, holding head in her hands. The director walks in and seeing it turns off the television. Zosia’s mother tries to stop him. The director exclaims that they have another invitation, and says to her mother – “You know that I value your daughter’s talent. I have invested my whole life to promote it”. Zosia’s mother seems to be repulsed – “Yes, as a circus attraction. Deaf-mute who sings. You only sell a product”. The director sings convincing Zosia about his intentions “Say yes to the Happiness”. Zosia, having Piotr in her mind, answers with the song “Gift of fate”. The girl, contrary to the director’s interdiction, decides to go to the final of the piano competition and to see Piotr, she wants to rekindle their friendship. The director sees it and becomes jealous of her. Piotr’s concert starts typically with “Mary had a Little Lamb”, then moves on to the main piece prepared for the Chopin Competition. After the song ends, Zosia walks through the crowd and goes out to the centre of the stage. She applauds, approaches Piotr and wants to talk. It turns out he is very reserved. There is a silent agreement between them. Piotr comes out greeting the audience. Zosia stays alone. She understands what a big mistake she made once leaving Piotr. She starts to sing. Suddenly, Piotr comes back and plays the music they once played together when they were little. Zosia sings to his accompaniment – the song “Change in the life”. Strong feelings comes back to the hearts of these two. Everyone comes to the stage and with one voice sing the song “The Power of Hearing, Voice and Speech”.
A choir comes out from the side and hum the melody of the anthem of the “Snail Rhythms” International Music Festival. Zosia and Piotrek start singing an anthem and the others join them.