Flis, Stanislaw Moniuszko's fourth opera, was his second to be produced, after the huge success of his first, Halka. Soon after the composer was appointed director of the Warsaw Opera, the one-act work had its premiere there in 1858. Moniuszko, considered the father of Polish opera, is known in the west for occasional productions of Halka and The Haunted Manor, but Flis has failed to gain much traction, with a 1931 Chicago production being one of the few outside of Poland. It's an attractive opera, if not especially distinguished musically, and its libretto has little dramatic punch. The music demonstrates Moniuszko's interest in Polish folk traditions, but its primary influences seem to be light French operas of composers like Auber, and it strives for, but seldom achieves a Rossinian sparkle and coloratura brilliance. It's pleasantly tuneful and thoroughly professional, with moments of genuine wit, and should appeal to fans of early Romantic opera, especially rarities. The Chorus and Orchestra of Opery na Zamku, led by Warcislaw Kunc, deliver a spirited, exemplary performance that makes as strong as possible a case for the work. The soloists in the all-Polish cast are very fine, but baritone Michal Partyka stands out, at least in part because of the comic possibilities that Moniuszko wrote into the role. Iwona Socha's distinctively dusky and expressive soprano is also noteworthy, and tenor Boguslaw Bidzinski sings with clarity and strength. Dux's album is beautifully produced, and the sound is clean and present, with good balance.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Eddins
Scene 1. Introduction (Moderato). Ale pierwej padnijmy razem na kolana... / Prayer. Dzieki Ci przedwieczny Panie... / Recitativo. Nie widac chmur...
Scene 2. Recitativo. Okropny ten poranek... / Dumka (Andantino). Ach tys moze sród tej burzy w Wisle znalazt skon...