Vocalists: Piia Komsi, Niall Chorell, Jakob Bloch
Narrator: Teppo Lampela
Artistic Director: Gabriel Bania
Concertmaster: Arek Golinski
WASA MARIONETTE OPERA was founded by Gabriel Bania in 1989 in order to revive the 17th and 18th century operas performed with marionettes. The first performances of WMO took place in the summer 1991 in cooperation with International Vadstena Academy/ Sweden) – Il Girello of Jacopo Melani. In 1996 came the second production – Fée Urgele of Ignatz Pleyel. The group has performed at:
World Marionette Congres in Charlesville de Mézières /France 1992
Utrecht Festival/Holland 1994
Copenhagen Early Music Festival/Danmark 1994 and 1996
Musikfest Bremen/Germany 1996
Malmö Baroque Festival/Sweden 1996
Northlands Festival/Scottland 2000.
The children version of Pleyel’s opera was played in northern Sweden in cooperation with Musik in Västernorrland in 2002.
All these productions were made in the cooperation between Gabriel Bania (producer/director) and Mark Tatlow (musical leader/conductor)
The ideas about historically informed performances are already quite established in music but in contemporary puppet theatre this way of thinking is not common. Wasa Marionette Opera's aim is a performance where all the ingredients create together an artistic whole: scene and marionettes are constructed like their baroque originals, puppets act according to historical rules, singers use an appropriate style and music is played on original instruments. WMO proves that it is possible to combine this historically informed way of thinking with the more "folkish" commedia dell'arte tradition still alive on the puppet scenes today.
WMO’s marionette players were always coming from Poland (there is a puppet theatre education on university level and many professional puppet scenes) and a producer/director from Sweden. Almost all the puppet players were connected to Bialystok Puppet Theatre so the present cooperation with this Polish institution is very natural.
The name "Wasa" links these two countries: three 17th century Polish kings came from the Swedish Wasa dynasty. Two of the members of the family (Wladyslaw IV and Christina) had certain links to marionette opera.