Warsaw students swap economics for Opera

Photo: www.teatrwielki.pl

Business studies and opera would, at first glance, not appear to be a perfect match. But if you happen to visit the Warsaw School of Economics on Opera Day, you can see hundreds of students booking tickets for National Opera productions, talking to singers and enthusiastically applauding their performances.

The interest which Opera Day generated at Poland’s leading school of economics surpassed the highest expectations of the National Opera management and its PR department. Over 11 hundred reservations for opera and ballet performances were made and for many students the events marked the beginning of a genuine interest in opera and classical music in general. The driving force behind the project is Michał Swięcicki, a fifth-year student of international relations.

"It started about three years ago when my friend invited me to the opera for the first time. He was from Warsaw. I was from Białystok. The first opera which I saw was Puccini's Turandot and it was tremendous experience for me. I decided to organise visits to the opera more often. At the beginning it was very difficult. Everybody thought opera was something very old-fashioned so gathering twenty people was very hard. After a year over 150 people went to see Eugene Onegin together. It developed very fast."

Paulina Szycko of the business management school joined the Opera Society last year.

"I was always interested in art, literature and music. I am also studying general humanities apart from business so I don't look only at music but also at acting and scenery because in its core opera is like a synthesis of different art forms and it is what I find particularly attractive."

There is now quite a sizeable group of students at the Warsaw School of Economics who not only go to all productions at the city’s National Opera but also meet to exchange opinions, discuss artistic standards of performances and listen to recordings. For Michal Swiecicki this is the best way to spend his free time.

"For me the most important thing in the opera is singing. It touches me very much. I think it's a very personal thing. It depends on one's character, not on your profession. You can combine those two things after some hard work. It's a very nice way of spending your time."

Michał never misses an opportunity to go to an opera while abroad. He’s been to the Metropolitan in New York and to Milan’s La Scala. And this spring he’s taking a group of students to the city of Łodz to see Wagner’s Tristan in a live transmission for the Met.