Gold Medal "Gloria Artis" for Gerard Mortier

Gerard Mortier at the Embassy of Poland Gerard Mortier at the Embassy of Poland
On 22 January 2010, Mr Bogdan Zdrojewski, Polish minister for culture and national heritage, presented the ‘Gloria Artis’ gold medal for Cultural Merit to Gerard Mortier, a great friend of Polish culture. The ceremony took place at the Polish embassy in Brussels.
Representatives from the Belgian cultural world took part in the ceremony, including directors of institutions such as Bozar, Flagey and the Flanders festival.

The ‘Gloria Artis’ gold medal for Cultural Merit is awarded to people whose work has stood out in the field of artistic creation, cultural activity or the protection of Polish culture or national heritage. In his functions as director and head of programming in important European cultural institutions, Gerard Mortier has promoted and encouraged artists from different countries, in particular Poland. At the time he was in charge of the establishment, big names from the world of Polish singing emerged at the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie: Elżbieta Szmytka, Barbara Mądra, Elżbieta Ardam, Joanna Kozłowska, Zofia Kilanowicz, Jadwiga Rappé, Stefania Toczyska and Ewa Podleś, as well as Marek Torzewski, Wojtek Drabowicz and Wiesław Ochman. Morier also invited Krzysztof Penderecki to direct an oratorio which was played at the Palais de Beaux-Arts as part of the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie’s programme. Andrzej Wajda directed Stanisław Wyspiański’s The Wedding at the Salzburg Festival when Gerard Mortier was its director. Singers Aleksandra Zamojska and Anna Radziejewska also performed there. The European success enjoyed by Krzysztof Warlikowski as an operatic director can be traced back to the Opéra national de Paris under the directorship of Gerard Mortier. Warlikowski staged three large-scale productions there: Gluck’s Iphigénie en Tauride,The Makropulos Affair by Janáček and Wagner’s Parsifal.Aleksandra Zamojska, Anna Radziejewska and Bartłomiej Misiuda were just some singers taken on by Gerard Mortier.
In 2009, Gerard Mortier put on a version of Król Rogier (‘King Roger’) by Karol Szymanowski in Paris, which was directed by Krzysztof Warlikowski. This was a chance to see, amongst others, Mariusz Kwiecień, Olga Pasiecznik and Jadwiga Rappé.
We also have G. Mortier to thank for an opera based on Iwona, księżniczka Burgunda (‘Yvonne, Princess of Burgundy’) by Witold Gombrowicz. This production, which was first presented in Paris, opened the 2010/2011 season at La Monnaie.
G. Mortier continues to promote Polish culture abroad: indeed, it is he who will present Król Rogier at Madrid’s Royal Opera House during the second half of 2011. Gerard Mortier can unquestionably be considered one of the greatest promoters of Polish culture in Europe.

Gerard Mortier began his career as deputy director of the Flanders Festival. Between 1973 and 1980, he was artistic director of the theatres of Düsseldorf, Frankfurt and Hamburg. In 1981, he was asked to become the director general of the Brussels opera house, the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie, which became, under him, one of the most important opera houses in Europe. Ten years later, he was appointed director of the Salzburg Festival, where he remained for six seasons. In response to a call by the government of the German Land of North-Rhine Westphalia, he set up, and directed from 2001, the ‘RuhrTriennale 2002-2004’ which took place in areas formerly given over to industry. In parallel, since December 2001, he has been deputy director of the Paris Opera. Between July 2004 and the end of 2009, he was the Opera’s director general. Having turned down an offer to direct the New York City Opera, he has been working since the start of 2010 with the Teatro Real, or Madrid City Opera.

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