In the early 1860s, when Stanislaw Moniuszko wrote The Haunted Manor, Russian authorities controlled Poland. “The piece has a kind of esprit of gaiety about it,” says David Pountney, director of this production, “it’s deliberately trying to be light because it doesn’t want to attract attention to the fact that it’s quite patriotic, because obviously Poland was occupied at the time it was written.” The Russians weren’t fooled—they banned it. But slowly and steadily Moniuszko’s best opera is winning acclaim for its musical invention and joie de vivre. —L.J.
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