- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 31, 2001

When Washington Opera Artistic Director Placido Domingo calls your direction and interpretation of "Madama Butterfly" one of the finest productions he ever has seen and the "best 'Madame Butterfly'" ever, what do you do?
Why, return the compliment, of course.
"There are very few people in the world to have such charisma," said Poland's Mariusz Trelinski, 39, following his first meeting with the acclaimed tenor and conductor. The subject praised was Mr. Trelinski's vivid take on the Puccini classic that had its American debut last week at Kennedy Center's Opera House. The two men are meeting again this week in Vienna to talk about working together in the future.
Being feted at the Polish Embassy the same day as their conversation was a double bonus. Friday's dinner reception, hosted by Ambassador Przemyslaw Grudzinski, brought together such longtime Washington Opera supporters as Selwa W. "Lucky" Roosevelt, Jane and Calvin Cafritz, Julia Ernst, Walter Arnheim, the company's executive director, and Robert Kraft, head of the opera's board of trustees who is bringing 32 people from his Sullivan and Cromwell law firm to see the production.
"It's startling, and very controversial, but this would bring young audiences to the opera," stated an impassioned Mrs. Cafritz. "He breathes new life into it."
Those were words after the youthful Mr. Trelinski's heart. "My duty is to change the style. To make a connection between the past and the present," he said in an aside at the reception, which also featured a show of opera posters by Polish-born artist Rafal Olbinski. "Opera too often looks like a museum. Opera has to bring together all the arts." Including, presumably, the filmic arts where the graduate of Poland's State School of Film, Television and Theatre first made his name.


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