8 December 2022 - 16 April 2023
The "Lutnia" choir is the oldest continuously operating amateur choir in Poland. This year marks the 150th anniversary of its existence. To mark the occasion, an anniversary exhibition is on display at the Saltworks Castle until April 16. The exhibition shows unknown and previously unpublished materials, such as private photographs from trips and meetings. Among the memorabilia on display are the Statute of 1874 approved by the C.K. of Austria-Hungary in Lvov, decorations and statuettes, the oldest surviving photographs, diplomas, chronicles, posters and costumes. Exceptionally valuable is the ebony baton used by conductor Mieczyslaw Nigrin.
It was established to integrate
The Lutnia Singing Society was founded in 1872 on the initiative of teachers Franciszek Groele and Aleksander Duchowicz. From its inception, it fulfilled the role of integrating the local community, and membership was an honor and a matter of honor for representatives of the Wieliczka intelligentsia. The society was strongly connected with the salt mine, many of its members were employees of the mine, and the conductors and presidents were choristers of the saline orchestra. Initially it was a men's choir. In 1881, ladies were invited to sing together, and it was formed today as a mixed choir. In 1916 the name of the choir changed - "Muse" became "Lute".
To awaken patriotism
The choir aimed at patriotic upbringing of young people, spreading Polishness, awakening national and cultural consciousness, religious values and learning the native language. Also important was local patriotism and the singing of miners' songs so fondly performed to this day. Until World War II, the choir was also involved in staging operas and had its own orchestra.
Everything in Wieliczka happens with Lutnia
Concerts, May festivals, musical and vocal evenings with dances and celebrations of national anniversaries as well as important events in Wieliczka happened with the singing of the Lute. In 1903, the choir graced the unveiling of Adam Mickiewicz's monument, in 1906 it took part in the consecration ceremony of St. Sebastian's Church after its renovation was completed, and in 1966 it sang during the grand opening of the Museum in the salt mine. To this day, he still sings at Viennese patriotic and religious ceremonies, as well as those organized by the Museum.
The two world wars, although they left a painful mark, did not interrupt the activities of the "Lute". Many of its members took part in fighting at the front and those who remained secretly, exposing themselves to repression, organized meetings and aid for the families of the fallen and those injured in the war effort.
Open to the world
After 1989, new opportunities arose, and they were eager to establish cooperation with other choirs and cultural and educational institutions. Above all, however, Lutnia traveled to give concerts in Western Europe - to Germany, France, Holland, the Czech Republic and Ukraine being an ambassador of Polish musical culture.
Curator: Urszula Mróz, Department of Material Culture of Mining
Visual design: Aneta Łapczyńska