Requiem for an icon

(original title: Requiem dla Ikony)

Category opera
Year Composed 2015
Duration 70 Minutes
Orchestration soprano, baritone, actress, choir, 3 boys, chamber ensemble (fl, ob, cl/bcl, pno, perc., synth, vln, vla, cello, dbass and electronics
Availability conctact composer

Premiere 22/05/2015
Original performer Orchestra of the Polish National Opera House, Henry Vega – electronics

Commissioned by Polish National Opera


requiem_29_fotHenryVegaMORE PHOTOS: here


Introit( scene 1)
In the opening scene we find Jackie presenting a recipe for meringue to the television audience. She is accompanied by her doppelgänger (played by the actress) and Ron, who is now taking a role of tv director. She is obsessed by perfection and rules – that’s why she wants to do several takes. Her voice is scattered. She sings, speaks, talks. She is not sure who she is herself. This scene is inspired by the famous White House tour film that Kennedy did 1962.

Ritual and Offertorium (scene 2-3)
In the photographic studio of Ron (the paparazzi), Jackie is taking a photo session. There are make up artists, hair stylists and support staff (choir). She is instructed on how to “hold head high” and on the duties of wife. It’s a grooming of the future wife of president. Historical quotes taken from interviews with Maria Callas.

Dies Irae (scene 4)
In the glow of projection camera Jackie is giving birth to a still born son, while Ron (as JFK) is giving presidential inauguration speech. Reference to 2 miscarriages and Kennedy’s infant son who died shortly after birth. Jackie’s voice is here stretched to the limits of range and takes on dramatic stand.

Sanctus (scene 5)
After drama of scene 4, choir of mothers puts 3 dead boys to sleep.

Agnus Dei (scene 6)In plain, white and extremely high voice, Jackie relives the assassination of her husband. She is still concerned with the way she looks and presents herself (“what cry suits the pink suit”), but becomes increasingly intimate and exposed with her pain and her identity. The doppelgänger is now gaining voice and becomes Her. The music in the scene ends with authentic, historical recording registered by the police radio during the assassination of the president, that is transformed into the growing panic of the crowd. Jackie however stays alone on the stage, perhaps for the first time touching and experiencing her own identity and her own true self.


“Katarina Głowicka, author of “Requiem for an icon,” the story of Jackie

Kennedy and the first paparazzo feels well opera form and knows how to lead the soloists through a labyrinth of harmonies, live instruments and electronics.”
DOROTA Kozińska 06.01.2015, Tygodnik Powszechny

“In “Requiem for and Icon” heroine’s tale is built on an internal dilemma. Katarina Głowicka, undoubtedly one of the most outstanding personalities of the

young generation of Polish composers deftly, freshly and creatively uses all sorts of” iconic “conventions of classical music.

It’s still alive operatic singing, though gradually sounding more and more unnatural and strange; this commenting choirs and tones of lament, and particularly close to the composer repetition of American minimalism and electronic sounds. Contrasting neurotic figures – and long, mutating soundscapes. The eclectic landscape of the music that draws you in and intrigues is also in close relationship with the text ”

"What makes the music of Kasia Głowicka special? First of all space. Deep and extensive (…) Seasoned composer – the clear intentions and the feeling for ‘big form’."

Jan Topolski

Musica 21 Magazine

"exacting musical intelligence"

Bernard Clarke

RTE National Radio, Ireland

"brilliant media artists”…”wisely explore the stylistical choke points of a possible junction between classical music, ambient and minimalism"

Vito Camarretta

"her powerful Kyrie made me fight to maintain my composure. (…) I had never heard great new Polish music in Poland before, and I was deeply deeply moved by that experience."

William Anderson

"Her music was praised for its powerful sense of theatre. …excellent music."

Genesis Foundation

"Complex, yet accessible. Very powerful music"

Fuell Theater