Like Glinka in Russia and Smetana in the Czech countries, Moniuszko is seen in Poland as the father of Polish opera.
After studying harmony and composition at the conservatories in Warsaw and Berlin, he was appointed organist in the St John's parish in Vilnius, where he also taught piano and conducted the local theatre orchestra. He was particularly drawn to vocal music and began composing his first vocal works - operas, operattas and songs - in 1840. His operas draw on Polish folklore, popular songs, polonaises and mazurkas. They reveal the influence of German Romanticism, Italian opera and Polish theatre.
Moniuszko wrote a Treatise on Harmony. He is very famous in Poland, where an auditorium in Warsaw's Grand Theatre bears his name.
Four landmark dates in the life of Stanislaw Moniuszko:
• 1837: Began studying composition in Berlin
• 1840: Composed his first operas
• 1858: His opera Halka was a success; he met Smetana, Liszt, Rossini and Auber, and was appointed director of the Warsaw opera house.
• 1871: His Treatise on Harmony was published in Warsaw
Six key works by Stanisław Moniuszko:
• 1839: First string quartet
• 1840: Second string quartet
• 1848: Halka, an opera in 4 acts, the first Polish nationalist opera
• 1858-1859: Hrabina (The Countess), a satirical opera
• 1861: _Verbum Nobil, _an opera in one act
• 1865: Straszny dwor (The Haunted Manor), opera