The new 2016/2017 Croatian National Theatre Ivan pl. Zajc season was announced at the press conference held on the 22nd of July. The theatre is undergoing changes, namely, it is being refurbished while the new management has been appointed. It is the lnternational National Theatre that is the motto of the new season as it is characterised by activities, projects and processes directed to the year 2020, namely, Rijeka as the European Capital of Culture. This motto is due to the continued cooperation with other European theatres, participation in international festivals, recording operas for leading international recording companies and last but not least – collaboration with first-rate artists from all over the world, explained Marin Blažević, acting general manager and opera director.
The acting Croatian Drama Company director Jelena Kovačić announced the new season with a great number of directors working in Croatia for the first time, also the first premiere in the new season taking place already on the 16th of September, when both the audience and the actors will be appearing together on the theatre stage, i.e., the first night of the «fantastic tragicomedy» The Master and Margarita directed by Selma Spahić, in the adaptation and dramaturgy by the rewarded Dino Pešut. Oliver Frljić’s project Our Violence and Your Violence (Naše nasilje i vaše nasilje) makes part of this season, however, as its premiere in a big international co-production took place at the Wiener Festwochen, it is in November that its first night will take place in Rijeka, following numerous performances on a tour around Europe. Ingmar Bergman’s Autumn Sonata will be performed in the dramaturgy of the rewarded Vuk Ršumović and Olga Dimitrijević and direction of Ana Tomović, while Mira Furlan will play Charlotte. Igor Vuk Torbica will direct the comedy on comedy Critique of The School for Wives by Jean Baptist Poquelin Moliѐre. It is for the youth that Jules Verne’s Around the World in Eighty Days in the direction of Matjaž Pograjc will be staged, while in the co-operation of the Croatian and Italian Drama Company Giorgio Amodeo will direct for children and in two languages Beware of the Wolf or the Little Red Riding Hood / Attenti al lupo ovvero Cappuccetto Rosso / Čuvaj se vuka ili Crvenkapica after Brothers Grimm. Reruns feature On the Grave of Stupid Europe (Nad grobom glupe Europe), Whore (Kurva), Trilogy on Croatian Fascism (Trilogija o hrvatskom fašizmu) and Big Bird, Blubber, Falco / Spillo, Ciccio, Falco / Dugonja, Trbonja, Vidonja.
Giuseppe Nicodemo, acting Italian Drama Company director, welcomed all and commented proudly on the season that was about to end. «The season has been a record one for the Italian drama with more than 60 performances with 10,000 spectators, 10 titles, 3 countries, 3 languages and only 8 actors. We are tired but exceptionally satisfied.» It is this year that the Italian Company and the Italian Community in Rijeka celebrate the 70th anniversary of its founding with The Mistress of the Inn (La locandiera), in the direction of one of the greatest European directors Paolo Magelli, while Twixt Land and Sea Tales (Racconti di costa e di mare) in the direction of Franco Però will accordingly be staged in the Italian Community hall. Taking into account numerous subscribers and school-going spectators, the Italian Company will also stage Even Fleas can cough (Anche le pulci hanno la tosse). Furthermore, the new season repertory features the musical comedy Cabaret d’Annunzio by Gianpiero Borgia and Tomizza’s Women (Le donne di Tomizza) as a staged reading in the direction of Marco Artusi. According to the wishes expressed by theatre spectators, it is for the first time that there will be five reruns, namely, Lunch Break Murders (Omicidi in pausa pranzo), Exodus – The Pentateuch #2 (Esodo Pentateuco #2), Big Bird, Blubber, Falco / Spillo, Ciccio, Falco / Dugonja, Trbonja, Vidonja and And what if instead of Pinocchio…(E se invece di Pinocchio…)
As part of its premiere repertory, the Opera Company will stage Werther by Jules Massenet with Fabrizio Melano as director and conductors Ville Matvejeff and Matija Fortuna alternating on the conductor’s podium, Ero the Joker by Jakov Gotovac directed by Lary Zappia with Ville Matvejeff, Matija Fortuna and Igor Vlajnić alternating as conductors, and also Otello by Giuseppe Verdi with Marin Blažević as director and Ville Matvejeff as conductor.
Next to these great opera titles, a special programme entitled Giorgio Surian introducing Il Barbiere di Siviglia will be staged in the adaptation and direction of this famous opera singer, who recently joined the ensemble of the Rijeka Opera Company.
The concert programme will symbolically begin with Beethoven’s Eroica, while other most famous Beethoven symphonies, the Fifth and Ninth, will be performed later on during the season. Gounod’s opera Faust will be performed in the concert version with Carlo Colombaro, Marjukka Tepponen, Lucio Gallo, Diana Haller, Waltteri Torikka and Ivana Srbljan as soloists.
Faust and the Gala Opera will open the Arioso cycle in the Vatroslav Lisinski Concert Hall in Zagreb, while the world premiere of Klotho-thread of the tales conducted by Berislav Šipuš will open the Music Biennale 2017. There will be a concert promotion of CD editions recorded this summer for the German recording company CPO, with works by Croatian composer Boris Papandopulo. Reruns feature Rigoletto, Giulio Cesare in Egitto and Carmen.
The Ballet Company acting director Balázs Baranyai announced the premiere of two works within one ballet evening, namely, Checkmate, a modern ballet based on the novel by Stefan Zweig, in the choreography by Raza Hammad, a Tunisian from France, and the abstract neoclassical ballet Dogma in the choreography of Balázs Baranyai. The highlight of the ballet season will be the premiere of the neoclassical ballet Swan Lake by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, in the choreography and direction of Lóránd Zachár, through the same well-known story though in a different way. Reruns feature the productions of ballets requested by the audience, namely, A Midsummer’s Night Dream by the choreographer Leo Mujić, as well as the festive Nutcracker Gala by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky in the choreography by Ronald Savković, with guests, principal Hungarian ballet soloists.
The acting technical director Alan Vukelić, who was also present, took the journalists through the theatre building showing them the works on the refurbishment of stalls that are being carried out thanks to the donors of the «Let us refurbish the Rijeka theatre building» action, also the capillary humidity rehabilitation financed by the City of Rijeka. He expressed the hope that all the works were going to be completed by the beginning of the new season so that the spectators could be welcomed in the refurbished theatre space.