Dear opera lovers,
There is another opera season ahead of us, full of surprises and exciting titles. Diversity as an underlying theme will also be reflected in the Opera. Thus, four premiere titles will be performed in four different languages, each opera premiere bearing a different stylistic expression.
We are beginning the season with the most famous Croatian opera Nikola Šubić Zrinski by Ivan pl. Zajc, with new staging and after more than twenty years. Dora Ruždjak Poldolski’s sensibilities, inventiveness and confidence can guarantee that the new Zrinski will be the opera to be performed for years on the stage of the Rijeka Opera. The premiere and first performances will be conducted by Ville Matvejeff, our principal guest conductor. It is definitely a rarity, if not unprecedented, for a Zajc opera to be under the baton of a conductor whose origins are not Slavic. Giorgio Surian, our principal soloist, is performing as Zrinski in the premiere cast, while Kristina Kolar, also our principal soloist, is in the role of his wife Eve. Anamarija Knego and Aljaž Farasin are in the roles of the couple in love, Jelena and Juranic.
We have another French title on stage in January. Following the success of Werther, we are bringing the timeless love story of Romeo and Juliet in one of the best known opera versions, namely, that of Gounod. We are staging this great project in the coproduction with Fondazione Ravenna Manifestazioni. There will be even two casts with a great number of international names. In leading roles there will be Rijeka stars Anamarija Knego and Aljaž Farasin. In the dramaturgy-direction of Marin Blažević and under the baton of Paolo Olmi, Romeo and Juliet is also an ideal title for all lovers of Shakespeare who still have to fall in love with opera. It is easy with Gounod, immensely beautiful melodies follow the whole opera, be it in love, fighting or tragic scenes.
Laughter always follows tears. Thus, in March we will be able to relax and laugh at the comic plot and a number of unexpected dramatic turns in The Marriage of Figaro, one of the most frequently performed Mozart operas. Under the baton of the proven Maestro Stefano Rabaglia and in the direction of Ewa Buchmann, the cast will feature a great number of our soloists, as Anamarija Knego, Robert Kolar, Dario Bercich, Ivana Srbljan, Slavko Sekulić and others. This performance is in the co-production with the Piccolo Festival del Friuli Venezia Giulia from Italy and the Amsterdam studio Punto Arte.
The great finale and crown of the opera season will definitely be Elektra by Strauss. This work is a great challenge for every opera house. In our case this challenge also means a bit of madness! It is only the second opera by Strauss, after Der Rosenkavalier, to be performed in Rijeka. This opera, a culmination of expressionism and modernism in the opus by Richard Strauss, provokes astonishment still nowadays, fascinating also with the complexity of the score that with its power and directness follows the libretto up to the minutest detail and relations among protagonists. Electra is one of the most difficult roles ever composed for a dramatic soprano, in Rijeka to be sung by Maida Hundeling. Dubravka Šeparović is coming back to the Rijeka Opera stage in the role of Electra’s mother Clytemnestre, Giorgio Surian, continuing his incredible sequence of artistic challenges, as Electra’s brother Orestes. In co-operation with the Slovenian Philharmonic, the orchestra will have more than100 musicians playing under the baton of Maestro Ville Matvejeff.
Petar Kovačić, Opera director