The premiere of the opera Macbeth in the CNT Ivan pl. Zajc at 19 hours on 14th April 2018 launches the Verdi-Shakespeare-Surian Trilogy, a unique opera project in Croatia and the biggest project of the Rijeka Opera ever!
These are three Verdi’s operas created after Shakespeare’s plays, namely, Macbeth, Otello and Falstaff, to be performed in a little more than three weeks. In all three of them, the national soloist Giorgio Surian will sing the lead roles of Macbeth, Iago and Falstaff.
The dramaturge and director Marin Blažević spoke about one of the first and main reasons for staging the Trilogy, namely, about Giorgio Surian: “The three operas are connected with the historic challenge of Giorgio Surian to sing in three lead roles and perform them one after another in three weeks. In the twenty years of my theoretical, critical and dramaturgical research and writing on the phenomenon and performance of acting, never have I met a stage artist who would in such a deliberate and precise, a positively ideal measure, construct and integrate technical, normative, dramatic and character, ethical and entirely personal dimension of his complex acting personality. Indeed, the acting performance of Giorgio Surian can be described only by the concept of one of the greatest thinkers of acting of the twentieth century, Branko Gavella. If you would like to understand what Gavella could have meant by the concept of an ideal acting personality – watch and study each look and gesture of Giorgio Surian. If asking yourself what it could have been like to experience the performance of Maria Callas, the artist who revolutionised the opera performance regarding acting and singing, it is Giorgio Surian who provides the answer.”
Our renowned bas-baritone Giorgio Surian said these are grandiose roles, so that after the praised and awarded Otello, the other two operas are bound to please the audience. One of the reasons for this project to be realised is definitely the Opera ensemble and its own singing forces. There are no guests soloists in Macbeth, while in Otello it is only Luis Chapa, and in Falstaff Aljaž Farasin and Biljana Kovač. Blažević pointed out that the soloists of the three operas were a continuous inspiration so that the direction and choreography resulted from their personalities. “We are lucky to have such soloists in the ensemble. Kristina Kolar as Lady Macbeth has managed to combine the demonic wish for power and fragility, fear and insecurity. Anamarija Knego, whose role of Desdemona has been termed as an anthological achievement, will prove to be an amazing actress and comedienne in Falstaff. Owing to female characters in Macbeth, Otello and Falstaff, the team of authors dedicate the Trilogy to the female gender and the battle for their rights.”
Macbeth’s conductor is Marco Boemi, who the Rijeka audience had the opportunity to meet at the exceptional ECoC and CNT Gala concert held on 5th of March. He described Macbeth as the most interesting of the first Verdi’s operas due to the correlation between words and music, all that goes on theatrically, the believable story and the surprise that the young Verdi provided. “If you look at the score, Macbeth has the biggest number of instructions, incredible and modern! This opera is a special one! Without the brilliant Macbeth there is no Macbeth, whereas Giorgio Surian is a giant. He is a great artist and professional going ever more precisely and deeper into the role, always reassessing and working additionally. Kristina Kolar has a beautiful voice and the acting force necessary for the Lady Macbeth that Verdi conceived”, said Maestro Boemi.
An important dramaturge-director’s associate on the Trilogy is the choreographer of the three operas, Selma Banich, who spoke of the conception of opera in the twenty-first century, of how the minimalist choreography of the chorus was worked out, expressing the coherency of the collective.
The Rijeka Opera director Petar Kovačić praised the Opera chorus that works on three operas in three weeks, also the orchestra that in a short time works on entirely different programmes, from operas to the concert in the Zagreb Lisinski, from which they had just returned. “Three are the conductors and three operas. Marco Boemi, Zoran Juranić and Ville Matvejeff. It will be interesting to hear how and how much the sound changes with the same corpus but with a different conductor. Follow it!” said the Opera director.
The general manager Marin Blažević expressed gratitude to INA for their sponsorship of Falstaff. Ms. Sanja Jakovac Šepić, Production Planning and Control manager in INA, Rijeka Oil Refinery, said: ”Since its establishment, INA has invested into local projects, while the rich cultural content is what the Rijeka community is known for. I am extremely delighted that this unique staging of the opera Falstaff will be performed in our city of Rijeka, the European Capital of Culture 2020, INA having been involved as a sponsor. Namely, INA has actively supported different activities that contribute to the development of the society as a whole, which especially regards the areas in which we work, such as Rijeka and its surroundings. These valuable projects, as the performance of Verdi’s operas based on Shakespeare’s plays, contribute to the cultural and tourist offer, not only of Rijeka, but the whole of Croatia”.
In all the three operas of the Trilogy, beside the dramaturge-director Marin Blažević and choreographer Selma Banich, the associates are the costume designer Sandra Dekanić and the lighting designer Dalibor Fugošić. Next to Giorgio Surian, other soloists in the three operas are Dario Bercich and Marko Fortunato. With the Opera orchestra and chorus, Ballet ensemble, as well as the attendants of the Rijeka Youth Theatre Kamov. Igor Vlajnić is the conductor’s assistant and Gilda Maria Castellano the dramaturge-director’s assistant.
The soloist cast of Macbeth features Giorgio Surian, Kristina Kolar, Dario Bercich and Slavko Sekulić alternating, Marko Fortunato, Vanja Zelčić, Davor Lešić, Saša Matovina, Morana Pleše, Nataliya Marycheva, as well as Luka Babić and Jan Čar alternating.
Otello is conducted by Zoran Juranić. Lighting and stage design are by Dalibor Fugošić and Alan Vukelić. The concertmaster is Anton Kyrylov, Nicoletta Olivieri is the chorus master, Doris Kovačić and Suzana Štefanić have prepared the Children’s Chorus. With the Opera orchestra and chorus, as well as the Theatre Ballet, with Toretta Children’s Chorus and Josip Kaplan Young Women’s Chorus. Igor Vlajnić is the conductor’s assistant, while the dramaturge-director’s assistant is Katherine Maudline.
The soloist cast of Otello features Luis Chapa, Anamarija Knego, Giorgio Surian, Ivana Srbljan, Marko Fortunato, Voljen Grbac, Slavko Sekulić and Dario Bercich.
Ville Matvejeff conducts Falstaff. The team of authors features also the set designer Dalibor Laginja. Lada Čale Feldman and P. A. Skantze have made textual interventions. Anton Kyrylov is concertmaster, Nicoletta Olivieri is chorus master, also in charge of vocal coaching. Beatrice Venezi is the conductor’s assistant and Gilda Maria Castellano is the dramaturge-director’s assistant. With the CNT Ivan p. Zajc orchestra and chorus.
The soloist cast of Falstaff features Giorgio Surian, Anamarija Knego and Ingrid Haller alternating, Vanja Zelčić, Biljana Kovač, Ivana Srbljan, Robert Kolar, Aljaž Farasin, Sergej Kiselev, Marko Fortunato and Dario Bercich.
Reruns of Macbeth are at 19 hours on 16th and 17th April.
The performance of Otello within the Trilogy is at 19 hours on 23rd April.
The premiere of Falstaff follows at 19 hours on 7th May. Reruns are at 19 hours on 10th May and 18 hours on 12th May.