24 December 2020

Just before the end of a year that was rather unkind to the theatre and presented us with completely new challenges, we can still share great news with you. While we eagerly wait for the opera to return to the stage of the Rijeka Theatre, we are pleased to announce groundbreaking news to all fans of the opera, as well as to those who have yet to be convinced that the opera is truly irresistible. We’ll proceed in order, though that order is difficult to decide when every bit of news is better than the last.

Maestro Valentin Egel, the recently-appointed conductor of our Opera, has already become a new favorite of the Rijeka audience, and the Rijeka Symphony Orchestra is obviously delighted with his talent, knowledge and enthusiasm. A joint initiative of all the musicians in the Orchestra initiated the procedure and completed the selection of Maestro Egel as the new chief conductor of the Rijeka Symphony Orchestra and the Rijeka Opera. Fortunately, we will not have to wait long to be able to see and hear Maestro Egel and the Rijeka Symphony Orchestra, as we will, while strictly adhering to all anti-epidemic measures, be with them at the already sold-out New Year’s gala concerts “Dances for Your Soul” from December 27-31. The symphony concert “Milestones: Zajc, Beethoven, Shostakovich” also awaits us at the beginning of January, also under the direction of our new chief conductor Valentin Egel. You can find out more about Valentin Egel at this link.

Moving on!
We all still vividly remember Maida Hundeling’s roles in Rijeka, her Elektra and Isolde, which earned her several minutes of standing ovations, as well as Aida, which she performed on the Rijeka stage at the beginning of the season. This now-former guest performer has accepted the invitation of the intendant of the Rijeka CNT, and enters the new year with us as a new honorary member of the Rijeka Opera alongside our Diana Haller and doyen Giorgio Surian!
The international career of this German soprano has developed in many prominent opera houses such as the Royal Opera in London, the Vienna National Opera, the Prague Opera, the Grand Opera in Houston and others, and next summer she will perform for audiences in the Verona Arena!
You can find out more about Maida Hundeling at this link.

Moving on!
Michaela Selinger is joining us as the newest member of the Opera ensemble! She first delighted the audience and critics as Sesto in Julius Caesar, then as the irresistible Carmen. We can’t wait to see the new Theatre principal, as soon as circumstances allow, once again in the role of Bizet’s heroine.
The Austrian mezzo-soprano began her career at the Austrian opera houses in Klagenfurt and Innsbruck. She then became a member of the Vienna State Opera, and her career soon because international: she has performed at the Salzburg Festival, at the Munich State Opera, the Royal Albert Hall in London, the Santa Cecilia Academy and the Rome Opera, the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, the New National Theatre in Tokyo, the Sydney Opera House, and more.

We end this series of good news with the announcement that our George Surian Opera Studio will begin working in January. The first participants in this Studio by our national opera champion and winner of two lifetime achievement awards (by the City of Rijeka in 2019 and the Croatian Theatre in 2020) will be three young singers, students of the Zagreb Academy of Music: Darija Auguštan, Filip Filipović and Emilia Rukavina. We will soon see them in their first roles on the Rijeka opera stage.
First and foremost, see you at the New Year’s concerts with their dance music as we move towards a new, hopefully much better 2021 that we hope will return the opera to our stage already in January.