The renewal of the opera Julius Caesar in Egypt – Anew on Friday, February 26, 2021 will be the fourth opera title to be performed in Zajc in the span of just five weeks. At a time when most European and even world theaters are closed due to the pandemic, with even the few that are open rarely performing operas, the Rijeka National Theatre is noting a real boom of opera performances fully adapted to all anti-epidemic measures and recommendations. Thanks to creative solutions, opera has returned to the theatre program, with some anti-epidemic measures entering directly into the director’s concept of the show. This is why, after the last reprise of Bizet’s Carmen was performed on January 23, we witnessed the premiere of Mascagni’s Cavalleria rusticana just four days later, on January 27, followed by the premiere of Verdi’s La Traviata after just twelve more days, on February 8.
Tomorrow’s renewal of Händel’s Julius Caesar, conducted by maestro and harpsichordist Ville Matvejeff and directed and dramatized by Marin Blažević, returns a real baroque spectacle to the Rijeka stage for the final time before its guest appearance at the prestigious Savonlinna Opera Festival in Finland.
In this renewed version, the selected solo team will be led by Diana Haller as Julius Caesar and Anamarija Knego as Cleopatra, and will be joined once again by Dubravka Šeparović Mušović, Michaela Selinger and Sonja Runje, who have already won over audiences and critics alike with their performances in this show. Ivan Šimatović will perform once again, and bass-baritone Luka Ortar and countertenor Franko Klisović will make their debuts in this opera title.
We conclude with the reminder that critics have praised the show as “fascinating and coherent,” as a “feat and triumph of individual and collective art and theatre art at its best,” a show that “offers much more than a great opera performance,” as “theatrical magic worthy of world stages,” or “a pleasure that is viewed with wide open eyes and that reveals the magic of baroque music.” Beyond Rijeka, the show also delighted the audience in Ljubljana during a guest appearance at the Cankar Centre.
We will continue the opera marathon in March with new performances of Carmen and Traviata.