Rijeka opera singer Viktor Bušljeta, a famous tenor whose creations are still recalled with admiration, has died, though he had already long since left the opera stage.
Born in Rijeka in 1932, he became a member of the Rijeka Opera Choir in 1962, and an opera soloist in 1966.
With his exceptional solo achievements, those unforgettable first-class creations, he greatly enriched and permanently impacted the period of the 1970s and 1980s in Rijeka and Croatian opera, as well as the music world in general.
In addition to performing excellent roles in the opera house of his native Rijeka, he was a regular guest performer with constant collaborations in opera houses throughout the former Yugoslavia, from Ljubljana and Maribor to Zagreb, Osijek, Split, Belgrade and Skopje. He also performed for various international theatre audiences.
On top of a series of awards and recognitions throughout his active work, in 2013 he received the City of Rijeka Lifetime Achievement Award. That same year, a documentary exhibition titled “Viktor Bušljeta – The Unforgettable Radames of Rijeka” (“Viktor Bušljeta – nezaboravni riječki Radames”) was set up in Zajc, which, with the help of photographs and news articles from the archives of the CNT Rijeka, provided a brief overview of Bušljeta’s rich career.
In the catalog accompanying the exhibition at the time, musicologist Maria Barbieri wrote: “That name causes sighs among opera lovers. With today’s complete lack of tenors, especially the lyric-spinto and dramatic, and without a particularly plenteous offer of such voices in the world, it seems almost unreal that in the seventies and eighties of the last century, we had such a singer as Viktor Bušljeta. When Bušljeta operated in our area, and when for years he was the first choice for the so-called ‘iron repertoire,’ there was no need to ponder where Radames, Manrico, Riccardo, the Duke of Mantua, Turiddu, Pollione, Andrea Chenier, or Rodolfo were. He was there, within reach, always completely ready and reliable, a singer who could not fail…
Viktor Bušljeta was unique and inimitable! Irreplaceable!”