Despite all the hardships, this season we managed to launch the Giorgio Surian Opera Studio thanks to you, dear audience, and to our guest soloists Maida Hundeling and Dubravka Šeparović Mušović, and soloist Giorgio Surian. Specifically, on the 135th anniversary of the opening of our Theater on October 3, 2020, a charity concert performance of Giuseppe Verdi’s opera Aida was held, with all proceeds from tickets, as well as guest soloist fees, designated for the launch of the Opera Studio.
The newly-opened Giorgio Surian Opera Studio has enriched the Rijeka Opera with powerful new young singers. We spoke with the participants about their previous work experience, about their impressions of the roles and performances they have already realized in our opera productions, and about their future professional plans.
You’ve already been introduced to Emilia Rukavina of Rijeka through her numerous roles on the Rijeka stage, and recently the mezzo-soprano shone in the role of Lola in Pietro Mascagni’s opera Cavalleria rusticana:
“The experience we gain with each rehearsal, through working with colleagues, directors and conductors cannot be compared to anything we’ve done so far; for the first time we have complete insight into how to prepare for a certain role, how to stand on stage, how to move, how to fill the space, and, perhaps most importantly, how to get the audience’s attention and help them fall in love with theatrical art.”
When asked about the most valuable experience in her work so far, she answered:“Well, I definitely consider working with colleagues the most valuable, and by that I mean the whole ensemble, from the orchestra to the choir, conductor, director, fellow singers, directors, costume designers, set designers… that collaboration is by far the most important when doing such large and demanding projects.
I think the professional team chose the best roles for me from this season’s repertoire, and so far I have sung two: Mercedes from the opera Carmen and Lola from the opera Cavalleria rusticana. I felt great in both roles and I think I managed to bring them out of myself in the most honest way, primarily as a singer but no less importantly in the acting portion of these roles. I will soon have a role in trousers, which I am especially looking forward to, and preparations for it have been underway for a long time: Cherubino in The Marriage of Figaro.”
Recently, our audience was delighted by soprano Darija Auguštan in the role of the touching Micaëla in Bizet’s opera Carmen:
“First of all, I would like to emphasize that participating in this newly opened Opera Studio is an extraordinary opportunity in an extraordinary situation! We are all very satisfied and grateful that we were given this opportunity to collaborate with the CNT Ivan pl. Zajc in Rijeka. It is very important for young singers to get a chance to develop on the stage; each show is a new challenge and a valuable experience. So far I have had the opportunity to play Micaëla in the opera Carmen by Georges Bizet at the Rijeka Theater, which is a demanding but extremely rewarding role. It was great to work with experienced colleagues like Anamarija Knego and Aljaž Farasin; they all supported me and shared useful pointers. The collaboration with the newly appointed chief conductor Valentin Egel and director Marin Blažević started excellently – everyone can feel safe and relaxed with them, and in that way progress. We had enough musical and blocking rehearsals, so I felt completely ready when it came time to perform. Everything went great, and after the performance everyone had words of praise. I have to say a big thank you to them and to Professor Giorgio Surian who showed confidence in us and gave us the chance to continue to develop as performers on the theater floor. Professor Surian always has quality advice for the future and nice words for the young people. Given the current situation in the world and our country, it means a lot to have one constant and security, and that is exactly what this opera studio offers. Despite the situation, the performances are still taking place, so I will have the opportunity to perform the role of Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro by W.A. Mozart in May this year. I am very excited about this project because Mozart is my great love, and this is one of the best roles for young lyrical sopranos like me. I love performing with an orchestra, which in the current situation is such a rare opportunity; it’s rare to even sing for an audience! It’s a wonderful feeling when the audience is touched and fulfilled after the show – that’s why we do this job. We hope that the epidemiological situation will soon be better and that the time of crowded halls and theaters will come again!”
You will be able to see another student of the Studio tomorrow, February 13, when he will sing the role of Gastone in Verdi’s opera La Traviata. On the eve of his first performance, young tenor Filip Filipović says:
“I have been working with Professor Giorgio Surian at the Academy in Zagreb for two years now. I can say that we understand each other very well and we have established a great relationship that helps me a lot in building my singing technique. The experience I gain in the work of the Opera Studio is very important to me – getting to know the work in the theater, collaboration with the conductor, director, singers and other employees, the preparation and improvement of the role. I am grateful that I was given the opportunity to work at the Giorgio Surian Opera Studio, which is also my first professional contract with the theater. Participating in a theater project as a soloist is always a special feeling for me that makes me strive to give the audience more. This season I am making my debut in La Traviata as Gastone, followed by the roles of Don Basilio and Don Curzio in The Marriage of Figaro, the role of Spoletta in Tosca and Mozart: Requiem.”