“LA TRAVIATA” OF THE STARA ZAGORA OPERA – THE FIRST OPERA SPECTACLE IN KOSOVO
“A wonder! In a world in which theaters are closed down, we open a new theater in Kosovo!” – this wrote in his Facebook page the eminent Albanian baritone Gezim Myshketa
On 15 December at 19.00 on a specially built stage in the Sports Hall in Pristina – the capital of the Republic of Kosovo, will be the historical premiere of the spectacle of the opera “La traviata” by Giuseppe Verdi. This is the first whole opera spectacle, which will be presented in Kosovo. The production is of the Stara Zagora Opera, the scenography and costumes are by Boris Stoynov, and specially for the Kosovo soprano Besa Llugiqi, who will be in the role of Violetta Valery, were sewn in the Stara Zagora Opera to the project of the Italian artist Salvatore Russo. Director of the spectacle is Ognyan Draganov, conductor is Nayden Todorov, assistant conductor Chris McCracken from Great Britten.
The second spectacle is on 17 December. In the leading roles of the historical event for Kosovo, which is realized in cooperation with the Stara Zagora State Opera /Bulgaria/, The Opera for Theater and Ballet in Tirana /Albania/ and the Kosovo Philharmonic Orchestra the spectators will see also the Italian tenor Emanuele Dauganno – in the role of Alfredo Germont, and the Albanian baritone Gezim Myshketa will be in the role of Giorgio Germont. The tickets for the first performance were sold out long ago, Kosovo eagerly expects its first opera spectacle and is on the threshold to make come true the cherished dream of its musicians and opera singers to have its own opera theater.
The dramatic turns in the history of Kosovo stopped the creation of an Opera Theater many times, but did not decrease the enthusiasm of the artists and of the active musical and dance life. Kosovo creates and supports its music culture through the music schools, which even after they were banned in the 90s continue their work as private schools. This year the National Ballet of Kosovo celebrated its 50th anniversary, and the Kosovo Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir are part of the music tradition of Kosovo.
Kosovo is distinguished with its talents, who continue their education in the opened in 1973 Academy of the Arts /today Faculty of the Arts/. The hope of the creators and the artists is to have their own opera home and not to be forced to reorient to similar professions or rely only on their performances abroad. On 3 August 2021 The Parliament of Kosovo voted for the proposal-decision of the Government of Kosovo for the creation of an opera institution. Meriton Ferezi was appointed as performing the function of director of the Kosovo Opera. Appointed also was Preparatory Council for the initiation and functioning of the institution Kosovo Opera. This decision was welcomed by the professionals, but they clearly know that till the finalizing of the project there is a long way to go. The first step has already been made and on 15 December Kosovo will celebrate the premiere of its first opera performance.
Ognyan Draganov – managing director of the Stara Zagora Opera and director of the spectacle of the opera “La traviata”: “For me it is a very special moment to be the first director who stages an opera spectacle, as well as with the Stara Zagora Opera to be a partner of the making its first steps Opera in Kosovo. As early as 2016, when I took over the management of the Stara Zagora Opera, of the first Festival for the Opera and Ballet Arts, which we realized with my team in Stara Zagora, we created the Balkan Opera Network.
The idea was exactly this: to unite the efforts in the Balkans, in order to be able together to create productions, to exchange talents and experience and to popularize the achievements of the opera and ballet arts in the region. At our Festival regularly there are programs, which present the bright unique music culture of the separate Balkan countries. Such was the concert as well this year, where songs and instrumental pieces from Albania and Kosovo were performed.
A meeting which outlined also future joint projects with the National Opera in Tirana, Albania. I am impressed by the exceptional gifted people of Kosovo, among whom there shines Besa Llugiqi, whose talent we have enjoyed years on end in Stara Zagora, in Bulgaria. On our stage Besa Llugiqi recreated remarkable roles such as Lucia di Lammermoor in the eponymous opera by Donizetti, Mimi in “La boheme” by Puccini, Violetta in “La traviata” by Verdi, Ines in the first for Bulgaria and the region production of the opera “The African Woman” by Meyerbeer, and just less than a month ago – she was Margarita in the premiere of the opera with puppets “Faust” by Gounod. I believe that our cooperation with the Opera and Ballet in Kosovo will continue and will grow, and our Balkan Opera Network will be the uniting line for yet more large-scale and significant projects. Good luck and success to Opera Kosovo!”