Ero the Joker

As Jakov Gotovac’s most successful work, the opera Ero the Joker has been considered one of the best Slavic comic operas for a long time. Since its premiere in the Croatian National Theatre in 1935, it has been an almost constant part of the repertoires of all Croatian national theatres. Many reviews of productions on foreign stages consider Ero a symbol of Croatian opera, bringing the songs and dances of its homeland to the world, through impeccably intertwined lyrics and music. The chromatic musical scale, rich orchestration, lively rhythms, and continuously flowing, melodic vocal lines are closely tied to the exceptional libretto by Milan Begović, which is full of humorous verses. The main character of the opera and the central figure of the narrative is Mića, a young man from a wealthy rural family in the Dalmatian hinterland. While looking for a girl he could marry, he follows his… više

Nikola Šubić Zrinjski

The premiere of the opera Nikola Šubić Zrinjski in 1876, by Ivan pl. Zajc, the founder of the Zagreb opera theatre, was extraordinarily successful. Following the Croatian hero Nikola Šubić Zrinjski’s last days in Siget and his heroic death, this opera has to this day kept an exceptional and honourable place on the Croatian opera scene. The opera owes its great popularity to its portrayal of a real hero from the history of Croatia, who saved Slavonia from complete enslavement during difficult times of Turkish invasion. Although he could not prevent the Turks from occupying some towns, he courageously died while defending Siget. Apart from the strongly patriotic atmosphere of the opera, an important feature of Zajc’s writing is visible in his display of two differentiated and opposed worlds, each of them carrying their own characteristics. Thoughtfully profiling the characters of Zrinjski… više

Hillary the Witch Goes to Opera

‘Theatre engages man in play and play is a divine activity of the human spirit. Opera sings about tales of love and love is a spontaneous play in which free will achieves its intuitive minimum. Having love as a law, we have imagination as our leader.’ These are the words of the director Lemo from the announcement of the premiere of this short opera play intended for young children, where he also defined opera as ‘music which comes from the far corners of the universe in order to tell its magical stories.’ Simple and entertaining content, wonderful music, and the introduction of new content in a way that is interesting to and well-received by children made the show Hillary the Witch Goes to Opera extremely popular, especially with younger children. Only three performers, with energetic acting and singing in the marvellous environment of the theatre foyer where the play is performed,… više

La Bohème

Puccini’s opera about Parisian bohemians, despite its unsuccessful premiere, was received with standing ovations at every subsequent performance, so much so that the La Bohème has become one of the most popular operas in history. The libretto, based on the novel Scènes de la vie de bohème by Henri Murger, describes the world of students and artists in the Latin Quarter in Paris. The poignant story about young and penniless Parisians and their unhappy love lives won over opera houses all around the world and served as an inspiration to many authors for their own works in various genres. Rodolphe and Mimi are the main protagonists of events which illustrate the fate of several young men and women who, despite poverty and squalor, do not lose faith in love. Mimi’s tragic end deepens the impression left by this great love story which continues to thrill opera lovers old and new. With… više

The Sicilian Vespers

Giuseppe Verdi’s great opera was first performed in Paris in 1855. It was censored in Italy due to its patriotic content and was performed in Milan’s La Scala under its original title only in 1864, after the unification of Italy. The title refers to the rebellion on Easter Monday in 1282, when the Sicilians rose against and massacred their French occupiers. The conflict between the Sicilians and the French offers a frame for another, more intimate conflict, in the lives of Helena, a patriotic Sicilian noblewoman, and Henry, who has just discovered that he is the illegitimate son of the French governor De Montforte. After a failed conspiracy, it seems that all will end well with the wedding of the two lovers and reconciliation between the Sicilians and the French; however, the rebels decide to go through with the massacre of the French. The Sicilian Vespers is a unique and complex opera… više

The Marriage of Figaro

This four-act comic opera is one of Mozart’s masterpieces. The plot focuses on a hectic day in the life of Count Almaviva who, enchanted by the Countess’s chambermaid Susanna, tries to impose on her the feudal custom allowing a master to spend a night with the bride-to-be on the eve of her wedding. The plot is full of twists and turns, disguises, cases of mistaken identity and gender, and the protagonists experience a day filled with irresistible passion. After general chaos and many comical situations, it becomes clear that the servants have managed to outfox their masters. The Count’s crafty and nimble servant Figaro, betrothed to Susanna, is the opera’s main schemer whose every intention succeeds. The libretto was written by Lorenzo da Ponte who based it on the famous comedy of Beaumarchais with the same title, which uncannily prefigured the French Revolution. Although Mozart’s… više

La Traviata

The popularity of Verdi’s tragic tale about the love between the courtesan Violetta Valéry – la Traviata – and Alfredo Germont does not fade. Based on Dumas’ The Lady of the Camellias, in which Germont falls hopelessly in love with one of the most popular courtesans of Paris, this is the most famous melodramatic opera. Their love is not approved of and Alfredo’s father begs Violetta to renounce his son for the sake of their family, which she does. In the finale, Violetta dies of tuberculosis in the arms of her beloved Alfredo. Verdi’s superb orchestration, wonderful chorus parts, lyrical love scenes, melodramatic conflicts and the tragic ending explain why this opera enchants audiences of all ages. Although set in the mid-nineteenth century, the story about an impossible love between a fallen woman and a wealthy young man is timeless. The sublimity of feeling, the unexpected… više

Don Pasquale

The comic opera Don Pasquale by the Italian composer Gaetano Donizetti, a masterpiece of its genre, was created in the final period of his career and has featured regularly in the repertoires of the world’s greatest opera houses for over 170 years. Donizetti gave precise subtitles to all of his comic operas, with Don Pasquale designated a dramma buffo. The opera’s premiere in 1843 achieved great success and it soon became one of his most popular works. Through its three acts we follow an entertaining story about two lovers, Ernesto and Norina, who attempt to thwart the elderly bachelor Pasquale’s plan to marry Norina. Numerous disguises, cases of mistaken identity, errors and dramatic twists are the main characteristics of this opera which plays on stereotypes at a frantic pace and uses the characters from the Italian commedia dell’arte: Pasquale is based on the whimsical Pantalone,… više

The Love for Three Oranges

The great Russian composer Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev wrote the satirical opera The Love for Three Oranges when he was only 28. It was commissioned by the Chicago Opera Association and received its premiere performance on 30 December 1921 at the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago. The libretto, based on a comedy by C. Gozzi and a fairy tale by G. Basile, was written by Prokofiev himself who used Meyerhold’s adaptation of the original. The famous Russian director Vsevolod Meyerhold added a new dimension to the fairy tale about oranges, the one in line with his vision of theatre based on the multivalent meanings of the commedia dell’arte and street theatre. This version and the numerous possibilities it opened for its scenic realisation prompted Prokofiev in the 1920s to write an opera the likes of which the world had not seen before. The events of the opera – and their associated stage… više

Don Carlo

Giuseppe Verdi’s masterpiece Don Carlo is based on a tragedy by the German writer Friedrich Schiller. Verdi used to say ‘nothing human is alien to me’ and, indeed, man was always at the heart of his operas, which were frequently inspired by the works of Shakespeare, Hugo or Schiller. The librettists of Don Carlo, Méry and Du Locle, abridged Schiller’s play but Verdi’s music overcame these cuts by embodying what was essential and most valuable in the original. His depiction of the inextricably linked human fates, rendered through magisterial music with stunning richness, expressiveness and psychological depth, creates a work that still strongly expresses the fate and suffering of man. The plot revolves around the life of Don Carlo, the Spanish heir to the throne, who is engaged to the French princess, Elisabeth of Valois. She is forced to marry Don Carlo’s father Philip for political… više