Adel and Mara, an opera in four acts, is one of the most important works of the Croatian composer Josip Hatze. The opera’s libretto was written by Branko Radica and based on the romantic epic poem Unfortunate Mara by the Split author Luka Botić – a tragic love story about a young couple, a handsome young Turkish man Adel and a young Christian girl Mara from Vranjic. They meet and fall in love at a country fair, but the chasm between their two communities is too deep to be bridged by the young couple’s love. This touching love story originates in the 16th century, when a nobleman from Split sent an account of the event to the Venetian government in 1574. Luka Botić found the story in the archives of Split and used it for his epic poem. The conflict of different faiths in a divided society leads to a tragic end – this gave the composer Hatze an opportunity to delve into thee folk music of two different Dalmatian regions, the Mediterranean Split and the town of Klis, which was then under Ottoman rule. Broad melodies, sweeping arias and the dramatic tension make the opera Adel and Mara one of the most brilliant Croatian operas. Although its world premiere took place in Ljubljana in 1932, the work was premiered in Zagreb as early as the following year, where it was conducted by Lovro von Matačić. Soon after, it was staged elsewhere in Croatia. Hatze, a student of the great Italian composer Pietro Mascagni, showed with this opera a strong sense of drama and precise characterization. Hatze’s depiction of the conflict of faith and the worldviews of two neighboring communities that takes its toll on the young is in the spirit of reconciliation and tolerance. The CNT Opera will premiere the work, continuing its artistic mission of staging the best Croatian operatic works.
IVAN JOSIP SKENDER was born in Varaždin and completed his studies in composition at the Academy of Music at the University of Zagreb. His compositions have been performed across Europe, and his best known work, Stribor’s Forest / Šuma Striborova, had its world premiere at the Rijeka Opera. He is the resident conductor of the CNT Opera and works as an assistant professor at the Conducting Department at the Zagreb Academy of Music. He has won numerous awards in Croatia and overseas.
LUKA VUKŠIĆ was born in Zagreb, where he graduated from the Conducting Department at the Academy of Music. He finished his postgraduate study at the Academy of Music in Budapest. Since 2016 he has worked as the Opera choir conductor at the CNT.
OZREN PROHIĆ was born in Zagreb, where he graduated in theatre direction from the Academy of Dramatic Art. He has directed plays at numerous Croatian theaters, as well as at those in Bosnia and Herzegovina. As an opera director he has collaborated with all Croatian opera houses, as well as many international ones. He holds a permanent teaching position at the Theatre Direction Department at the Zagreb Academy of Dramatic Art. He has won numerous awards.