Date: 6 January 2014
Thursday, 9 January 2014, at 19.00, the Yellow Foyer of the Bucharest National Opera
Light and colour at the anniversary hour: the Bucharest National Opera celebrates on 9 January 2014 sixty years from the opening of its current headquarters. Artists-hosts and other guests from the country and from abroad will celebrate, together with the audience, with an extraordinary concert, performed in the Yellow Foyer of the Opera, – an institution founded in 1885 and which became a state theatre in 1921 – six decades since the first lyric stage of the country left its tenant status and received its own headquarters (9 January 1954).
The anniversary concert will be a combination of fragments from the works: The Queen of Spades and Eugene Onegin by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, La Bohème by Giacomo Puccini, La traviata by Giuseppe Verdi, as well as other famous works of the genre. The choice of The Queen of Spades was not arbitrary, the masterpiece by composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky was the first premiere presented to the audience in the season 1953-1954, after the inauguration of the current building of the Bucharest National Opera. The other titles, together with the ballet Coppélia by Léo Delibes are just a few of the creations that were presented in new directors’ versions in the first seasons of the Opera, in the new building.
The participants in the event will include, together with soloists of the Bucharest National Opera (sopranos Iulia Isaev and Irina Iordăchescu, mezzosoprano Sorana Negrea and tenors Lucian Corchiş and Liviu Indricău) a few special guests (Alina Bottez, Konstantin Brzhinsky, Marta Sandu, Veronica Anuşca, Ştefan Pop, Irina Baianţ) as well as two very young singers (George Ionuţ Vârban and Debora Marguglio). They will be accompanied by pianists Ioana Maxim, Mădălina Florescu, Liana Mareş, Mihaela Vâlcea, the string quintet of the Bucharest National Opera and harper Roxana Moişanu. Thus, among well-known artists, some of them with an enviable career, new talents that made their mark at contests in the country and in the world will appear before the audience, on this occasion, to make their debut at the Bucharest National Opera.
1953-1954: The Opera receives a headquarters of its own
Founded in 1885, the Romanian lyric company in Bucharest, which became a state theatre in 1921, did not own headquarters according to the requirements of the types of performances it carried out, until the evening of 9 January 1954. Until that date, the lyric theatre on the banks of Dâmboviţa had the status of tenant, among the locations that hosted its shows were the National Theatre from Calea Victoriei (destroyed by the bombings of August 1944), a theatre that would often fight for performance and rehearsal space (and sometimes shared costumes and decors), the Lyric Theatre (the former Leon Popescu hall) from Piaţa Walter Mărăcineanu, destroyed by the earthquake of 1940, the Queen Mary Theatre, on the Dâmboviţa quay, next to Mihai Vodă bridge (today demolished).
In 1953, on the occasion of the World Festival of Youth and Students, the state authorities built a new building for the Opera, located between Calea Plevnei and St. Elefterie Church. Finally, the opera and ballet company had a space for its activities. Created by architects Octav Doicescu and Paraschiva Iubu, the building was inaugurated with a gala performance, for the workers and their families, an occasion where Petru Groza handed out orders and medals for the construction team members. Young artists of the Opera participated in the World Festival for Youth and Students – at the Canto Contest and the Ballet Contest – many of them later becoming important names of the Romanian lyric theatre: singers Magda Ianculescu, Elena Filimon, Vera Rudeanu, Elena Cernei, Valentin Teodorian, Cornel Stavru, Nicolae Herlea, Octav Enigărescu and ballet dancers Irinel Liciu, Gabriel Popescu, Valentina Massini.
The true great inauguration celebration for the company of the Bucharest National Opera was, however, on the evening of 9 January 1954, when the gala performance of The Queen of Spades by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky took place, followed by a second interpretation (for the general public) on 12 January. The show had maestro Egizio Massini as a conductor, director Vladimir G. Ciukov, set designers Walter Siegfried and Cella Voinescu, choir maestro Gheorghe Kulibin and choreographer Anton Romanowski.
The following day after the premiere of The Queen of Spades, on 19 January 1954, the ballet dancers of the Opera were presenting their own performance in the new headquarters: Coppélia by Léo Delibes choreographed by Anton Romanowski and Oleg Danovski and set design by M. Rubinger and Mac Constantinescu, with conductor Robert Rosensteck. The performance was a matinee, and a recital of opera and ballet was scheduled for the evening.
The Bucharest Opera in 1953
On the eve of the opening of the season 1953-1954, under the directorate of famous conductor Constantin Silvestri, the lyric company in Bucharest was formed of 73 employed opera soloists, the corps de ballet had 96 dancers, the choir had 96 lyric artists and the orchestra had 99 instrumental artists.
The conductors, led by maestro Egizio Massini were the most important in the country in 1953: Alfred Alessandrescu, Jean Bobescu, Alfred Mendelsohn, Mihai Brediceanu, Robert Rosensteck, Constantin Silvestri, who were joined later on by Cornel Trăilescu and Sergiu Comissiona. The directors were maestros Jean Rânzescu and George Teodorescu, and their assistants, Ion Mavrodin, Dumitru Tăbăcaru, Anghel Ionescu Arbore and Tamara Ion. Part of the team of set designers were Teodor Kiriakoff Suruceanu, Ofelia Tutoveanu and Paula Brâncoveanu, choir maestro Gheorghe Kulibin, seconded by Cornel Trăilescu and Ion Vanica. At that time, the theatre employees included canto instructors and no less than 14 co-répétiteurs. The ballet ensemble was benefitting from the experience and talent of two great choreographers, Anton Romanowski and Oleg Danovski, and dance professors Bela Balogh and Nicolae Iacobescu. In 1953, the artistic personnel of the theatre was joined by 37 walk-on actors and 243 workers, masters, chauffeurs, ushers and the administrative department. Almost 700 theatre persons were building the Opera together.
Thursday, 9 January 2014, 19.00
The Yellow Foyer
Anniversary Concert: 60 years from the Inauguration of the Opera Building
Guests: Alina Bottez, Konstantin Brzhinsky, Marta Sandu, George Ionuţ Vârban,
Veronica Anuşca, Ştefan Pop, Irina Baianţ, Deborah Marguglio
Soloists of the Bucharest National Opera: Irina Iordăchescu, Iulia Isaev, Sorana Negrea,
Liviu Indricău, Lucian Corchiş
Piano: Ioana Maxim, Mădălina Florescu, Liana Mareş, Mihaela Vâlcea
String Quintet of the Bucharest National Opera
Cristi Balaş - first violin
Alexandra Rogalski – second violin
Sorin Spasinovici - viola
Mladen Spasinovici - cello
Iustin Carp – contrabass
Roxana Moişanu - harp
Scheduled: opera and ballet works by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Alexander Sergeyevich Dargomyzhsky, Giuseppe Verdi, Giacomo Puccini, Léo Delibes
(arias, duets, vocal quartet, string quintet and string sextet)