The actual division - Opera

Premiere, April 11, 2009. / Main stage

Opera in four acts
Libretto by Francesco Maria Piave
First performed: St Petersburg, 10 november 1862  
Conductor Aleksandar Marković as a guest / Đorđe Pavlović
Director Darijan Mihajlović as a guest
Set Designer Aleksandar Denić as a guest    
Costume Designer Ivana Vasić as a guest 
Choreographer Leo Mujić as a guest 

Premiere cast:

Marquis of Calatrava Vuk Matić / Nenad Jakovljević
Leonora Jasmina Trumbetaš Petrović / Dragana Radaković / Svetlana Nestorov
Don Carlo de Vargas Miodrag D. Jovanović / Nikola Mijailović, k.g.
Don Alvaro Dušan Plazinić / Hon Li
Preziosilla Jadranka Jovanović / Aleksandar Angelov / Nataša Jović Trivić / Željka Zdjelar / Tamara Marković
Fra Melitone Aleksandar Stamatović / Nebojša Babić
Father Guardian Ivan Tomašev / Dragoljub Bajić / Nenad Jakovljević
Maid Ivanka Raković / Tatjana Mitić
Alcade Branislav Kosanić / Sveto Kastratović
Trabuco, a muleteer Igor Matvejev / Darko Đorđević / Ljubodrag Begović
Surgeon Branislav Kosanić

With participation of Orchestra, Chorus and Ballet Ensemble of the National Theatre of Belgrade
Ballet Ensemble: Gleb Sumanov, Vladimir Panajotović, Božin Pavlovski, Ljubiša Peković, Bojana Leko, Ines Ivković, Milena Ivić, Sanja Tomić
Assistant Director Vladan Đurković
Chorus Master Đorđe Stanković 
Chorus prepared Ana Zorana Brajović and Đorđe Stanković 
Concert masters: Edit Makedonska, Vesna Jansens
Assistant Costume Designer:  Sara Kurtović, Tijana Milivojević*
Music Associates: Srđan Jaraković, Nevena Živković, Nada Matijević, Ivan Jovanović, Tatjana Ščerbak Pređa
Stage Manager Branislava Pljaskić  
Prompters: Silvija Pec, Biljana Manojlović
Organizers: Maša Milanović Minić, Snježana Vujasinović, Ljiljana Milovanović
Caption Translation Maja Janušić 
*assistant trainee
Lighting Designer: Srđan Mićević
Stage Master: Zoran Mirić
Make-up Designer: Dragoljub Jeremić
Sound Designer: Dejan Dražić
Video Director: Miloš Đukelić
Director of photography: Igor Šunter
Montage Editor: Dejan Špagnut
Video direction of the play:
Director: Petar Antonović
Assistant: Borivoje Andrijević
Camera operators for the play: Đorđe Jovanović and Igor Šunter
Costume modellers: Radmila Marković, Drena Drinić, Radica Komazec and Milan Rakić
Costumes were manufactured in the workshops of the National Theatre of Belgrade and workshops of Nikola’S Scale models made by: Branko Cvijić, Ana Miljević and Miloš Živanović 
Decor were manufactured in the workshops of the National Theatre of Belgrade

LA FORZA DEL DESTINO  
by Giuseppe Verdi on the stage of the National Theatre    
The opera La Forza del destino by the famous composer Guiseppe Verdi had its world premiere in 1862 in Petersburg. It was commissioned, and had all the characteristics of the French and German style which were very popular in Saint Petersburg at that time. On our stage this opera was first performed on 7 October 1938, on the occasion of the 125th anniversary of G.Verdi’s birth. According to the “Politika“ a set designer Mladen Josić was the most deserving for the success of this performance, while the costumes of Milica Babić Jovanović “...devoutedly followed the intentions of Mr. Hecl and decor sketches of Mr. Josić.” (”Pravda”). Ivan Brezovšek was the conductor, and the leading roles were sung by: Aleksandar Trifunović (Marquis of Calatrava), Zlata Đunđenac (Leonora), Krsta Ivić (Alvaro), Rudolf Ertl (Don Carlo), Žarko Cvejić (Guardian), Stanoje Janković (Fra Melitone), Božica Sarvan (Preziosilla)... After the Second World War La forza del Destino was performed for the first time on 6 February 1965 under the baton of Dušan Miladinović and directed by Ani Radošević. Petar Pašić was the set designer and Inge Kostinčer the costume designer. When asked where she found the basic idea in the libretto which was considered to be one of the weakest in Verdi’s operas, Ani Radošević said: “This opera is often called The force of fortune instead The Force of Destiny. There are quite a few unmotivated and unprepared situations. The fortune is really dominant. But, in my opinion, the basis for everything that happens in this opera, must be found in the social structure and ideological climate of Spain at that time...“ At the premiere the leading singers were: Aleksandar Đokić as Marquis de Vargas, Radmila Bakočević as Leonora, Atilio Planinšek as Alvaro, Stanoje Janković – Don Carlo di Vargas, Đurđevka Čakarević – Preziosilla, Velizar Maksimović - Fra Melitone, Đorđe Đurđević – Father Guardian... The last staging of this opera was held in the just restored building of the National Theatre, on 26 December, 1899. Nikolaj Žličar was the conductor, Borislav Popović and Mladen Sabljić were directors, Vladimir Marenić – set designer, Ljiljana Dragović – costume designer. According to Konstantin Babić  “the Belgrade theatre had, in fact, three premieres, with three different casts, in which all the best domestic forces performed, with two excellent quests, for tenor roles (Don Alvaro): Bulgarian Rumen Dojkov and Georgian Simon Bagdadshvili.“ The role of Marquis of Calatrava was sung by Vukašin Savić (Ivan Tomašev), Leonora – Milka Stojanović (Radmila Bakočević, Vjera Miranović), Don Carlo – Zoran Aleksandrić (Slobodan Stanković), Prezisiolla – Jadranka Jovanović (Dubravka Zubović), Guardian – Aleksandar Đokić (Živan Saramandić), Fra Melitone – Velizar Maksimović ...           

Vanja Kosanić


ALEKSANDAR MARKOVIĆ conductor
From 2009/10  33-year-old conductor Aleksandar Marković will become the new chief conductor of the Brno Philharmonic Orchestra, who offered this position to him after their very first concert in autumn 2008. He will conduct his inauguration concert on 12 August 2009 opening the Spilberk Festival. In 2009 Aleksandar Marković will make his debuts with the Stuttgart Philharmonic Orchestra, Nuernberg Philharmonic Orchestra, Konzerthausorchester Berlin, the chamber orchestra Spirit of Europe and with the Croatian Radio Symphony Orchestra Zagreb. In 2008 for the first time he conducted the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz, Württembergische Philharmonie, Slovakian Philharmonic Orchestra and the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra. With Bruckner’s Symphony N° 8 he opened the season 2008/09 at the Stefaniensaal Graz, and he opened the Wiener Festwochen with the Wiener Symphoniker in May 2008 with the final concert of the Eurovision Young Musicians Competition. From 2005-08 Aleksandar Marković was the chief conductor at the Tiroler Landestheater Innsbruck, where he conducted 10 higly praised premieres (Cavalleria rusticana/ Pagliacci, Schwanensee, Romeo et Juliette, Der fliegende Holländer, Salome, Madama Butterfly, Nabucco, Traviata, Norma and Tosca) and numerous concerts with the Tiroler Symphonieorchester Innsbruck. In September 2004 he was already named music director of the Stanislaw Moniuszko Philharmonie after winning 1st prize at the Grzegorz Fitelberg international Conductor’s Competition in Katowice (Poland). Aleksandar Marković conducted the Deutsche Symphonieorchester Berlin, Rheinische Philharmonie, Wiener Kammerorchester, Wiener Concertverein, Mozarteum Orchester Salzburg, Symphonieorchester St. Gallen, Belgrade Radio Orchestra and Belgrade Philharmonic, Budapest Concert Orchestra, Prague Symphony, Janacek Philharmonic, Slovenian Philharmonic, Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra and at the National Theatre Prague. Apart from the classical symphonic repertoire Aleksandar Marković is a proponent of contemporary music and he conducted the world premiere of Feuerlicht, Nachtschatten by Dirk D’Ase at the Wiener Musikverein, symphonies by Karl Amadeus Hartmann and Karl Schiske as well as pieces by Lutoslawski, Ligeti, Pintscher and Tüür. The conductor completed his studies at the Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Wien under Leopold Hager, who stated: „Aleksandar Marković is one of the greatest talents ever to study with me.“ Marković also attended master classes with Gianluigi Gelmetti and Lothar Zagrosek at the Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Siena, graduating with honours - Diploma d’onore. Aleksandar Marković held  a scholarship from the highly renowned Herbert von Karajan Foundation Berlin.


DARIJAN MIHAJLOVIĆ director
He was born in Belgrade in 1972. He graduated theatre and radio directing from the Faculty of Dramatic Arts in Belgrade. He is the holder of the grant of the  “Madlena Janković“ Foundation in the field of the dramatic arts. He was the art director of the “Dadov“ Theatre from 1994 till 2000, where he ran the acting studio. He is one of the founders, and also director and producer of the theatre troupe  “Torpedo“, which toured almost all European countries and some of the most prominent European festivals. He is the assistant at the Faculty of Dramatic Arts, department for theatre directing. He received a number of awards: - “Joakim Vujić“ Award for best directing in 1998, for the performance A Spear of the Theatre from Užice. - “Golden Turkey“ for the best directing of the performance An Easy Piece performed by the theatre from Kruševac (Jagodina, 2001). - “The Golden Plaque of the City of Belgrade“, the award for the best directing and the best short movie at the Festival of the short, documentary and animated film. - The special award of the jury and “The Golden Orange“ at the Festival of short and documentary film in Antalya. - The annual award for the best performance of the Serbian National Theatre in Novi Sad, for Verdi’s Macbeth, 2002. He directed a number of theatre performances. He is the author of two published drama texts. He directed more TV clips and shows.


LA FORZA DEL DESTINO   
Guiseppe Verdi wrote the opera La Forza del destino, commissioned by the Imperial theatre of Saint Petersburg (Leningrad) for an excellent fee of 20 thousand roubles. The opera Aida, also commissioned, but by Cairo, was the only one that brought him the higher fee.  After the success with Rigoletto, La Traviata, Il Trovatore and Un ballo in maschera, only the greatest and the richest world theatres could dare think of commissioning anything from the great maestro and the parliament member in Turin. Well known tenor Enrico Tamberlik, who achieved great success as Manricho in Il Trovatore in London and Petersburg and impresario Corticelli were mediators in this commission. Verdi was thinking of composing music to the libretto based on Victor Hugo’s drama Ruy Blas, but as censorship opposed it, he chose Don Alvaro or La Forza del destino, by the Spanish writer Angel Ramirez Saavedra, Duque de Rivas. Saavedra, whose play was performed in our theatre in 1898, was born in Cordoba in 1791, and he started his career as an officer. As he declared himself against the King, he was forced into exile in England in 1823. From 1830 till 1834 he lived in France, and after the death of the King he returned to his homeland. He inherited the title and the estate of his deceased brother and became the Duke of Rivas. In 1836 he became the member of the Government, but very soon he emigrated again, this time to Portugal. After Queen Kristina was banished, he returned to Spain. First he was envoy in Naples, then minister, and finally an ambassador to Florence and Paris. He was a member of the State Council and Academy director. He had a certain reputation as a writer and dramatist: his plays were performed in Italy and France. He died in Madrid in 1865. In Verdi’s opinion the action of the drama Don Alvaro is “strong, great and simple”, and for those reasons ideal for a great opera. Francesco Piava’s verses sound good, they are fluent and suitable for composing. The plot was simplified and abridged for the libretto, so that some things in the opera are not quite clear. Don Alvaro is no longer, as in the drama, a famous toreador, so his acquaintance with a noble aristocrat is somewhat unclear. In the drama Don Alvaro came to the Spanish court to ask mercy for his parents who were facing execution. Failing to do that, young Don Alvaro decided to go a completely different way. Verdi composed the opera fairly quickly and with his wife took a trip to Petersburg to supervise the preparations for the premiere. Due to the illness of prima donna La Grua it all had to be postponed for the autumn of 1862. The preparations were thorough: they lasted for several months, no money was spared, the choir was numerous, and the premiere took place on 17 October 1862, and was recorded as a significant date in the history of opera. Tickets were very expensive, five times more expensive than in Vienna and twelve times more than in  La Scala in Milan. The Russian public protested  because the opera was commissioned from the foreigner and for the fee which was considerably higher than the usual 500 hundred roubles. The imperial family attended the fourth performance and greeted warmly the author who was presented with a high decoration. The Italian premiere, entitled Don Alvaro was on 7 February 1863; soon after that came premiere in Madrid, then New York and Vienna (1865), Buenos Aires (1866) and London (1867). Both the critics and the audience thought that the opera had a series of beautiful fragments, but that it was not homogenous as a whole. Verdi himself was not satisfied with the score, and so, working with Ghislanzoni, who would later write libretto for Aida,  re-modelled the opera. He replaced the introductory music with an overture which included the selection of the most beautiful melodies from the opera; in crowd scenes a better layout was achieved, while the end was completely changed. Instead of a fatal suicide of a totally resigned Don Alvaro, Guardian brought reconcilable tone which is less suitable today. Thus re-modelled, the opera was performed in all the opera cities, but it never reached the true popularity. It is interesting to point out that rather liberal re-shaping of libretto by Franz Verfall, otherwise great Verdi’s admirer, led to the wide popularity of this opera, especially in Germany. Our famous tenor, Tino Patiera, largely contributed to that success, when, singing Don Alvaro in Dresden, he won over the whole city. The opera had its Yugoslav premiere in Zagreb in 1882; it was performed in Zagreb in 1930 and in Belgrade in 1938. In spite of the successful staging in our opera houses, the opera did not reach the popularity of his other operas like Rigoletto, Traviata or Il Trovatore. Whether it is the abundance of magnificant melodies, or, for an opera, rather unusual interchanging of tragic with almost wild crowd genre-scenes, comically interrupted by fra Melitone, or the reason might be the dissected plot, which more often than not, operates as “the force of luck”, and not as dramaturgically skilfully led plot - the fact is that the audience loves this opera for its beautiful tunes. Due to its length, for the performing reasons, this opera is shortened, or better to say mutilated, so that the plot is unclear and accidental. In spite of that, it is clear today that this opera has its significance in the development of the famous author, with the justifiable remarks that his earlier qualities were in the shadow of the novelties. Some critics reproached Verdi for following Wagner’s example, because of the repeated use of some basic motifs, but truth be told, it must be said that at the time when La forza del destino was written, Wagner’s work was not known in Italy, and also that Verdi’s motif work is completely different from the use of leitmotifs by the German dramatist. It is true that Verdi also aspires to his form of a music drama, but also melody and Mediterranean rhapsodising reign throughout the opera. The love plot is no longer in the foreground nor is the music characterisation of the characters equal for all the voices. Even the arias are not equally distributed. The choir has a completely new role: it is no longer an observer, or, at best, just present in the events. On the contrary, it is a real participant now, so that in their framework it has a definite developmental line. At the beginning, people are carefree, easily misled and tricked into joining the conquering army. In the war scenes the choir participates in the battle, while on the occasion of giving charity in the monastery once joyful people are tricked, tormented and crippled. Verdi the humanist, and his librettist, depict the war that everybody cheers at, as the real cause of all the sufferings and misery of the whole nation. The orchestra got the new role, now it has greater importance, and the tone colours are skilfully used. The soloists got beautiful arias, which, under the different names, melody, romance, ballad, aria-buffo and aria, work as separate pearls in the voluptuous score. The well-known arias of Leonora: reserved, cordial, even modest – at the beginning, than dramatic with the real contrast in expression (in front of the monastery) and calm, at the beginning of the last scene, those are rewarding numbers even for the concert podium. Don Alvaro got only one, confessable aria at the battle field, more difficult than it is thought to be. Preciosilla has rewarding numbers with the orchestra, and she dominates in the spirited rataplan. In the ballad of the student, Don Carlos sings a beautiful melody, while in the scene where he recognizes Leonora’s medallion, he is the only one with the deadly cabaletta. Melitone is also the one with the great soloist tasks that directly point to the future, to Falstaff. In this opera, however, the duets represent its greatest value. In the first scene, dramatic scene between Leonora and Don Alvaro is shaped as a duet which begins tempestuously to be finished, after they sing as soloists, in the hearty ecstasy. The scene, duet of Leonora and Guardian is masterfully done. The composer expertly saved the independence of the highest, as well as the independence of the deepest voice, and managed to, with the expressive orchestra, merge that into unique harmony. The duet of a tenor and a baritone, the scene in which Don Alvaro and Don Carlo pledge to eternal friendship, is one of the best known duets ever. Their great duet before the duel in the monastery, which many tried to imitate, with expressive interruptions and tranquillity, represents the pattern of a successful scene building. With a certain resignation, the final tercet is the real oasis of peace. The choir in the tavern is not Spanish  in intonation but southern, dishevelled. By using choir in Leonora’s consecration Verdi builds an impressive scene in which the future master of Requiem can be seen.  Choir scenes near the battle field, at the square and in the monastery are Shakespearian in strength and dramatic contrast. Plenitude of music material, rich invention and masterliness of the author in the psychological sketching of each new scene, imply well prepared and rested spectator, not the spectator who wishes to hear and recognise popular melodies.       

Konstantin Vinaver