With the performance of Opera Koštana the National theatre in Belgrade opens the reconstructed Theatre “Bora Stanković” in Vranje

On the 21st October, the reconstructed building of Theatre “Bora Stanković” in Vranje was officially opened, after seven years of reconstruction, with performance of the opera by Petar Konjović, Koštana, after the eponymous play by Borisav Stanković, under the baton of Ana Zorana Brajović, staged by Jug Radivojević,.

One of the most popular national operas, with the plot that takes place in Vranje at the end of the 19th century, was performed in front of the auditorium filled to capacity in a magnificent atmosphere, with the President of the Republic of Serbia, Mr Aleksandar Vučić , Minister of Finance, Mr Siniša Mali, Manager of the National Theatre in Belgrade, Ms Ivana Vujić and numerous other distinguished guests in attendance. The event was special because it was the first opera performance the audience in Vranje was able to see in their town.

Performance of this pearl of national operatic legacy in a new and contemporary staging, with subtle Brechtian elements, has left a strong impression on the viewers who rewarded the cast with a cordial applause and with standing ovations. The title role of a fiery and beautiful Gypsy girl, Koštana, who would forever remain a symbol of longing, beauty, melancholy, passion, unfulfilled dreams, lamentation for one’s youth, but also a symbol of provocation that inspires fury, anger, malice, hatred… was sung by Evgenija Jeremić, a soprano.

The role of a rich merchant and landlord, Haji Toma, was interpreted by Dragoljub Bajić, a bass; the role of his wife, Kata, was interpreted by Dubravka Filipović, a mezzosoprano, while their children, Stojan and Stana, were interpreted by tenor Dejan Maksimović and soprano Marija Jelić.

Darko Đorđević, a tenor, sang the role of Arsa, the Mayor; the Mayor’s daughter, Vaska, was interpreted by mezzosoprano Svjetlana Đokić, and his brother, Mitke, by baritone Miodrag D. Jovanović.

The role of Grkljan, Koštana’s father, was sung by baritone Milan Obradović, while the role of her mother, Salča, was interpreted by mezzosoprano Aleksandra Angelov.

The cast in this complex piece with demanding instrumental and vocal parts also includes Vuk Radonjić (Marko), Nataša Rašić (Magda), Katarina Radovanović (Sofka), Isidora Stevanović (Koca), Mihailo Otašević (First Citizen), Filip Vučić (Second Citizen), Miloš Milojević (Third Citizen), Nikola Mikić (Policeman), Milan Panić (Alil), actor Dimitrije Ilić (Asan) and Olga Olćan, a soloist of the Ballet as Koštana’s Alter Ego.

The Orchestra, Choir, Ballet Company and “Borislav Popović” Opera Studio of the National Theatre in Belgrade also took part in the performance.

The building of the Vranje theatre was built in 1892 by a local merchant Janča Jovanović. 

The first performance was The Mountain Wreath by Njegoš in 1896, it was stage directed by Radoje Domanović, a professor at the Vranje Grammar School at the time.

The Theatre has organised “Bora’s Theatre Days” Festival for 39 consecutive years. More than 400 performances were given at the festival with participation of numerous theatres from the country and abroad. 

This year’s Festival was opened on the 23rd October with one of the performances of the National Theatre in Belgrade; it was The Patriots, by Jovan Sterija Popović, stage directed by Andraš Urban. 

On 20th October, within the festivities for opening of the new building, the National Theatre in Belgrade gave a successful performance of an interactive opera for children Bastien and Bastienne by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, under the baton of Stefan Zekić, directed by Ana Grigorović. 

The National Theatre also presented exhibition Impure Blood and Koštana at the National Theatre’s Stage, prepared by Dragan Stevović and Dragica Gaćeša, which will remain open until 21st November. 
M.B.