"Koštana" and "A Lullaby for Aleksija Rajčić" Opened the New Season of the National Theatre in Belgrade

1 October 2022

On October 1, the National Theatre in Belgrade officially started its new season, the 154th in a row, with two performances: Petar Konjović's opera, "Koštana", was performed on the Main Stage, and Đorđe Kosić's play, "A Lullaby for Aleksija Rajčić" was performed on the "Raša Plaović" Stage.

One of the most popular national operas, "Koštana", based on the dramatic story of the same name written by Bora Stanković, under the baton of Ana Zorana Brajović and directed by Jug Radivojević, returned to the stage after an almost three-year break.

The last time this period show was performed, although in a new modern production in which some Brechtian elements have been subtly included, was on January 22, 2020. 

Anyway, this is the fifth production of that famous Serbian opera at the National Theatre, which used to be performed on all the stages of the former Yugoslavia, as well as on some European stages, and the premiere was held on June 14, 2019.

In the cast Sofija Pižurica, Nenad Jakovljević, Nataša Jović Trivić, Dejan Maksimović, Biljana Jovanović, Darko Đorđević, Anastasija Stanković, Miodrag D. Jovanović, Milan Obradović, Željka Zdjelar, Vuk Radonjić, Dubravka Filipović, Nataša Jovović, Isidora Stevanović, Stefan Živanović, Filip Vučić, Mihailo Šljivić, Mihailo Otašević, Dimitrije Ilić and Olga Olćan (Alter ego).

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

Miraš Vuksanović and Jasna Saramandić designed the set, Katarina Grčić Nikolić designed the costumes and Vladimir Logunov choreographed the performance.

The play, "A Lullaby for Aleksija Rajčić", written by Đorđe Kosić and directed by Jug Đorđević, whose centrepiece is the theme of an abused woman who committed a murder and felt freedom in prison, premiered on April 30 this year at the "Raša Plaović" Stage in a musical drama form, with Vanja Ejdus in the title role.

The play was awarded at the competition of Sterijino Pozorje Festival for the original domestic drama text in 2020, and its premiere was co-produced by the National Theatre in Belgrade with Sterijino Pozorje Festival and the "Novi Sad - European Capital of Culture" Foundation in 2022

The title character is fictional, and the young writer found the inspiration for his story in Milutin A. Popović’s book from 1898 - “Female Convicts – An Album of the Požarevac Penitentiary Female Ward”

The destiny of Aleksija Rajčić is that in facing non-freedom, in every possible sense, a crime occurs as the only way out and imprisonment as, paradoxically, a space that provides freedom. She is a figure who represents all women who are in a similar position today and have been in history.

The play, "A Lullaby for Aleksija Rajčić", which won "Milan Minja Obradović" Award for the Best Theatre Play Production at "Buca’s Days" Festival in Aleksandrovac this summer, was performed as part of the IETM congress, within the 56th Bitef Festival.

The meeting, which will bring together more than 500 eminent artists and professionals from all over the world from September 28 to October 2, production-wise is the largest international gathering in the region. In addition to professional programmes, the guests will see a selection of the most representative Serbian plays (showcase) produced in the previous season with the aim of developing the international promotion of contemporary theatrical creativity.