National Theater in Belgrade – summary of the 154th season

10 July 2023

The National Theater in Belgrade, ended  the 154th seasons on Friday, July 7th, with the first rerun of the performance of ‘Millenium in Belgrade” in which were realized very significant artistic as well as results in the domain of maintenance and servicing. 

In the past period, from October 1st until the beginning of July, in the repertoires of the  Drama, Opera and Ballet were included 12 new titles that push the boundaries seeking the adequate artistic expression in highly aestheticized reflection of what we are living.

In the Drama sector were performed premiers of the following plays: “Children”, “The Temptation to be Happy”, “Macbeth”, “Fathers and Sons”, “Our Class”, “The Tragic Burlesque”, “Squabbles at Chioggia” and “Millenium in Belgrade”, the Opera  repertoire was replenished with the classics “Turandot” and “Falstaff”, whereas the Ballet, which is celebrating a century since its foundation,  put up two new titles “Le Corsaire” and the Ballet Triptych “Infinitas”. 

All three troupes performed on the home stage and in guest appearances in the country and abroad, a total of 321 performances, which together with 64 visiting performances and other performance events held on the Main Stage and the “Rasa Plaovic” stage were seen by over one hundred thousand spectators. 

The National Theater in Belgrade participated in the course of the past season in 23 national and foreign festivals, both non-competitive  and competitive, and all the received awards, a total of 28, went to the Drama sector.

Several important jubilees have been marked this season: “The Orchestra“ according to the text of Jean Anouilh, directed by Jug Radivojević, on November 19th marked ten years  since its premiere. “The Power of Darkness (Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy/Igor VukTorbica) was performed on December 26th for the fiftieth time, “Hasan Aga’s Wife” (Ljubomir Simović/Jagoš Marković) on April 10th for the 150th time, ”Coffee White” (Aleksandar Popović /Milan Nešković) on May 27th, for the hundredth time, whereas ten years from the premiere of the Trifković’s  “Capricious Girl” directed by Nikola Zavišić were marked on May 31st. 

The same month, (May 16th) Principal Opera Artist Janko Sinadinović celebrated 25 years, and Principal Ballet Dancer Jovica Begojev (May 22nd)  20 years of artistic work.

On the occasion of the Statehood Day of the Republic of Serbia, the Ballet of the National Theater in Belgrade was awarded the Sretenje Order First Class for outstanding merits and achieved results in the sphere of ballet art, on the occasion of centenary of permanent ballet troupe and repertoire.              

Throughout the season, three exhibitions were put up at the Museum of the National Theater – “Challenge of the Ballet Triptych  – Vladimir Logunov, Ballet Dancer, Master and Choreographer”, by Milena Jauković (31/10/2022), „Severin Bijelić – the greatness of simplicity” (Dragan Stevović, 19/1/2023) and “A Century of Ballet – the Second Fifty Years” (Milena Jauković, 1/6/2023). 

It is very important to emphasize the launching of strategic cultural cooperation through the platform Open Balkan Theater which implies a theater cooperation between Serbia, Albania and North Macedonia in the domain of drama, opera and ballet. 

Furthermore, Cooperation Agreements have been signed with the National Drama Theater of Russia “Alexandrinsky” from St. Petersburg, the National Opera of Bucharest from Romania, as well as with the National Opera and Ballet in Sofia. 

This initiated a powerful link with the most important national cultural institutions of the region. 

The General Manager of the National Theater Svetislav Goncić expressed his satisfaction with the achieved results in all sectors in the past ten months.

“We have had a truly very good season. When talking about the titles in Drama, Opera and Ballet, based on the works from the world and our drama heritage, I am not thinking just about the number of performed premieres, but also about their quality. Some of these performances were, perhaps, even somewhat unusual, particularly for the Drama repertoire. I am referring here, first of all, to  Children, a performance that had  the great honor to open the Sterijino Pozorje this year – our most significant theater manifestation. Within this season, as well as this calendar year, we are marking a very important jubilee – one hundred years of Ballet  of the National Theater in Belgrade. We proudly emphasize this fact, not just because of the prestige, but because of the awareness and belief that a century long existence continuously inspires us not to forget, not to break the tradition. Commencing the next one hundred years, we are certain that the Ballet of the National Theater in Belgrade, with our most significant ballet troupe, will take us with the highest ambitions and new energy into a new century of existence. Accordingly, we hope and believe in the future important results. This jubilee, as well as the Sterijino Pozorje Award for the best performance that was given to A Lullaby for Aleksija Rajčić, are the events that have indubitably marked this year’s season. This is also supported by the fact that this is the first time in history that the National Theater won this prestigious recognition at the Pozorje. One must not forget the highly noted Fathers and Forefathers by Selenić, staged for the first time at our theater. The past season was marked also by two highly  successful opera performances: Puccini’s Turandot and Verdi’s Falstaff. It is also necessary to point out certain results when we speak about the total maintenance of the National Theater system;  numerous works related to maintenance and servicing and upgrading the working and living conditions in the building such as: transition to district heating, improvement of the water supply system, refurbishing of building façade, reconstruction of the auditorium of the Main Stage… It is also very important that we have commenced the process of revitalization of the artistic troupe at the Drama and Opera. In the Drama troupe, we have employed on a full-time basis six young actors. In the Opera, we have welcomed five artists, and at the Technology department we are about to employ four people. I believe that a great number of high quality performances which are to make numerous guest performances, is a very good indication that we are on the right path and I sincerely believe that we will persevere”, said Svetislav Goncić.

The new 155th season of the National Theater in Belgrade will begin on October 1st.