The event “Museums for 10” ended with the programmes “The Secret of Mija Aleksić” and “The Opera is Present”

18 May 2021

On Tuesday, May 18, within the closing activities of the event “Museums for 10”, in which the National Theatre Museum actively participated, an evening was organised called “The Secret of Mija Aleksić” followed by a programme titled “The Opera is Present” on “Raša Plaović” stage.

Through conversation with actresses Rada Đuričin and Branka Petrić (moderated by the Museum Director, Dragan Stevović) the audience had an opportunity to revive the memory of the wonderful, celebrated actor Mija Aleksić (1923-1995) who debuted at the National Theatre in 1949 playing the role of the Sentry in Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”. 

During his magnificent career Aleksić appeared in a series of significant roles such as Pomet (“Dundo Maroje” by M. Držić), Proka (“The Bereaved Family” by B. Nušić), Zhevakin (“Marriage” by N.V. Gogol), Smerdyakov (“The Brothers Karamazov” by F.M. Dostoevsky), Lebyadkin (“The Possessed” by F.M. Dostoevsky), Čeda Urošević (“The Cabinet Minister’s Wife” by B. Nušić), Prisipkin (“The Bedbug” by V. Mayakovsky), Christopher Mahon (“The Playboy of the Western World”, by J.M. Synge), Peter Quince (“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” by W. Shakespeare), Uncle Blagoje (“The Cabinet Minister’s Wife” by B. Nušić), Tartuffe (“Tartuffe” by J.B.P. Moliere), Sganarelle (Don Juan, J.B.P. Moliere), Cyrano (“Cyrano de Bergerac” by E. Rostand), Vule Pupavac (“Trickery” by M. Glišić), Arcadius (“The Forest”, A.N. Ostrovsky), Jevrem Prokić (“A Member of the Parliament” by B. Nušić), Reverend Ćira (“Reverend Ćira and Reverend Spira” by S. Sremac), Richard III (“Richard III” by  W. Shakespeare), a police provocateur (“The Police” by S. Mrozek), Jovanča Micić (“A Travel Around the World” by B. Nušić), Agaton (“The Bereaved Family” by B. Nušić), Willy Loman (“Death of a Salesman” by A. Miller)…

Apart from the National Theatre he also acted in the Yugoslav Drama Theatre, Atelje 212 and on other stages.

He starred in more than 60 films and he also played prominent roles on television.

For his theatrical and film opus he received the most significant social accolades and professional awards – the October Award, Sterija’s Award, Dobrica’s Ring, Golden Turkey, Golden Arena, Crystal Prism, Life Achievement Award at the Sopot Festival, Grand Prix “Ćele Kula”, Live Legend recognition…

Aleksić died in Belgrade on March 12, 1995.

The tribute evening dedicated to Mija Aleksić was followed by “The Opera is Present” programme on “Raša Plaović” stage within which the visitors were able to enjoy opera music while lying in beds. 

In a cosy and somewhat Bitef-like atmosphere, the programme started with the overture from Bellini’s “Norma” and it continued with arias and choral scores from “Aida”, “Nabucco”, “The Barber of Seville”, “Madame Butterfly”, “Carmen”, “The Tales of Hoffmann”, “Werther”, “The Queen of Spades”, “Boris Godunov” and “Prince Igor”.

All the recordings were made at the National Theatre Main Stage in the period from 1963 to 2005 with the participation of the National Theatre soloists, choir and orchestra.

Milka Stojanović, Gordana Jevtović, Breda Kalef, Olga Milošević, Mirjana Vasiljević, Jasna Šajnović, Nataša Jović Trivić, Nikola Mitić and Živan Saramandić appeared as soloists. 

From May 12 to May 18 the National Theatre in Belgrade participated in the event “Museums for 10”, the largest national museum initiative in Serbia and unique in Europe, which was held for the seventh time this year under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture and Information of the Republic of Serbia.

For seven days the National Theatre Museum staged a rich programme the content of which was based on the national theatre legacy kept and cherished through history.

On the first day, in order to celebrate the opening of this event, a video footage “The History of the National Theatre – Our Days” was streamed on the National Theatre website and Facebook profile in which the General Manager Ivana Vujić Kominac and the members of all three artistic ensembles participated.

On the same day, in the afternoon, a programme titled “A Journey Through Legacy” was organised which included a guided tour of the permanent display of the National Theatre Museum.

The following day, the visitors were able to see “The Secrets of the National Theatre” by taking a guided tour of the theatre building mediated by Dragan Stevović, at which they heard the basic historical information about this cultural edifice of national importance, got familiar with the work process and visited hidden corners where the audience is not allowed, but which are of utmost importance for stage performances. 

On the third day, the programme was dedicated to ballet art. At the Main Stage lobby of the National Theatre in Belgrade the visitors were able to briefly learn about the history of our National Theatre Ballet from the moderator Milena Jauković.

As we are approaching a significant jubilee – the 100th anniversary of the National Theatre Ballet, at the presentation special attention was paid to the formation of the first ballet ensemble, and then to its golden age, which refers to 1950s and 1960s.

After this opening presentation, the visitors went to the premises of the National Theatre Museum in Belgrade, where a professional guided tour of the exhibition “Creativity in Two Acts” was arranged whose author is Milena Jauković, dedicted to Lidija Pilipenko, one of our most celebrated ballet performers and the representative of this golden age.

The main event – the opening of the exhibition “Vela Nigrinova – a Star and an Inspiration”, whose author is Vanja Kosanić, which is a tribute to this famous actress, premier stage actress and the diva of the National Theatre in Belgrade – took place on May 15 at the Main Stage lobby.

Within the exhibition organised by the National Theatre Museum in cooperation with the Museum of Theatrical Arts of Serbia and the Museum of Applied Arts in Belgrade, the photographs of Vela Nigrinova were displayed taken by the court photographer Milan Jovanović, fashion photos, sketches and fashion illustrations made by Aleksandar Joksimović for his collection “Vela Nigrinova” from 1970, and the visitors could also see an insert from the Serbian Broadcasting Corporation show “Teatroteka”, whose authors are Bojana Andrić and Mirjana Otašević - “Joksimović – Diapason”.

The exhibition was opened by the National Theatre General Manager, Ivana Vujić Kominac, who stressed that not only was Vela Nigrinova a huge star of the National Theatre in the late 19th and early 20th century, but she was also a remarkable person.

“The body of Mrs. Vela Nigrinova was constantly wrapped, like her hair and head, in various forms of clothing. These clothes were chosen very carefully, just like Sarah Bernhardt always chose her clothes. The body of Vela Nigrinova was changing with each role, and she played over 400 of them”, the National Theatre General Manager pointed out.

In her words, Vela Nigrinova was mysterious, magnificent, unconventional, simple, complex, romantic.

Ivana Vujić reminded us that Mrs. Nigrinova was a huge inspiration to artists (photographers, painters, sculptors) and also to famous Yugoslav haute couture designer Aleksandar Joksimović who in 1968 and 1969 designed majestic creations inspired by Byzantium, Damned Jerina and, of course, Vela Nigrinova, stressing that this entire collection was sold out in the United States in only five minutes.

“It is with great honour that we bow to a great actress, a person who was a huge inspiration of a new, different, more modern life in Serbia. Women learned from her, both men and women looked at her and they all worshipped her. These photos will remain at the National Theatre premises. It is our wish that everyone who comes into our theatre could learn something about our stars, those remarkable, extraordinary people. Mrs. Nigrinova, welcome back home”, said the National Theatre General Manager, Ivana Vujić Kominac. 

On Sunday, May 16 the promotion of a publication “10th Anniversary of the National Theatre Museum” was held which was printed to commemorate a decade of its existence. 

After the promotion, “Opera Tea Party” was organised at which the visitors, while sipping tea, listened to the audio recordings of the opera singers after the World War II.

Earlier during the day, there was a matinee programme for children and youth titled “Acting is Magic”.

On Monday, May 17, a programme titled “Be a Part of Magic” was organised in which the visitors were able to see up close, touch and feel the magic of items from the Museum collection, props and fundus of the National Theatre and to take a photo to remember it all, however, observing all anti-COVID measures.

During the event that lasted from May 12 to 18, all programmes at the National Theatre were free of charge and they were organised in compliance with all safety measures imposed by the Crisis Team to combat the COVID 19 pandemic.

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