Opera to premiere in Slovenian language in Austria

Graz, 10 February - The Nightingale of Gorenjska, a mid-19th century Slovenian opera written by composer Anton Foerster, will open at the Graz Opera in Austria on Saturday evening. The premiere will be sung in Slovenian with German subtitles.

Theatre director Janusz Kica directing Chekhov's Uncle Vanya at the SNG Drama Ljubljana in 2023.
Photo: Katja Kodba/STA
File photo

While opera singers are members of the Graz Opera ensemble, several Slovenians took part in the production, including conductor Marko Hribernik, set designer Marko Japelj, costume designer Leo Kulaš.

The production has been directed by Janusz Kica, a theatre director of Polish descent who lives in Croatia but has worked extensively in Slovenian theatre.

The Graz Opera announced the production as a Slovenian folk opera which tells a story about the split between love of home and longing for the big world, as well as how a collective defines itself through its own traditions.

The piece was written by Foerster (1837-1926), a Czech-born composer who found his home in Slovenian lands.

He initially composed an operetta based on the libretto by Luiza Pesjak, one of the first Slovenian female writers, but adapted it into opera a few years later.

The opera is about Franjo, who returns to his hometown, where his friend Lovro and his girlfriend Minka were waiting for him.

Then, French entertainer Chansonette hears Minka sing as he arrives in the idyllic town in the region of Gorenjska, and wants to make her a professional singer, but the locals decide to undermine his plans.

© STA, 2024