Sofia Opera took part in the first specialized meeting organized by Opera Europa, dedicated to opera festivals.
From 2 to 4 November, one of Opera Europe's important annual forums took place in Peralada, Spain, where directors of renowned festivals and representatives of opera institutions gathered to participate in an in-depth discussion around the organisation of opera festivals and their role for the societies of each country.
The Deputy Director of the Sofia Opera and Ballet Hristina Staneva took part in the event. She presented the ideas and the long-term vision of the Director, Acad. Prof. Plamen Kartaloff for the organization of festivals and open stages of the Sofia Opera as a natural space for innovation in the creation of an opera ecosystem and its relationship with the seasonal repertoire. She noted the economic impact of the Sofia Opera in the regions where it presents its productions – attracting tourists, supporting local businesses, engaging hotels, restaurants, transport and most of all promoting the good image of the relevant venue.
The innovative solutions for the creation of opera and ballet spectacles, musicals and spectacles for children on open stages, unusual spaces during the summer season of the Sofia Opera sparked exceptional interest. The summer festivals "Opera on the Square", "Opera on the Peaks – Belogradchik Rocks", "Muses on the Water – Lake Pancharevo", Sofia Opera Wagner Festival, opera on a barge on the Danube, "Wagner in Magura Cave", "Portal of Two Worlds, Tsari Mali Grad ", "Opera at the Foot of Vitosha" in the Boyana Cinema Center and a special highlight "Opera in the Park" for the youngest audience were noted in detail.
To date, Sofia Opera has performed its outdoor productions in 16 different locations in Bulgaria to over one million spectators – from home and abroad. In a spectacular video, delegates at the forum also got an insight into the venues where these festivals are held.
The presentation was followed by discussions and questions to Hristina Staneva. All colleagues expressed their admiration for the richness and diversity of the festivals and their venues.
The representative of Teatro Reggio in Parma, Paolo Maier, expressed his desire to visit the Sofia Opera to get to know our country and these beautiful places where the festivals are held.
The artistic director of Teatro San Carlo, Lisbon, Ivan Van Kalmthout, wanted to know more details about the spectacles for children and concerts for babies, to learn how this idea came about. Particularly impressive was the fact that this season the Sofia Opera will celebrate ten years of spectacles for babies.
"It was a wonderful idea to learn about all of these outdoor festivals in front of a loyal audience. I don't think there is another company in Europe with such an active festival policy," remarked Michael Csar, artistic producer of the Bregenz Festival.
The idea of performing Giacomo Puccini's opera "Il tabarro" on location just as it is in the story – a barge on a river – intrigued Jukka Pohjolainen, Director of Productions at the Savonlinna Opera Festival.
Of special interest were the majestic Belogradchik Rocks and the Magura Cave. The Director of the Rossini Festival in Pesaro and the Artistic Director of the Copenhagen Opera Festival expressed their admiration for the diverse activities of the Sofia Opera and the innovative solutions to attract the audience.
Over eight sessions, the debate took place on several very important topics:
Are festivals the future of opera?
Attracting international audiences while expanding local ones.
Festival and opera season programming.
There were also special discussions on issues of sustainability, sponsorship, the impact of festivals in the regions and the digitalisation of art.
Fifty delegates from twenty-five institutions from fifteen countries participated in this meeting, including representatives from Opera Latin America and Opera America.
The programme also included a series of talks and exchanges between organisers, festival directors and experts in different areas of the opera sector.
The specialised meeting was attended by directors of some of the biggest and most prestigious festivals: Bayreuth, Bregenz, Savonlinna, Macerata, Bergamo, Garsington, Pesaro, Glyndebourne and many others, as well as internationally renowned opera institutions from Madrid, Copenhagen, Rotterdam, Antwerp.
Opera Europa, the international organization of which Sofia Opera is a member, currently unites 233 opera houses from 44 countries including Latin America, America, Japan, China, South Korea, India, New Zealand, Israel, Oman.
Festival Perelada / Iconna