Conductor Francesco Rosa on "Medea" at the Sofia Opera: The enormous tension is recreated with few notes
Photo: Представяне на „Медея“ в Софийската опера, снимка – Даниел Димитров/БТА / Photo: Presentation of "Medea" at the Sofia Opera, photo – Daniel Dimitrov/BTA
13 Feb 2024BTA

Conductor Francesco Rosa on "Medea" at the Sofia Opera: The enormous tension is recreated with few notes

Composer Luigi Cherubini has managed to recreate the enormous tension with few notes, and in this it is very reminiscent of Gluck's Mozart-influenced operas. This is what conductor Francesco Rosa said on the occasion of the upcoming premiere of "Medea" at the Sofia Opera.

According to him, every single phrase in this work has enormous dramatic power and depth – of each of the characters, and especially of Medea. "It's a strange opera. Each aria is like a separate symphony. The influence of Beethoven is very clear," he added.


"This is an opera for actors to sing. We can, also, enjoy the acting and the interpretation by the singer-performers. This is extremely difficult for them. In order to express his dramatic idea, the composer did not think much about the comfort of the singers," Francesco Rosa commented.

It is strange that "Medea" was forgotten because it has always been a success, especially among musicians, but it is extremely difficult, the conductor notes. These are operas that are not performed today – because there are no performers who are at the level required, adds director Marco Gandini.


"I have been coming to Bulgaria for a long time to work here. But I think this time we have the perfect voices – both vocally speaking and as a performing artistry", Francesco Rosa points out.

According to Gandini, very few sopranos manage to perform the role of Medea, even today. "I have not been to Bulgaria before, but the reason that aroused my enthusiasm was precisely the vocality of Bulgarian singers," says the director.

He recalls that he has worked with Krassimira Stoyanova, Ghena Dimitrova, Raina Kabaivanska, Darina Takova, Nicolai Ghiaurov, Mariana Pencheva. "So in my youth I learned a lot from Bulgarian singers who sang in Italy and all over the world. Ghena Dimitrova was an extraordinary woman and we all remember her on stage," says Marco Gandini.

He explains that working with the artists, he gets a feel for their vocal history and voice culture. "I feel and hear the voices that have a vocal presence. Because very often today you find voices that have no presence. There is a sound coming out, but there is no presence. And everybody here at "Medea" has a presence, which is wonderful. And, moreover, they have the dramatic understanding that Francesco Rosa talks about," adds the director.


The original score of "Medea" did not include a ballet. "It's our choice because it's a dramatic opera. But it also belongs to neoclassicism, vocally speaking. So I wanted to include a stylistic element that was gentle and delicate," says Marco Gandini.

According to Lyudmila Ilieva, who worked on the choreography, Gandini has quite cleverly managed to find a place for the ballet dancers and ballerinas – to visualize by moving what is happening. There is a 12-person corps de ballet and a separate pair of soloists.

"I'd say we got a good result thanks to the set design, which is quite conducive to ballet – which needs space," Ilieva said.


The set was inspired by the characters of Medea and Glauce, as well as Greek mythology, said set designer Andrea Tocchio.

In Act I the set design is influenced by Glauce and specific objects, in Act II and III there is a completely different atmosphere of lighting and a differently organised space. The stage elements have a different colour to create a new space, says Marco Gandini.

He says the sets are inspired by Greek architecture but with "a new look".


As BTA reported, on 23, 24 and 25 February are the premiere performances of "Medea". The libretto is by François-Benoît Hoffmann, based on the tragedies of the same name by Euripides and Pierre Corneille. The action is set in the ancient city of Corinth.

In the main roles are the opera singers of the Sofia Opera: Medea – Gabriela Georgieva, Lilia Kehayova and Diana Lamar, Jason – Daniel Ostretsov and Daniel Damyanov, Créon – Petar Naydenov and Stefan Vladimirov, Glauce – Stanislava Momekova and Diana Vassileva, Néris – Violeta Radomirska and Tsveta Sarambeleva.