AS INDIVIDUAL AND COLLECTIVE CATEGORY
An exciting story has been unfolding for as many as 125 years, embellished with a plethora of splendid moments. It is the story of one of the most remarkable edifices in our city – Rijeka’s theatre building. Its inauguration on October 3rd 1885 is certainly one of the most important and glorious moments in the history of this city. The city and the theatre have shared the same history and, more often than not, the same destiny ever since.
Built and opened in the age of intensive economic growth, the theatre then hosted the latest performances, such as freshly premiered Italian operas, and welcomed famous artists adored by Europe of the time - the famous maestro Puccini and the divine Sarah Bernhardt, to name but a few. However, opera aficionados in Rijeka have always displayed most affection towards the most performed author on Rijeka’s opera stage - Giuseppe Verdi. And it is with performance of his “Aida” that the impressive building was inaugurated 125 years ago in the city on river Rječina. It was only appropriate to start off this celebratory season with a concert called “A Verdi Gala”.
We will come back to Verdi with new staging of his opera “Moć sudbine”/“La forza del destino (The Force of Destiny)”. It is precisely destiny that has forced itself as the key word of the season, as a leitmotif, as a common thread running within works of various authors from various periods, as the idea omnipresent in this day and age. With individual and collective destiny as our guidelines this season, we will reflect on many questions. How much have we as individuals been given, and how much is defined by time and space we live in? To what extent do time and space define the scene/stage of our lives, regardless of the level – local or global?
Furthermore, can we find refuge from the social breakdowns in the cocoons of our lives and be at the mercy of the game of destiny alone?
Were the protagonists of Brecht’s “The Threepenny Opera”, or Buñuel’s leading characters in “The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie”, for that matter, defined by their social milieu; did they share the destiny of their community and to what extent? Could the moments of personal happiness and unexpected pleasure, as well as those surreal moments of personal fears coming to life happen regardless of the community? What do Daniil Harms’s characters by communicating their “nonsense” tell us about the time their author lived in and what can they tell us about the time we live in?
Can the story of Rijeka’s destiny be told as a story of a woman who waves goodbye and waits patiently, as it will be related by the project of Anica Tomić and Jelena Kovačić?
Did the writers and philosophers from two completely different parts of the world, Ryûnosuke Akutagawa and Carlo Michelstaedter, let themselves go with the inevitable flow of their own destinies or, perhaps, by doing so, try to fight it or even avoid it?
Questions are far too many. Yet, the theatre’s task is to ask questions, not to provide answers, as has been stated so many times. This season will be no different, as we will do our best to reflect on the reality of the present moment through the pieces that are going to be staged. The very manner of staging will make you - our audience – think about those questions long after the final curtain comes down and not to forget about them as if they were just another episode of last night’s TV series or yet another pessimistic headline from yesterday’s papers you only glanced at.
Theatre is the liveliest and the most direct, almost intimate, connection with (very complex) art, a completely new reality that has been residing in this theatre building for 125 years.
Nada Matošević Orešković,
Manager of the Croatian National Theatre Ivan pl. Zajc