Tomaž Svete: ANTIGONE *
Concert performance of the opera Libretto: Jurij Souček after Dominik Smole
Tomaž Štular, bass-baritone………….. Kreon
Saša Čano, bass ……………. Teiresias
Urška Arlič Gololičič, soprano …………. Ismena
Darko Vidic, baritone……………… Haimon
Rok Bavčar, baritone ………….. Officer
Martina Robinšak, soprano ……….Messenger
The Glasbena matica mixed choir
RTV Slovenia Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Simon Krečič
* premiere performance
To mark the centenary of the founding of Ljubljana’s opera company, the 33rd Slovene Music Days will host the premiere performance of the opera Antigone, a work completed in 2014 by Tomaž Svete (b. 1956), the most prominent contemporary Slovene opera composer. When awarding him the prestigious Kozina Prize in 2016 for his operatic oeuvre, the prize committee singled out, among other things, his individuality in seeking new sonic possibilities, enriched by philosophical and humanist views of art and the world. With Antigone, the eighth of Svete’s ten operas to date and the third to be based on an ancient Greek source, the composer aims to build on the humanist note of his most successful opera Crito, based on the Platonic dialogue of the same name and the winner of numerous international prizes. The well-known mythological tale of a heroine of lofty morals who consciously defies the king and listens to her conscience despite the risk was used by Sophocles in his tragedy Antigone. Dominik Smole adapted Sophocles’ material for his own drama of the same name, and it was this work that Jurij Souček (b. 1929) used as a basis for his libretto for Svete’s Antigone. According to the composer himself, the central hub of the dramatic action is “the dichotomy between materialism and idealism, between the world of narrow, limited petit bourgeois reality and the search for a different sense of the world, in the sense of a search for one’s own identity. I was most attracted by the role of Creon, who has to decide between love and duty. As the most tragic figure in this drama, he ends up stifling the human being in himself and condemns Antigone to death because she, following her own moral obligation, buried her brother Polyneices in full view of everyone, in this way breaking her obedience to the king’s order. In a broader sense: obedience to social norms.” An interesting feature of the libretto based on Smole’s play is the absence of Antigone as a dramatic figure on the stage and, at the same time, her constant presence through the epic narrative about her. “The difference between Sophocles’ original and the modernist approach in the drama is also apparent through the development of the characters, who are not depicted statically; but the essential conflict remains unchanged. The role of the chorus in the sense of a bearer of moral and ethical function is lost, and individuals have to make their own choices,” adds Svete. This three-act opera, which will be performed here for the first time in semi-scenic form, aims to convey a fundamental and very topical message about the importance of moral and ethical commitment, without which “existing systems and structures will saw off the branch they are sitting on”.S vete’s three-act Antigone will be performed here for the first time in semi-scenic form and will feature the following excellent soloists from the Ljubljana Opera: Urška Arlič Gololičič, who is also active on the international opera circuit and Croatian bass Saša Čano, who began his career as an operatic soloist at the Croatian National Opera in Osijek; The members of the Ljubljana Opera taking part in the performance include the young singer Rok Bavčar. Also performing is Tomaž Štular, member of the Slovenian Philharmonic Choir, Martina Robinšak and the baritone Darko Vidic, a frequent guest soloist at both of Slovenia’s opera houses. The soloists, (the Mixed choir of the Glasbena Matica) and the RTV Slovenia Symphony Orchestra will be conducted by Simon Krečič, since 2013 the artistic director of the Maribor Opera at the Slovenian National Theatre Maribor.
Helena Filipčič Gardina
Before the concert, a conversation with Tomaž Svete will take place in Marjan Kozina Hall. A conversation will be moderated by Primož Trdan.