Culture Supplement

1979: "Goca e Kaçanik" in Tirana

"Librettists Ajmone Dhomi and Jusuf Buxhovi, starting from the novel by the writer Milto Sotir Gurra, have created a libretto with clear and diverse characters, with a developed dramaturgy with events and climaxes that grip you and make you follow the work with interest from start to finish. The inspired music of the talented composer Rauf Dhomi helps powerfully and merges fluently with the libretto", wrote the famous composer Tish Daija, after the premiere of "Kaçanik's Oyster" in Tirana on July 21, 1979, in the article published in the newspaper "Union" republished in "Rilindja", on August 1 of that year

On Saturday and Sunday we saw the premiere of the opera "Goca e Kaçaniku", which was performed by the troupe of the Opera and Ballet Theater, so the emotions are still fresh. The authors of the opera, the librettists Ajmone Dhomi and Jusuf Buxhovi, as well as the composer Rauf Dhomi, through their work, drew us to the years 1905-1908, a period in which the entire Albanian people had risen decisively in the war against the Ottoman invaders.

The event takes place in the mountains of Kaçanik. The main heroine of the work, Pafika, is presented here with the characteristic features of the Albanian woman, pure, generous, lively and brave. She takes an active part with a weapon in hand in the fight of the Albanian people against the Ottoman hordes. In her beautiful epic-lyrical aria, at the beginning of the second act, she sings: "We will win freedom with blood...". The whole line of development of her character is permeated by a strong patriotic feeling. She, as well as the men, never take the rifle out of their hands for freedom and independence.

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Facsimile of the page of the "Rilindja" newspaper of August 1, 1979

The parents want to marry Pafika to an honest, brave and generous boy, who is ready to sacrifice his life for freedom. But she has found these qualities in Trimori, whom she also loves. Even their love line develops and comes to life against a deep patriotic background. In their third act duet, which the composer wrote with great inspiration, they sing "...love and freedom". Her character takes on dramatic proportions and reaches its dramatic climax when Pafika, caught by surprise by the traitor Rus Bash and the Ottoman officer Fiqal, who want to send her to the enemy camp, slips out of their hands. Brave, nimble and powerful as an eagle, she disarms Rus Bashi with a stick and kills the traitor with his weapon.

Pafika is the main heroine and occupies the most important place in the work. But the main place in the work is occupied by the insurgent people, armed in the fight for freedom and independence. The folk choir is the pivot of the whole work, in the bosom and background of which the characters and their drama unfold. The choir-people takes the proportions of the main hero throughout the work and especially at the end of the first and second act. Against this background, the characters of the brave, courageous and patriotic Trimor, Pafika's father and mother, Rus Bash, the Ottoman army officer Fiqal, etc. are developed.

Librettists Ajmone Dhomi and Jusuf Buxhovi, starting from the novel by the writer Milto Sotir Gurra, have created a libretto with clear and diverse characters, with a developed dramaturgy with events and climaxes that grip you and make you follow the work with interest from beginning to end. The inspired music of the talented composer Rauf Dhomi helps powerfully and blends seamlessly with the libretto.

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Poster of the opera "Goca e Kaçaniku" for the premiere at the Opera and Ballet Theater in Tirana (Opera and Ballet Theater Archive)

All the music of the work is inspired by the beautiful Kosovar folk songs and dances, which he seems to know and love passionately. If you don't love folk music, you can't understand it and even less then go inside, find the nectar, making it your spiritual property to be able to later, after you have been well impregnated with it, be inspired by it in your creations . In this premiere, the music sounds fresh throughout the work, because it has a variety of thematic, melodic, harmonic and polyphonic material. The broken rhythms typical of the Albanian folk were successfully used here (chorale of the first act 9/8, girls' chorus here 7/8, women and Pafika second act 7/8, orchestral intermexo 5/8 etc.).

The orchestration is done with taste and skill and helps strongly in the dramaturgy of the work. A powerful and valuable contribution to the successful realization of the opera "Goca e Kaçanik" was given by the painter of the show, the merited artist Hysen Devolli, who with his scenography took us for a short time to the gorge of Kaçanik, in a decisive period for the destinies of the people. The conductor of the show, the People's Artist, Rifat Teqja, who with his creative skills knew how to break down the inspiration of the authors and together with the other performers bring it to the audience, also deserves credit.