Culture

"Goca e Kaçanik" with a full hall, returns the enthusiasm of the premiere in the rerun

While tickets for Friday's premiere went on sale for two hours, even those for the first and only rerun these days - with a hint of a return in the fall - have seen strong interest. With the hall full, the show with two parts and three tableaus brought to the public stories from more than a century ago, connecting with the present day.

It rarely seems that half an hour before a classical music concert the hall is filled to 80 percent. For opera performances, the situation is different. Even in the replay. Even in the outskirts of the capital. The reprise of "Goca e Kaçanik" is likely to premiere. It has left nothing to the enthusiasm of a premiere.

While tickets for Friday's premiere went on sale for two hours, even those for the first and only rerun these days - with a hint of a return in the fall - have seen strong interest. With the hall full, the show with two parts and three tableaus has brought to the public stories from more than a century ago, connecting with the present day. Opera as an institution founded in August 2021 functions as an agency. Soloists and other members of the Kosovo Philharmonic, members of the Kosovo National Ballet, professionals from the region and young choirs have come together to mark a new chapter in the country's cultural scene: that of the interpretation of the first opera of Kosovo, by composer Rauf Dhomi with libretto by Ajmone Dhomi and Jusuf Bujhov.

The story that begins in the first decade of the last century, Kaçanik's shots kept the audience with their eyes closed for almost two hours, with about 20 minutes of rest between the two parts. Pafika (Adelina Paloja) from a girl who goes through the routine of a young woman, turns into an example of the fight against enemies. The efforts of Idriz Seferi on the eastern side of Kosovo to free the region from the Ottomans turn into a scene where the cause of the conditions, improvisation is the main word. But enthusiasm makes the difference.

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Between the premiere and the rerun, an exhibition was opened with images of the staging of "Kaçanik's Oyster" in Tirana in 1979 (Photo: Arben Llapashtica)

Conductor Edon Ramadani, who has worked for a long time on scores, said that with all the infrastructural deficiencies, the staging is special.

"Normally there are many shortages, but it is historic", he said. According to Ramadani, the interest of the public in the replay was great. He mentioned the plans for the show to have a repeat in Pristina in November.

"It is important that a new spirit is being built in the public as well as in the choir, soloists and orchestra", he said. According to Ramadani, the young people engaged in this project are the biggest beneficiaries.

A cocktail party was held between the premiere of the rerun. It was accompanied by an exhibition. The photographs and images of the posters from 1979, when the Opera Theater in Albania staged "Kaçanik's Oyster", took place there.

The third Saturday of July 1979 at the Opera and Ballet Theater in Tirana was reserved for a performance from Kosovo. For the first time, an opera by an author from Kosovo would be performed in the capital of Albania. On Sunday, July 22 of that year, the first replay was given. The days of the week and together with the dates are the only handwritten notes on the poster of that time that bears the stamp "Archive" on the right side. The show would send to Tirana a fragment of history not only of music from Kosovo. Almost 45 years later, this play is staged in Kosovo. The director is Nikolin Gurakuqin, who almost half a century ago was the figure in the play. The black and white images of that have brought back the nostalgia of the show. The exhibition prepared by Rreze Breznica has caused times to be compared. But unlike world operas that are staged everywhere, "Goca..." was not so easy.

Conductor Ramadani said that it is a production, where there is no shooting, through which the soloists could see more of their role.

"This has made the process difficult. But we worked on something unique", he said. As a production where the member of the Opera Steering Council, Dardan Selimaj, had a great responsibility, "Goca.." laid the foundation for the staging of local operas.

It was the years 1971-1972 when Rauf Dhomi would compose "The Oyster...". He was quite excited on Friday, at the premiere of his opera. He remembered the time when he wrote the work.

"When I wrote the opera, I wanted the theme to be Kosovar, since it is also the first local opera. From all the novellas, novels, dramas, I chose Milto Sotir Gurrë. I wanted it to be from Albania as an author. Although the end of the novel goes in a different direction, I adapted it to our conditions and requirements. Hopefully it will be executed here, one day. That day came in 1978, on the centenary of the League of Prizren, but it was performed only in concert form, that is, half, only music", recalled Academician Dhomi, the first and only composer of operatic works, as well as the founder of the national style of vocal-instrumental forms.

The composer started writing the music for the opera "Goca e Kaçaniku" during his post-diplomatic studies in Sarajevo, which he completed in 1972, at the same time as he finished the composition for his first opera. Besides "Gocës...", he also composed the music for the opera "Dasma arbëreshe".

Through the art in the show, a call is made to fight the enemies. The role of pafika invites girls to take their destiny in their hands and leave the traditional routine. While in "Goca..." the traditional together with the modern have taken the big step: that of staging the first opera in Kosovo.