70 Years of the Opera: The Splendor and International Significance of Sarajevo School of Singing

operaHow many voices, how many decades of training and sacrifice, how many thousands of hours of training and rehearsals, how many roles, how many exhausting rehearsals and earned applause was needed?

Sarajevo school of singing has a solid foundation and prominent representatives, it has its own place in the world, and it continues to live and develop in its cradle – the National Theatre in Sarajevo.

70 years jubilee of the Opera was only the reason for finding out that all the names and addresses that in the past seven decades made opera life, today can be viewed as a school with full responsibility – a process and phenomenon that goes beyond mere chronology and the book of the records. Significant figures who wore repertoire in all these seven decades gave a lot to the audience but also colleagues around them, inspired others, set high standards, passed secrets to younger generations and propagated the name of Sarajevo throughout the whole world.

Last night’s gala concert that was organized on the occasion of 70years of the Sarajevo Opera in full splendor and significance showed achievements of Sarajevo school of singing and convinced us in another important fact.

Despite the brutal interruption of continuity in the work of the Sarajevo Opera, which took place during the aggression on BiH, the quality remained to live, and well laid foundations endured the challenges of civilization. The young generation of the Sarajevo Opera soloists who sang last night with the pre-war generation on the same stage, showed their excellence.

Therefore the name of those who attended last night gala and celebrated seventy years of Opera with their beautiful voices should start by mentioning following: Adema Pljevljak, Aida Corbadzic, Ivan Saric, Amir Saracevic, Denis Isakovic, Melisa Hajrulahovic, Leonard Saric and Marko Kalajanovic. They make the current set of soloists of the National Theatre in Sarajevo, and with the choir and borrowed Sarajevo Philharmonic Orchestra, with conductors Ognjen Bomostar, Dario Vucic and Danijel Zontar and manager Jasmin Basic, they make this beautiful story.

They were joined on stage by some of the voices that remained remembered in the pre-war period, led by prima donna Radmila Smiljanic who appeared five decades ago on the same scene. It was wonderful to hear the four singers of the middle generation, which today represent Sarajevo school on stages around the world: Sonja Milenkovic, Violeta Sreckovic, Zorka Hunjak and Tamara Strelov Tabulov and baritone Valentina Emceva. Excellent local veteran Ivica Saric must be mentioned as well.

The management of the house, led by agile Marijela Margeta Hasimbegovic, tried to show new generations and those who today may not know how to evaluate the significance of this kind of art, the intersection of something precious and sublime, which includes talent, hard work, career and working life of hundreds of well-known and less well-known names.

Last night’s concert showed us that, in fact, the cultural scene of BiH has a glorious tradition and that no war and no post-war ignorance cannot delete it.


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