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Interview with Florin Estefan, manager of Romanian National Opera, Cluj-Napoca

Thursday, 4 May 2023 , ora 12.46

Friday, May 5th, Romanian National Opera, Cluj Napoca will perform the premiere of Don Giovanni by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart with David Crescenzi at the rostrum. We'll find more details about the new production from Florin Estefan, manager of the lyric institution.

Mister Florin Estefan, how will this mise-en-scene of Mozart's Don Giovanni look like? Is it a modern looking one, with innovating elements or a classic one?

Inside the National Opera Cluj and in accordance with what the audience love to hear, we try to blend the modern and the traditional style. The production of Don Giovanni, that we are going to present now is designed on the same view. It is a mise en scene which heavily relies on the relationship between the characters, made to be as real as possible; it is also based on an interpretive and technical musical accuracy,based on enhancingthe young voices and young people of perspective, in a styled mise en scenein termsof decoration and classic costumes. Just as we did with Fanciulla del West, which was a styled performance, and as we did with Macbeth and so on; we are trying to combine these worlds, to somehow bring the traditional performance or to "transport" the audience in the times in which the composers lived or where the composers envisoned the action going on in their work, but we are making sure to "transport" them with modern means, contemporary to the days we live.

How would you describe the collaboration with director Paolo Bosisio and scenographer Domenico Franchi?

Personally, for I am too part of one of the cast, one with performers who have more experience to say so, and one which includes a lot of young people; so I can tell you from my experience that I've worked great with master Bosisio, he has a vast experience, he is a teacher and knows how to work with young people.I really liked that he works on the text, on the relationship between the characters. Everything he did, he did so as to give a helping hand to the singers and help them enhance their qualities and not to complicate their lives. To make their voice heard, to be heard in the room where they're performing, and so on. He is an attentive man, a professional, he likes to work, to delve into his work, he takes his time, to have his own space, and he loves beauty. I really enjoyed working with him. Domenico Franchi made a stylized, beautiful, functional decor that combines transparency with opaque parts. It is truly beautiful. I like it very much, and I think that the moment we see it in the lights it will be utterly and completely special.

The distribution includes both the well-known artists of the Cluj institution, permanent collaborators and guests. I would like to ask you to give us more details about the soloists gathered during this production scheduled for Friday, May 5th and Sunday, May 7th with conductor David Crescenzi.

As you well know we have a program that is called Lia Hubic, this program is a kind of opera studio,but it comes from a collaboration that the institution of the Romanian National Opera in Cluj has with the Gheorghe Dima National Academy of Music since the establishment of the two institutions, more than a century ago. As you very well know, the whole range of important singers who left Cluj and who studied at the National Academy of Music started their careers on the stage of the National Opera.We are only continuing this partnership and here in this production by Don Giovanni we have two casts, one with the experienced ones like me, with my colleague Cristi Hodrea-Leporello, with Diana Tugui as Donna Anna, the one interpreting Donna Elvira is a guest whoretuned home and I am very happy for that, Anita Hartig. In the other roles, Zerlina, Masetto are students from the Academy of Music, Janetka Hosco for example, and Marius Aron, Il Commendatore being Corneliu Huțanu. Eusebiu Huțan, a young graduate of the Academy of Music and soloist in our ensemble will embody Don Ottavio. This is the first cast, the ones that are more experienced, so to speak, but the second cast is entirely made out of debutants, David Pogana was employed by us two years ago, but recently graduated from the Academy of Music, and he is performing the role of Don Giovanni.

Sebastian Balaj-Leporello is a second-year master student at the Academy of Music. Ana Stănescu will be Donna Elvira, she is also a first year master student. We also have Aida Pascu, who follows in the footsteps of her parents, Ionut Pascu and Medeleine Pascu from the National Opera that we know very well. She will make her debut as Dona Anna. Victoria Chicu-Zerlina, Cătălin Moței-Masetto, and Andrei Manea, a graduate of the National University of Music in Bucharest, who then completed his master's degree at the Academy of Music, will be Don Ottavio. We want to give young people a chance, especially in a Mozartian title which, as we know very well, is a school of singing, and everything you learn by performing Mozart applies to absolutely all musical literature. We want to give them the chance, to highlight their personas and to raise our next soloists to carry the baton forward. They have the opportunity to take on these roles, to match them to their souls and personalities, and to fashion these characters as truthful as possible to their own persona.

Interview by Ioana Țintea
Translated by Georgiana Morozii,
University of Bucharest, Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures, MTTLC, year I
Corrected by Silvia Petrescu