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Interview with baritone singer Florin Estefan - General Director of the Romanian National Opera of Cluj-Napoca

Monday, 13 February 2023 , ora 11.15

The Romanian National Opera of Cluj-Napoca is organizing a new edition of the Opera Ball, after a three-year break caused by the pandemic. You will be able to follow this event live on at Radio România Muzical tomorrow, on February the 11th, from 8:00 p.m.

Baritone singer Florin Estefan, the General Director of the Romanian National Opera of Cluj-Napoca will give us more details about the Opera Ball:

The Opera Ball - a cultural but also fashionable society event, designed with elegance both in terms of the musical schedule and of the setting, to which the audience members will also contribute through their gala attire. Firstly, from the musical perspective, could you please tell us what our listeners will be able to hear from 8 to 10 p.m.?

We are not coming up with anything new. There will be waltzes - by Strauss, and parts of Samson and Delilah by Saint-Saens…What is new is Mihai Diaconescu's performance of the first part of Piano Concerto No. 1 by Tchaikovsky, thanks to the partnership that the Romanian National Opera of Cluj has with Bösendorfer, that provided us with a concert piano. And there will be another special moment, as it is the year of Rachmaninoff - an elegy for piano and cello by Rachmaninoff performed by cellist Octavian Lup and pianist Mihai Diaconescu, with a choreographic moment created by maestro Vasile Solomon, with Andreea Jura, prima ballerina of the Romanian National Opera of Cluj, as the protagonist. Otherwise, the schedule will be vaporous, with waltz as its theme, and with choreographic moments... We will be able to listen to tenor singer Daniel Magdal who is a special guest alongside mezzo-soprano Ramona Zaharia and young baritone singer Mihai Damian, of the "Gheorghe Dima" Music Academy. They will be the guest vocal soloists of the Opera Ball. The conductor will be Tiberiu Soare, from the Romanian National Opera of Bucharest.

This year, for the very first time, a partnership we want to become tradition is the one with the Muzica Reprezentativă a Armatei conducted by Colonel Aurel Gheorghiță, the General Inspector of military music. It's a premiere for Cluj Opera Ball that the orchestra of Muzica Reprezentativă a Armatei is present. They will perform the National Anthem of Romania in the opening, after which, in the third part of the ball (because as you know, the ball has three parts: the first part is artistic with all the moments we previously talked about, the second is the dinner dedicated to all guests, and in the third part, the entire opera hall becomes a ballroom where the public, being a character of this ball due to the imposed dress code, can waltz), the guests will dance on the waltz music performed live by Muzica Reprezentativă a Armatei.

An important moment is the Excellence Awards Ceremony. Can you please tell us what awards will be given?

Just like in the previous years, the "Transilvania Leaders" Trophy will be awarded, based on the decision of former rectors' Club and the Transilvania Leaders Business Club within the Foundation. After that, the awards will given by the Romanian National Opera of Cluj, namely the "Dimitrie Popovici Bayreuth" award for a male singer, the "Lya Hubic" award for a female singer and the "Gabriela Taub Darvaș" award for choreography meant for a male or female ballerina. There is also the "Alexandru Fărcaș" award for a young talent.

After 10 p.m., as you've already mentioned, the public is invited to have a refined meal and then to waltz, on the ground floor of the performance hall which is transformed into a dance floor. So, we are talking about the fashionable society element of the event, as the audience abides by a special dress code, White-Tie and Black-Tie Formal. This is the fourth edition of the Opera Ball in this format. What was the public's reception to the event's configuration?

It's more than positive energy, it's a ball atmosphere, an atmosphere reminiscent of the salons of old, and we really like what we see, and the way the audience responds to our invitation to respect this dress code - Black-Tie, White-Tie and more, as the military personnel are invited to come in full dress uniform. It's a fairytale setting and atmosphere for the times we live in. We expect the same energy and atmosphere to be present this year too, especially since the military personnel are in greater numbers and are all dressed in these gala outfits that add a special touch to the event. The way in which the public responded, their involvement in respecting the dress-code and their participation in the third part of the event when everyone waltzes surprised us from the very first edition.

Interview by Florica Jalbă
Translated by Ioana-Diana Sandu,
University of Bucharest, Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures, MTTLC, year II
Corrected by Silvia Petrescu