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King Michael I, celebrated at Bucharest National Opera

Wednesday, 26 October 2011 , ora 13.43

There arevery few words that can describe the emotion of experiencing a historic moment, sealed by certain symbols whose existence no one and nothing can ever destroy. I was last night at the Bucharest National Opera Hall and I attended the Royal Gala performance in honour of His Majesty, King Michael I of Romania.

It was a festive moment celebrated through music, a language that makes nobility and simple admirers of beauty become one. The whole event was governed by intense emotion, even more obvious in the moments when King Michael I was given a standing ovation, at the beginning and at the end of the evening. Another emotional moment was when the Royal Anthem (Long Live the King) was played. Everything culminated with a 'Happy Birthday!', that the audience began to sing as if prompted by an invisible sign.

From the moment the Gala begun, all eyes were turned towards the main box seat, where His Majesty, King Michael was together with his wife, Queen Anne, Her Royal Highness, Princess Margarita (in a superb green gown) and Prince Radu Duda.

Cleverly written programme

The presence of the three soloists - soprano Nelly Miricioiu, tenors Vlad Mirita and Teodor Ilincai, together with the Bucharest National Opera Orchestra conducted by Tiberiu Soare and the Representative Orchestra of The Romanian Army conducted by Lieutenant Aurel Gheorghita rose to the occasion. I would say that the programme was very cleverly written, with songs situated halfway between classic hits and music for connoisseurs, that appealed to the audience, but which did not divert the attention from the celebrated event or from His Majesty's presence there. We listened to arias and duets from operas like La Bohème or Tosca by Giacomo Puccini.

Performers befitting the event

Nelly Miricioiu has been much applauded for her convincing interpretations of the arias in the programme. Very flexible, she was able to alter her mood rapidly to fit the various heroines she embodied, like Mimi, Lucrezia from the opera The Two Foscari (I Due Foscari)by Giuseppe Verdi, Hanna Glawari from The Merry Widow (Die lustige Witwe)by Franz Lehár, Wally from the opera La Wallyby Alfredo Catalani, ending with the song Granadaby Agustín Lara. The performance that tenor Teodor Ilincai gave on the aria sung by Calaf - Nessun dorma - was very profound. Teodor Ilincai, with a colourful tonality and a deep, powerful voice, effortlessly and unaffectedly took a firm stand in front of the orchestra. Vlad Mirita brought the Naples sun in the Bucharest National Opera Hall by singing the canzonet O sole mioby Eduardo di Capua.

The conductor Tiberiu Soare was magnificent, as always: with elegant and precise gestures he conveyed to the orchestra the complete grandeur of the music but also of the historic moment. The members of the Representative Orchestra of The Romanian Army made a spectacular entrance right from the beginning when they performed, partly on stage, partly placed around the Hall The Siege of Plevnaby Anton Kratochwil. Conducted by Lieutenant Aurel Gheorghita, the Representative Orchestra had the audience return to the vivacious and glamorous mood, after the dramatic areas by the afore-mentioned composers.


The Gala concert had also been available for watching outdoors, on two screens placed on the Opera's building façade. Here are a couple of thoughts:

A beautiful, touching celebration, two events - one at the Atheneum, the other one here at the Opera - and I am happy that we are witnesses to this historic event.

Nicolae Licaret, Artistic Director of the 'George Enescu' Philharmonic

Did you watch the event from out here?

Partly here, but mostly at home. We had the fortune and privilege of watching the ending with great joy. I was telling the young ones that my grandfather had actually attended a military parade in the '40s - he was twenty years old at the time and so was the King. My grandfather is no longer alive, the King - thankfully - still is, and we had the honour of witnessing this event.

Petra Gherasim
Translated by Florina Sãmulescu and Alina Popa
MTTLC, Bucharest University