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The Verdi-Wagner Gala at the Bucharest National Opera

Monday, 1 April 2013 , ora 11.58

Glamour and elegance at the Bucharest National Opera! Intellectuals and politicians alike took to the red carpet on Sunday night, on the 31st March, 2013. The gala concert celebrating two centuries since the birth of great composers Giuseppe Verdi and Richard Wagner sold out the Great Hall of the National Opera House. Lyrical artists playing in Bucharest, as well as renowned Romanian soloists who have charmed audiences abroad - Valentina Naforniță, Alexandru Badea, Dan Paul Dumitrescu - sang under the baton of conductor Cristian Mandeal.

'The National Opera brings its valuable artists to the foreground and tries to place itself where it was perhaps long ago.' - said the manager of the National Opera, Răzvan Ioan Dincă, in a press conference on Sunday, before the concert began, in the institution's foyer.

Coming from great stages across the world to that of the Bucharest National Opera, Valentina Naforniță, Alexandru Badea, Dan Paul Dumitrescu, along soloists of the Opera have, offered the audience in Bucharest a special night where they could listen to the most beautiful scores by the two great composers Giuseppe Verdi and Richard Wagner for over two hours.

Răzvan Ioan Dincă: 'We have three extraordinary voices now, among the over a hundred Romanian artists who perform abroad. We want to bring them home to sing because they really take some of the greatest stages of the world. They are extremely valuable, and we can't keep them here because we couldn't offer them the frequent fees that they deserve, which an opera house like Covent Garden could easily do, but we can bring them to Romania, appealing to their quality, to have a show or a concert once in a while.'

The show begins in the foyer. Here we have an exhibition of manually processed photographs, with Baroque frames, of great Romanian artists who have been cast in the operas of the two great composers over time. One of them is soprano Maria Slătinaru-Nistor, excited to hear once more the scores that she herself has sang throughout her career.

Maria Slătinaru-Nistor: 'When you say Wagner and Verdi, they really deserve the red carpet and the large audience that we have tonight. The orchestra sounded very homogenous and very nice. I also loved the soloists with their respective arias, which are very difficult to sing.'

'It was a really celebratory moment', said music critic Dumitru Avakian about the evolution of the orchestra conducted by maestro Cristian Mandeal.

Dumitru Avakian: 'The symphony orchestra raises from pit level to that of the responsibility that it must have in a really choice musical theatre. You can tell it is not a Wagner orchestra; it doesn't have the experience of Wagner's music. The soloists, as well, adapt to the style of Wagner. Certainly, Marius Budoiu can be considered closest to the style, since he has a certain experience and culture in this direction.'

For the first time on the stage of the Bucharest National Opera, soprano Valentina Naforniță won over the audience last night.

Valentina Naforniță: 'I am so glad! It is certainly a great achievement to come back and to receive such a good, warm welcome. It's very nice!'

Intellectuals and politicians alike took to the red carpet, and the concert filled the Great Hall of the National Opera.

The Minister of Culture, Daniel Barbu: 'I am impressed! It was great event, from all points of view. The artistic quality of the production was truly amazing.'

On Saturday, 30th March, the new coat of arms of the institution was unveiled, and it will function as the new logo of the Bucharest National Opera from now on.

The manager of the Opera, Răzvan Ioan Dincă: 'It is a coat of arms that we hope will be the institution's symbol for a long time. It refers to history, but at the same time, about what opera means in general.'

Diana Joicaliuc
Translated by Irina Borțoi and Elena Daniela Radu
MTTLC, Bucharest University