Interview with Andrei Fermeșanu, the Acting General Director of the Romanian National Opera from Iași
Andrei Fermeșanu, the Acting General Director of the Romanian National Opera from Iași, talks about the current season of the institution, but also shares some good news for the opera lovers from Iași: the project for the foundation of new headquartersfor the lyrical theater in Iași.
Mister Fermeșanu, considering the fact that is the beginning of February, we can talk about the first half of the current season. How did the public react to the efforts made by the Romanian National Opera from Iași in the recent months?
The public took the project very well, perhaps even more so as this yearis a year of celebration. At the top of the list is Puccini's centenary- new performances, which we have in mind for the first half of the year. Here we're talking about Turandot, the Puccinian opera that we hope to present to the audience very soon. In the previous season in Iași, it had the form of a concert, but this time, we want to have a show with all the constituent elements. Moreover, at the beginning of the year, the first performance in 2024 was a Puccinian creation, La Bohème, where we had Ștefan Pop as a guest, with Daniel Jinga leading the orchestra. It was a success. We started off this year on the right foot, by celebrating Puccini's work. We'll continue in March with Tosca, featuring Maestro Conductor Daniel Jinga.
Also, let's not forget that this year marks the 150th anniversary of the premiere of Verdi's famous Messa da Requiem (premiered at San Carlo, Milan), and we will celebrate this moment as well.
On February 29th, every year, we celebrate Rossini's music. We thought of starting with a gala that goes beyond The Barber of Seville, because that's generally what is presented in Romania when we mention Rossini. We will showcase arias, orchestral parts duets, trios and quartets from Rossini's creations, hoping to have a new premiere, the famous La Cenerentola, by the end of 2024, as we have many talented artists and we will surely strengthen our forces with guest performers.
So, good news for the audience from Iași. And from what I understood, there's another piece of good news - plans for new headquarters for the Romanian National Opera from Iași. Since it's a large-scale project, I would like to start by discussing the necessity of this initiative.
This is an extraordinarily good and necessary piece of good news because the Romanian National Opera from Iașiis the largest performing arts institution in the entire region of Moldova, employing hundreds of staff, including artists with contracts. The current arrangement with the National Theater...it's like two brothers sharing a house that has become a bit too small for us. Not to mention the technical requirements of opera performances-whether is acoustics or the availability of boxes in the hall...There are very many positive aspects that come into view with the announcement of this huge project, new headquarters for the Romanian National Opera from Iași. There are very promising sings as the identified land for the new venue is transitioning from local authority ownership to that of the state, the central authority. From here, the entire initiation of precedures begins, primarily focusing on documentation. We are also collaborating with the Ministry of Culture, and at the moment, we are gathering the necessary data and information for a specification sheet that will later be integrated into the entire documentation. I'm thrilled that there is also budgetary support- an extraordinary piece of news!
It will benefit not only the residents of Iași but the entire region of Moldova, as we have spectators coming from all countries and cities of Moldova to attend performances at the Romanian National Opera from Iași. So, it will be a regional center, not just for Iași and its audience.
Is it too early toestimate how longit will take tocarry out these works?
Of course, it depends, on the implementation timeline of the project phases, but the best news is that there is funding and a law allocating the necessary amount to the Romanian National Opera from Iași (it's not a small sum at all). The prospects are uplifting for the artists who have been waiting for 68 years for their own venue where they can present performances to the audience at the level of artistic and technical resources available in the opera. In this arrangement with the National Theater, as I mentioned, we only have access for 15 days in a month, during which we need to ensure a number of performances, prepare our artists, and of course, accomodate guests for diversity and novelty.
So, a new venue, meeting all European standards of 2024, means a more cultured society because one of the roles of the opera is to cultivate people.
What is the allocated budget for this project, and also, could you tell us when these discussions began?
Some discussions have been in the public space for many years, but it's only now that they are taking a more concrete form. From what I know, we are talking about a figure approaching 80 million euros - a substantial amount, as I mentioned.
From here onwards, I can only hope that everything will proceed according to a calendar - you know that unforseen elements can always arise - but optimism, or "la speranza", as Puccini's lyrics in La Bohème say, governs our actions at this moment.
We welcome this initiative and can only congratulate the decision-makers of any kind who have condescended to carry out this project that has been discussed in the public space for years and is now becoming a reality.
Translated by Tania-Ana Lupu,
University of Bucharest, Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures, MTTLC, year I
Corrected by Silvia Petrescu