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Va Invita Maria Biesu

12th International Opera and Ballet Festival in Chisinau

Only once a year Chisinau audience has a possibility to meet the greatest opera and ballet stars. This happens when Maria Biesu, whose amazingly clear and powerful voice has touched the hearts of many opera amateurs, invites her friends to participate in the traditional opera and ballet festival. This year the festival was held in Chisinau for the twelfth time.

Many famous opera and ballet performers from Russia, Romania, Italy, Hungary, Belorussia, Turkey and England came to perform on the Chisinau stage. The festival included six operas (“Dido and Aeneas” by H.Purcell, “La Boheme” by G.Puccini, “Norma” by V.Bellini, “The Queen of Spades” by P.Tchaikovsky, “Fancy-dress Ball” by G.Verdi and “Passions for a million” by G.Rossini), two ballets (“Giselle” by A.Adan and “Don Quixote” by L.Minkus), a gala-concert in the National Palace as well as a charity concert in the Organ Hall.

Some of the participants came to Chisinau for the second time. For example, Gheorghe Stanciu, a famous conductor from Romania who has toured around France, Russia and Italy, Mauro Augustini, a soloist of Milan La Scala whose repertoire includes up to 20 parts in different Verdi’s operas he has been interpreting with big success across the world, Evgenii Akimov from St.Petersburg whose voice has been heard in the French Grand Opera and in Milan La Scala. For the first time Moldovan audience could to the fullest appreciate the talent of Irina Bogacheva (Mariinsky Theatre of St.Petersburg), Irina Bikulova (the Bolshoi Theatre), Gabriela Feliber (an opera singer from Hungary) and many others.

The event opened with the opera “Dido and Aeneas” by the British composer Henry Purcell. It was written in 1689 and is considered to be one of the best operas of the British Renaissance. Our opera prima donna gave an explanation for her choice saying that she had performed in Italian, French, German, Romanian and Russian, but never in the English language. The grateful audience gave the opera’s performers a standing ovation. Vladimir Voronin, the President of Moldova and some members of the government attended the premiere.

Evgenii Akimov from St.Petersburg was rewarded with the warm and abundant applause of the audience for singing the part of Rudolf in Puccini’s opera “La Boheme”. In 2002, the Russian Union of Theatres awarded him a highly esteemed prize for his excellent performance in this opera. Mauro Augustini, a soloist of La Scala and last disciple of the great Mario del Monaco, received more than one round of applause for singing in Verdi’s opera “Fancy-dress Ball”. Russian ballet dancers, Oksana Kuzmenko and Victor Dik showed a high level of professionalism in Adan’s Giselle. It should also be mentioned that the Chisinau Opera and Ballet Theatre was filled to capacity during all performances.

As part of the festival Maria Biesu organized a charity concert with the participation of Irina Bogaceva and Mauro Augustini to help needy retired artists, those who dedicated their lives to the theater.

Unfortunately, so far the festival Va Invita Maria Biesu has not gained a governmental status. But thanks to some people in Moldova who appreciate art it became possible to organize the festival for the twelfth time.

At the gala-concert in the National Palace that completed the festival, Maria Biesu said: “I have a feeling of great satisfaction. For me autumn is a time for coming together with the most dedicated opera and ballet performers. I really want to believe that this festival which has gathered stars of the greatest eternal musical genre has been a true celebration for all those who attended. With all my heart I wanted to give the people of Moldova a celebration and I think I have succeeded.

By Ludmila Mamaliga
Translated by Vlada Popushoi

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