Onegin’s Odyssey Continues!


Only just back from Milan, our Onegin is already awaited in Ljubljana. In view of its intensive touring schedule, this production has been provided with a second set of decor and costumes. By the time Onegin opens in Slovenia, at the Ljubljana Festival, the sets and costumes will have arrived from Tokyo and the lighting equipment — from Milan. You may recall that in September 2008, Onegin opened the season at the Paris Opera and later went to Riga and Tokyo. This time round, Onegin is to close the 2009 Ljubljana Festival.

Wherever it tours, Onegin generates considerable interest: in Paris, the production was recorded on DVD, in Milan, one of the performances was broadcast live by RAI 3 while, in Ljubljana, a documentary film will be made of the Bolshoi Theatre’s appearances at the Festival. The Ljubljana Summer Festival dates back to 1952, when the Tourist Society of Slovenia organized the lst Tourist Week. By 1953, the Week had developed into a Festival which ever since has been an annual fixture and growing in scope, offering domestic and foreign visitors an increasingly varied program at an increasing number of venues which include the beautiful Ljubljana Castle (the Castle’s overall cultural program is managed by the Festival organizers), the Summer Theatre and the Ivan Cankarjev House (Cultural and Congress Centre) named after Slovenia’s best known writer.

In 2002 (for the first time after an almost 20-year interval), the Bolshoi Theatre went on tour to Slovenia where it opened the jubilee 50th Ljubljana Festival, with performances of Giselle and Onegin. The tour was a great success and, three years later, the Bolshoi was invited to open the 53rd Festival. This 2005 tour program consisted of performances of Prokofiev’s The Fiery Angel and of concerts by the Bolshoi Theatre Orchestra (conducted by Alexander Vedernikov) which played the Shostakovich 7th Symphony and 2nd Concerto for Violoncello and Orchestra (appearing with the orchestra was the famous cellist Alexander Knyazev). Two years later, in 2007, the Bolshoi presented its new Boris Godunov in Slovenia.

This year the Bolshoi will be the only foreign opera company appearing at the Festival. The rest of the Festival opera program will be presented by the Slovenia National Theatre of Opera and Ballet and by the Festival itself. The Festival has a fairly extensive concert program including performances by the London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Valery Gergiev, by the Hortus Musicus, the Prague Chamber Orchestra and many other ensembles.