The Serbian production of the Armel Opera Festival , a series of events introducing contemporary and groundbreaking opera interpretations, is an unusual comic opera that transports us back to the golden age of Serb humour. It has everything you need for classic village high jinks: love, conflict, gossip, unexpected twists, folk tale elements and a happy ending, all taking place in a small community populated by exciting characters within a closed microcosmos that parodies the clichés, stereotypical thinking and prejudice of village life.
Stevan Sremac, an author from Senta known for his unparalleled humour, wrote the story of a conflict between two vivacious village priests some 120 years ago and fought tooth and nail to prevent the novel from being adapted in any form. Despite this, the first Yugoslav colour film was based on the story 60 years ago and remains one of the most popular to this day. The novel has since also been adapted into a television film and theatre production. For the first time, the story of Cira and Spira takes the form of an opera in this production by the Serbian National Theatre and the National Theatre in Belgrade.
The two main protagonists, two Orthodox priests who merrily live in a village that is rich enough to keep them both, but too small for their larger-than-life characters. Their daily lives full of enjoyment and spiced up by occasional boozing is not soured even by the grumbling of their wives - right up until an eligible young teacher arrives in the village. The idyllic moments soon come to an end as they both see the young man as the ideal partner for their daughters. The teacher at the centre of the bickering will be played by the finalist of the Armel Opera Festival's singing competition, the French tenor Antonel Boldan.
In Serbian, with Hungarian and English surtitles.
A co-production between the Serbian National Theatre (Novi Sad, Serbia) and the Belgrade National Theatre (Serbia)
Presented by: Armel Opera Festival - Armel Nonprofit Kft.
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