Wonderful Ballet Premiere at the Split National Theatre

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Vragolasta djevojka play portrait

It might become a beautiful tradition. Ballet in the evening and Bačvice the next day..

This is what me and my daughter were doing last time, when visiting a performance of the Croatian National Theatre in Split in December – The Nutcracker. Living on Hvar, with the last ferry leaving at 20.30, we had to sleep over and had some time the next day to spend at the beach. The closeness of the amazing Bačvice beach to the ferry port is something I only discovered few years ago and now I am doing all my waiting-for-the-ferry there.

It was right there, in Split, sitting in the National Theatre watching the Nutcracker and walking barefoot at Bačvice the next day in the middle of December, when a new desire for blogging arose in me as I wanted to share my view of the city.

A city so warm not only by its weather, but also by the people living there.

I never got to blog about that December Split experience, but funny enough I got a new opportunity two days ago, when I was the first one to comment on a Facebook offer to get a free ticket for the Premiere of the La fille mal gardée on Saturday, February 20, 2016.

Vragolasta djevojka play portrait


And we went. Me and my 4 year old ballet fan. Some quick arrangements regarding our overnight stay and then the last ferry leaving the island at 17:30 reaching Split just in time to be at the theatre at 19:45. A stylish and generous young man, Andrei was waiting for us in front of the entrance, to give us our ticket and left us as he had to take care for the beautiful flowers he got for his even more beautiful and talented girlfriend – Ms. Eva Karpilovska, you have one fine gentleman there!

It was only after we entered the theatre, when I realized what a special evening this will be. Maestro Bogdanic greeting some guests at the foyer, everyone dressed up to perfection, journalists and photographers at every corner. A magical atmosphere.

We had the opportunity to visit the National Theatre in Split on several occasions now and I was always very much surprised by the lack of culture and manners of the audience as both the Puss in Boots and the Nutcracker were filled with school-trip kids and families with little kids. I felt disappointed. People sitting in their jackets, bringing kids, who were obviously not interested in theatre and ballet, asking for smart phones to entertain themselves while waiting for the performance to start (and even during the performance it was not much better). Kids getting up in the middle of the performance, slamming doors and sparkling water (I wish) being opened during the performance. I felt sorry for the dancers as they were fantastic. The whole ensemble, costumes, everything was great, but I will be thinking twice before visiting a clearly kids´ show again.

What a difference this time! A normal, theatre atmosphere, with the sounds of orchestra preparing, everyone behaving in a cultural way appropriate for a theatre. What a joy, what an honour for us to be able to be a part of this wonderful evening.

And then, it started. For a very tiny moment at the beginning, I felt the huge pressure the ensemble must have been under for the last days and weeks when preparing this ballet. The last performance of the La fille mal gardée in Split was in 1988, choreographed by Norman Dixon. And it was Dixon himself, who was the director of this year´s premiere, choreographed by Dinko Bogdanić.

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(photos: Croatian National Theatre)

But pressure or not, one could not tell after a few seconds, when the orchestra and the dancers merged into one beautiful harmony. The music was exceptional. The choreography was exceptional and the dancers were just amazing.

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Eva Karpilovska (as Lisa) and Ivan Boiko (as Colas), dancing lead roles made a beautiful couple, both their dancing skills and their acting were truly a pleasure to watch. Especially the ribbon dance, accompanied by the beautiful romantic music by Ferdinand Hérold and Ludwig Hertel. A truly convincing performance.

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Fantastic was Igor Gluškov (as Madame Simona) with his clog-dance. I actually can´t believe he was able to dance in those things. I swear, the audience just stopped breathing when he started to jump in those clogs and we had to smile, as he was just impeccable and funny.

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This evening was a wonderful celebration of ballet. Congratulations to the whole ensemble, to the director Maestro Dinko Bogdanic and to everyone who helped to create this special event.

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There will be another performance tomorrow, February 23, 2016 and one more on Wednesday, February 24, 2016, both at 19:30. Don´t miss it. There is currently no online booking of tickets available, but you can buy tickets directly at the theatre.

As for us, me and my little one were thrilled and were talking about many details of the show until we fell asleep totally exhausted. We woke up to a beautiful Sunday morning and after a rather good breakfast we spent the rest of the late morning walking barefoot at Bačvice beach. It might become a beautiful tradition, indeed..


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