Aida and Carmina Burana Dominate Pula!

Total Croatia News

Copyright Dave Gasson

Opera and classical music brings drama and culture to Pula.

Over the weekend of the 27th to the 29th of July, Pula has the privilege of hosting two performances from the Croatian National Theatre (HNK). The company, Ivan Zajc, commonly known as HNK Zajc, from Rijeka, staged a stunning operatic performance and a superb musical display. 

Aida and Carmina Burana

The backdrop for both of these musical treasures, Aida and Carmina Burana, was the ancient amphitheatre in Pula, which was a fitting scene for both performances and enhanced the overall ambience.


On Friday the 27th of July, the first performance that took to the stage was of the Italian ”opera of all operas”, Giuseppe Verdi’s ”Aida”. The opera, which was first performed way back in 1871, is set in ancient Egypt and describes the struggles between love and loyalty in four acts.


The singers were Aida, Kristina Kolar, Radames, Walter Fraccaro, Ramfis, Carlo Colombara, Amneris, Dubravka Separovic Musovic, Amonasro, and Giorgio Surian. The conductor was Ville Matvejeff, and the opera wa directed by Marin Blazevic.


The stage

The main stage was of course where most of the performance took place, but the artists were in character and continued to perform in their characters even as they walked from the backstage area. Each step they took towards the main stage itself was deliberate and added to the overall drama.

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On either side of the main stage itself, ballet dancers waited gracefully, enhancing the overall milieu.

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Behind and above the stage was a transparent cover which housed the ever-changing choir. The lighting effects alternated between highlighting the choir, or casting them in shadow. 

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In front of the stage was the orchestra, conducted by Ville Matvejeff, the talented musician from Finland. All these elements created a huge stage area which spanned almost the full width of the arena, not just the twenty metres of the main stage.


Carmina Burana

On Sunday the 29th of July, it was the turn of the world famous cantanta Carmina Burana, composed by Carl Orff to entral the Pula crowd with some fantastic music. The soloists included Soprano – Sumi Jo, Counterrenor – Franko Klisovic, Baritone – Robert Kolar, and the conducter was of course Ville Matvejeff.

The stage

The stage was more traditional for Carmina Burana. The enormous choir was positioned at the very back with the orchestra in the front, where the conductor stood with the soloists at his side.

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The performances

The performances by the main opera singers, soloists and conductor on both nights were phenomenal, but so too were the ballerinas, the choir, and the extremely impressive orchestra. The Rijeka choir which performed on the very first night, the Academy Choir Ivan Goran Kovacic, and the children’s choir Kap and Torretta who performed on the second night were more than inspiring. The Rijeka orchestra, which played on both nights, gave an outstanding rendition of both Aida and Carmina Burana.

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Both of these events were held as part of the Summer Classics series, presenting classics of musical and stage art in international co-productions and at unique locations. Juding by the pack of empty seats, the many different nationalities in attendance, and the many standing ovations, it was a huge success, and we hope to see them again in Pula next summer.


For more images of any of the bands in concert then you are welcome to view Chasing The Light Art, the music photography magazine of Total Croatia News photographer David Gasson.

There are plenty more concerts and festivals coming up in and around Pula and Istria that Total Croatia News will be covering, as well as bringing you exclusive pictures of.

Martin Garrix – Pula Arena – 22nd of August, 2018 – tickets and info here or here.

Dimensions festival in Pula – 29th of August – 2nd of September, 2018 

Outlook Festival in Pula – 5th of September – 9th of September, 2018

Total Croatia News will also cover and photograph the following at the Rocks & Stars Festival:

Bond – 9th of August, 2018

Ricchi e Poveri – 15th of August, 2018


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