Many Slovak opera soloists perform regularly at La Scala in Milan and New York's Metropolitan Opera. Mezzo-soprano Jitka Sapara-Fischerová is brilliant in “Carmen” and “Aïda”; baritone Dalibor Jenis is chilling as Don Giovanni; and coloratura soprano Ľubica Vargicová shines in “La Fille du Régiment.” The opera also has a number of compelling tenors, including Peter Berger, Jozef Kundlák, Ľudovít Ludha, and Michal Lehotský.
The overall quality of productions is uneven. German director Peter Konwitschny’s daring interpretation of “Eugen Onegin” literally breaks down barriers at the historical building and in memoriam the local director Jozef Bednárik’s penchant for glamour works well in “Turandot” at the new building. But in Pavol Smolík’s production of “Martin a Slnko,” a 20th century children’s opera, characters inexplicably take to rolling life-sized euro coins across the stage. The opera chorus can sound lethargic at times.
But the singers’ pride is palpable when they perform the works of homegrown composers, such as Suchoň’s “Krútňava” or Smetana’s “The Bartered Bride”. Such earnestness is thoroughly enjoyable to watch. This lack of pretence extends to the audience, which rarely hurls lusty boos – except when a director dares to fiddle with Dvořák – and encourages local favourites with standing ovations.
For more information in English or German, visit www.snd.sk. The historical building’s box office is on Jesenského Street, at the side of the opera house; tel: +421 (0)2 2049 4290. The new building’s box office is on Olejkárska Street, a ten-minute walk from the old town; tel: +421 (0)2 2047 2298 or +421 (0)2 2047 2299. Tickets are also available at www.navstevnik.sk.
On the picture: soloist Adriana Kučerová accompanied by the Bratislava Metropolitan Orchestra.
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