Interview with TOB Artistic Director Abigela Voshtina

Opusalb:  Opusalb Online magazine has been constantly curious about The Nationa Opera and Ballet Theater events, or the Ensemble of Songs and Dance, attached to this theater. We would like to inform our readers on the perspective of the activities of this Theater. Can you tell us what about the objectives and repertoire you are going to prepare or have already scheduled for the 2018 – 2019 season?

A. Voshtina: As you know the artistic season used to have its culmination with two works:-the “Carmen” Opera and the Die Fledermaus Operetta (for the first time in its full form).Following the season, it will be paid attention to the Ensemble after the Premiere “Sokaku i të marrëve” with another master, on which our attention will be based on. It is about the works of Agim Krajka on which will be working the Ensemble leader, the composer Gert Druga. The Ballet also comes with the first work set by the choreographer Agron Alia “Giselle” under the direction of Enada Hoxha.At the end of 2018 we are going to put on stage the Gala of the end of the Year with the choreographer Renato Zanella. This means that we are not only paying attention on the great genre of the stage but also on the orchestral and vocal symphonic part.As you saw it, the beginning of the season came with an absolute premiere not only as a concert work but also as an artistic concept for a professional growth.During these years, a lot of young people have taken their first steps on stage together with us and this is the patrimony for the future of the theater.  This year, we have invested in the Masterclass that we will continuously give in many sectors and aspects of the theater branch.It will continue the “Opera Classics” cycle, Ópera Soul and Ópera on Tour.

Opusalb: Who is Abigela Voshtina and what has she done to lead the TOB as a successor of  Çesk Zadeja, Zhani Ciko, Thoma Gaqi, etc.? What are your strong and weak points?

A. Voshtina:  I never liked to talk about myself, but the fact that you can get a job but the difficulty is knowing how to keep it. This is factual skill “so based on facts”. The ability of a leader does not necessarily come out from school, but it is based on organizational gifts. In this case, you should know the thin, strong and shiny spider under the drift of art winter morning.  I believe in the human uniqueness and its specifics and I think that every strong point has a weakness without which tomorrow does not evolve to continue up to death. This is my world, every morning at 6:25.

Opusalb:  We have often seen you performing as a soloist or a part of musical ensembles in or outside the country. How do you share the time between TOB’s career and your career as a violinist? Do they get from each-other?

Voshtina: I use to sleep very little to manage it. I still find my soul close to the violin and I understand the artists with their sensitivity, ego, their wishes and their struggles to do their best god, in the great various divine dimension of the art.

Opusalb: We would like to get more informed on board members or the leadership board with whom you discuss about the repertoire or programmed activities?

A.    Voshtina: We use to discuss a lot as a team and we keep in touch with many artists in and out the country. We share the first idea within the institution, trying to take care of various sectors. The casting of a program comes after many discussions with directors, conductors, artists themselves, after a clear idea we have in our head.

Opusalb: Knowing that the developed countries today have been compared to the best examples from the whole world, can you tell us that which are the theaters you take as an example to follow and what would be the specific of  of our activity applied in TOB ?

A.Voshtina: ROH (Royal Opera House – London)is a beautiful example to me.  I I keep watching many from La Scala, the German theaters, such as Deutsche Ópera, Munich. The theater development is not an island on its own, but a whole social / cultural strategy.I do not like to go into detailed analysis, but I think that to reach the moon, you must see the stars and put keep your feet on the ground.

Opusalb: As a theater activity strategy You have decided to develop the system of repertoire creation and gradually enriching it or that of ever-new productions on the basis of the projects?

A.Voshtina:  The theater strategy is built by the General Director and is artistically translated to us.I think Mrs. Zana Cela was successful marching towards the unknown. This fact is based on her a decision to keep in full the corp of artists, without the parent theater. How many times did this happen before? Never.For many reasons that you understand, scenografies or costumes have become useless and we have to adapt to new conditions. We continue to work on repertoire not only with well-known artists like Eva Golemi, Vikena Kamenica, Ylber Gjini but with many young people, as you yourself know.

Opusalb: In our opinion, the TOB’s corps, is already rather old, do you think that maybe it would have renewed through a suitable pension reform of instrumentalists, ballet dancers or singers?

A.    Voshtina: I think the artist does not get old by age but he gets old by passion. As far as pension laws are concerned, I will have to leave the word to the experts of the Ministry of Finances, First Secretaries or Lawyers who have a more accurate reasoning than mine. Regarding us, as far as we know we are always in finding new artists.

Opusalb: What about your opinion on promoting Albanian stage music works, and how do you think to develop this line in TOB?

A.Voshtina:  I was part of the working group for the Albanian Creativity announced by MK on the occasion of the Year of Scanderbeg.   There is an attention on the young composers. Last year we had 4 programs for the anniversaries of Prenk Jakova and Çesk Zadeja. Still this year we have 2 concerts with only Albanian works. During the January-July program, we had 2 choir concerts only with Albanian composers, one in Tirana and the other in Tetovo.

Opusalb: The Opera Theater has long not been performing any show abroad. Do you think that these would be a kind of source of inspiration for new quality levels and rivalry of experiences with the world. Do you have a project on this issue?

 A.Voshtina:   Mrs. Çela has signed 2 cooperation protocols for rivaling and sharing experiences only during this season.The theater has continued throughout this period with tours abroad.I do not forget to mention in April 2018 5 performances in the Puglia Region with Preljocaj.The Ensemble has been in Belgium, Croatia and Bulgaria.There is still a lot to be done but we keep paying our attention.

Interviewed N. K. 

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