The open-air spectacle left an indelible mark on the hearts of all who bore witness to the enchanting magic of operatic art.
On Sunday, the Skanderbeg square in Prishtina transformed into a magnificent open-sky opera hall for the 3rd edition of the Rame Lahaj International Opera Festival, RLIOF.
Opera classical plays from Verdi’s La Traviata, Shakespeare’s Makbeth and Romeo and Juliette and Puccini’s Tosca echoed during the Gala Night, drawing a crowd of more than 3000 people.
“Prishtina needs this”, said a 54-years-old citizen for Prishtina Insight, after the concert was finished. “There is no opera in the capital, but concerts like this bring a breeze of classical music”, she added.
Rame Lahaj, the internationally renowned Kosovar opera singer, and organizer of the festival brought to Kosovar public the Italian tenor, Alessandro Safina and baritone, Massimo Cavalletti, and the Ukrainian soprano, Yulia Suleimanova.
Under the baton of maestro Pier Giorgio Morandi from Italy, the Kosovo Philharmonic Orchestra accompanied the performers, creating a fusion of artistic talent and experience that painted the capital with the vibrant colors of European metropolises.
The night not only resonated with masterpieces of world operatic music but also embraced arrangements of authentic Albanian songs, a genre that holds a special place in Lahaj’s heart.
The performance of well-known opera parts like Il barbiere di Siviglia by Cavalletti and La Luna by Safina evoked nostalgia in the public, as the former was part of the animated movie “Tom and Jerry,” and the latter featured in the soap opera “O Clone.”
The event concluded with a quartet bringing Brindisi from La Traviata, the lively and joyful drinking song that celebrates the pleasures of life and love.
The RLIOF will last for a 10-day event that aims to enrich the cultural life of Kosovo and promote the country on the international stage. Serving as a platform for global operatic talents, the festival promises to create unforgettable memories for audiences and enrich the cultural landscape of Prishtina.
The festival is named after the internationally renowned Kosovar tenor Rame Lahaj. Through his experience and artistic prestige in the international opera community, Lahaj has brought together a diverse group of well-known opera singers to perform at the festival in Prishtina.
An exhibition to raise awareness about environmental preservation
Amidst the breathtaking performances, the festival also unveiled the thought-provoking art exhibition Rrnofsh sa malet [Live long as the mountains], curated by esteemed Turkish curator Övül O. Durmuşoğlu.
The captivating art exhibition opened its doors, drawing attention to the profound connection between artistic practices and environmental preservation, held as part of the renowned RLIOF Festival.
The works on display by various artists reflect the splendor of Kosovo’s mountains and landscapes, showcasing the region’s breathtaking beauty.
The Festival welcomed esteemed Turkish curator Ovul Durmusoglu, who expressed her honor and excitement to be part of Ramë Lahaj’s concert alongside the Rrofsh sa Malet art exhibition.
“The question today is how do we treat the nature around us, why are we obsessed with questions like those about ecology. This is a very important discussion, not only for Kosovo, but for all countries”, said Durmusoglu for Prishtina Insight.
The exhibition raises poignant questions about humanity’s treatment of nature and the urgency to prioritize ecological concerns. Ovul Durmusoglu emphasized that while Kosovo boasts stunning natural beauty, it is often mistreated and unappreciated. She hopes that the exhibition will change perspectives and instill a daily concern for ecology in the hearts of the people.
Moreover, Durmusoglu believes that art can play a vital role in influencing policy-makers to prioritize environmental protection in their decisions.
Artists employed diverse techniques, such as oil, watercolor, and lithograph, to portray the captivating scenery. Despite the varying art forms, the common thread lies in the fascination and reverence for Kosovo’s natural treasures.
As the world grapples with climate change and environmental degradation, the exhibition becomes a platform to address these issues through artistic expressions.
Ardita Zeqiri contributed to this article.