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Interview with the Chief master of National Opera and Ballet Theater “Maria Bieșu” – Andriy Yurkevych

Fall – time of the Festival of Maria Bieșu

September is an important season for fans of the opera of Moldova when Maria Bieșu’s Festival brings together the famous performers, conductors, directors in Chisinau. This year the Festival has celebrated its 25-year Anniversary. In such round dates as points of intersection, the past connects to the present and tells about Maria Bieșu whom many people saw and heard, remember and love, but which already became classics and a legend for a new generation. At the Festival, Bieșu returns to us, tells about herself through creativity, parties in performances which have glorified her and have brought the global recognition. And we rejoice that in economically heavy time the state has managed to keep such cultural treasure what, certainly, is the Festival.

One can find two articles about Festival performances – the opera by Giuseppe Verdi “Macbeth” and the opera by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky “Evgeny Onegin” that were both conducted by Andriy  Yurkevich, the Chief conductor of National Opera and Ballet Theater of Maria Bieșu have been published. It is the second meeting with the glorified Maestro on, the first has taken place in February 2013.

Maria Bieșu’s  festival – what does it mean to you?

As the Chief conductor of Theater, I am also directly connected with the Festival, especially with the directorate of theater in terms of creation of strategy of the repertoire and musical quality of performances, the invitation of directors, conductors, soloists. Only our exclusive performances, five operas and two ballets have been presented in the poster of the Festival. The best that has been put on the Moldavian stage in recent years, has been selected for display. The main parts in all performances were performed by the soloists representing various countries. The festival has come to the end with a gala concert in a format of “an opera show”.

In spite of the fact that I am not Moldavian, but I have been living in Moldova for a long time and I consider it to be my country my now. And for me this is great happiness – to direct National Opera and Ballet Theater and to participate in the main musical Festival of the country, it is personal responsibility and at the same time great honor!

How do you remember Maria Bieșu?

There are a lot of soloists in the theater who stepped on the stage together with Maria Lukyanovna, went together with her on a tour. Mihail Munteanu, Vladimir Dragoș, Boris Materinko, Tatyana Busuioc and many other soloists who were partners on the stage, remember its wonderful, unusual, original, powerful and at the same time very juicy and soft voice, a surprising drama soprano!

Her voice is magic, strong, unique, still the rarest in terms of the beauty and boundless opportunities and is recognized at once! The Moldavian earth has given it heart, soul, love, force and an expression, and a unique voice timbre, and Maria Bieșu returned all these gifts to the audience.

Well, I remember Maria Lukyanovna about 5 years ago, at a New Year’s concert. She sat in a government box, and in the final soloists sang “O sole mio”, addressing her, sang as health that she has longer stayed with us and was glad to progress of Theater in which she has put so many forces, time, the life, in fact. I remember her as the spectator and the patroness of Theater which rejoices her name now.

How is the selection of performances and soloists on the Festival connected with Maria Bieșu?

Certainly, we tried to include performances of Maria Bieșu  into the program, performances of her main repertoire which made her famous. As the audience could see, there were no performances for an easy soprano. A performance which opened the Festival – the opera by “Madama Baterfly” with which Maria Bieșu has traveled all around the whole world. We have invited Inna Los, the native of Moldova to a title part, she was our graduate, the schoolgirl of the People’s artist Mihail Munteanu. Having continued training abroad, Inna worked as the soloist in the Vienna opera and having moved to the USA, now actively gives concerts there, repeatedly performed part of Madama Butterfly. We have met her in Switzerland on statement of the opera “The Queen of Spades”. It is very symbolical that our compatriot and the graduate who has reached such musical tops opened the Anniversary Festival. Also in the opera by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky the title part of Evgeny Onegin was sung by Andrey Zhilikhovsky who studied in Moscow and who was helped by Maria Lukyanovna too, taking an active part in the first steps of training of the talented singer abroad. And now we met him as a star, I won’t be afraid of this word because Andrey sang a title part of Evgeny Onegin in the Bolshoi Theater and Theater in Nice, prepares for a debut at the Metropolitan Opera. A great honor to us – our students who have so perfectly approved themselves in the world.

What new performance would you like to prepare for the next Festival?

Likely, this question belongs to my creative credo more, to the fact that I like to conduct the Italian opera more. But, when forming the repertoire we proceed from existence of a creative power, singing forces, we can’t put performances with voices in which we have some deficiency. And, proceeding from what we have we show our best vocal forces in future premieres. It would be very much desired that in the repertoire there were not only veristsky and drama operas, but also a classical style by means of which it is possible “to grind” our “diamonds” – voices of soloists. And also it is very important to stage our theater and the opera by the Moldavian composers, we the only opera scene in Moldova!

Festival for the audience – always pleasant expectations and hopes. What were your expectations?

My expectations are meetings with the audience, scale of feelings on their faces, the delight and joyful rise brought by performances. My hopes – the actors singing, playing and dancing on our stage will feel interested, pressing need of our art and that there would be creative and spiritual opening during the performance!

We met you four years ago, it would be interesting to learn about your creative achievements during this time.

20 years – it would be long ago, and four is recent. Out of these four years that have passed from our last interview, the last three years I worked on the contract as the chief conductor “as Teatr Wielki – Opera Narodowa” (The Bolshoi Theater – the Polish national opera), constructed on Theater Square in 1825 — 1833 in Warsaw. The double name is connected with the fact that in the years of World War II the building of theater has been destroyed: after restoration in 1965 it has opened under a new name.

In this Theater I have made many interesting performances, including cult performance of the opera “Terrible yard” (The mysterious lock; Polish Straszny dwór) – the opera written in 1861-1864 by composer Stanislav Moniuszko (1819-1872), ancestor of the Polish musical culture and national opera. (The main auditorium of Theater bears his name). The premiere was held on September 28, 1865 under control of the composer. In 2015 the 50th anniversary of the Warsaw opera in the present building was performed, the best place for a premiere! And this performance has appeared to be the 1500th anniversary performance as well! I am very glad that I was lucky to conduct it.

Also, there were many other premieres: “Maria Stuart” Gaetano Donizetti (1797-1848), “The Turk in Italy” and “William Tell ” Gioachino Rossini (1792-1868). The last one, is staged extremely seldom because a large number of soloists are involved in it, and special voices are required. This opera is revived now, it is returned to the repertoire of different theaters. If opera is performed without contraction, it will last more than 5 hours! I am proud of the fact that I managed to stage at least once in life such opera and to conduct it with great pleasure.

Also, I continue cooperation with the Vienna opera, with the Zurich Theater, with theaters in Bologna, Genoa, Antwerp. In one year I will get acquainted with the Tokyo National opera.

What about your creative plans in our Theater?

There will be new performances, interesting concerts – it is important! We will use as much as possible of our potential and creative power of our local and invited actors. The main thing is that everything that we do, has turned out to be a high quality, high level and conformed to the international standards.

Of course, a question about your family.

Thanks for the question! My wife Tatyana and I are fine, our daughter Vlasta-Nikoletta is growing and has learned how to stand eternally absent father conductor, there will be an issue of choice of profession soon. I don’t know whether she will continue the musical tradition of our family, we know that our work, especially now, isn’t always appreciated. Behind each part, behind each debut both in the opera, and in the ballet there are years and years of wearisome work! Work of actors isn’t always estimated adequately…

Would we like such future for our child that we have today? I don’t know. But we sensitively listen to the child, we try to understand what really is pleasant to her and her soul.

Will you Support Vlasta-Nikoletta if she chooses your way?

If her genes “are infected” with music, then our opinion will be not so important, the destiny will be already foreordained. The most important thing that conditions for cultural development have been created in our country and children can choose a profession of the musician and feel the support of the state!

We wish you further creative achievements and we are waiting for new remarkable premieres in Maria Bieșu’s Theater!

Author: Natalia Mozer

Currently studying International Relations at the University of Pécs, Hungary. Study focus: Transnistrian conflict settlement, Moldovan statehood, Moldovan democracy.

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First Tourist Information Center was inaugurated in Chișinău

Located on the ground floor of the City Hall, the first Tourist Information Center was opened on November 9th, in Chișinău. The center provides visitors with information about events, accommodation facilities, itineraries, and tours, including wineries. Moreover, through Virtual Reality technology, visitors will be able to “walk” through some locations before purchasing travel services.

The Tourist Information Center was created with the financial support of the European Union under the “Support to Confidence Building Measures” Program, implemented by UNDP, as well as by USAID and the Government of Sweden through the Competitiveness Project of Moldova.

The implementation of the project cost about 1.5 million lei, out of which 235 thousand lei were offered by the European Union and 1.3 million lei by the USAID and the Government of Sweden. The Chișinău City Hall offers the space of 100 m2 and will support the space maintenance expenses for a 5 year period.

James D. Pettit, US Ambassador to Moldova, attended the event as well:

“The US Government has been supporting Moldova’s tourism sector for more than five years and the launch of the Tourist Information Center in Chisinau comes to complete the tourist ecosystem and cover the greatest necessity of tourists – access to information. According to surveys, 71% of the interviewed tourists at the exit from the country noticed the lack of information as the biggest challenge during their trip to the Republic of Moldova.”

The tourism sector has a big potential for development and is a key factor for socio-economic progress, contributing to the reduction of poverty and migration.

Currently, the tourism sector contributes 2% -3.5% to GDP, along with related industries. Last year, 3.2 million foreign visitors visited our country, 19% more than last year. In 2014, the country’s tourism brand “The Tree of Life: Discover the ways of life” was launched, through which foreign tourists are invited to “discover the unknown.”


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A young Moldovan invented a hologram that prevents fog-related accidents

Daniel is another Moldovan-born talented student living abroad who is planning to leave the country for good, aiming to soon obtain the Romanian citizenship.

Daniel Plângău, a student in the second year at the Galati Engineering Faculty, invented a device that projects a hologram for the prevention of traffic accidents, writes Adevarul.

His biggest achievement so far is a holographic system that can be mounted on cars, putting on guard the drivers who are approaching having a car in front.

“The device is mounted on the machines, and when it’s foggy outside, projects a short message or light signals using the fog as a screen so that the approaching drivers are warned and get to slow down,” Daniel explains.

The young man has left the idea that there are currently very many traffic accidents on the fog, many of which have tragic consequences, especially in areas where drivers suddenly enter a zone with good visibility into one where they see almost nothing due to fog.

Daniel’s holographic system has already been awarded by Apan at the UGAL Invent Research and Innovation Salon, organized by the Danube Delta University, with “the prize for increasing the safety of drivers and pedestrians,”.

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A thousand books will be shared with passers-by in the center of Chisinau

The Moldovan Youth Civic Movement will freely distribute a thousand books free to passers-by on the pedestrian street in downtown Chisinau on Sunday, October 22nd.

The books, which will be offered free of charge on Sunday, were donated by Romanian citizens to increase the weight of Romanian literature in the Republic of Moldova.

“In summer and autumn we’ve received tens of thousands of books from Romania and distributed them as donations through village libraries, where the Romanian language books are missing. We would like to give the remaining books to people on the pedestrian street in order to promote outdoor reading,” said Vitalie Prisăcaru, vice president of the Moldovan Youth Civic Movement.

The organizers of the initiative want public reading to become a habit for the inhabitants of the capital, as it is the case in European metropolises.

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