An example of successful cultural institution in Balkan region: Operosa Director of Operation and Resources, Mia Sretenović is sharing the secret behind prosperous opera institution

1. How would you explain the idea behind Operosa and what is it’s purpose?

Operosa promotes young opera talent and contemporary interpretation to a modern audience. The aim of Operosa is to focus on repertoire ideally suited for young opera singers while working with leading international guest artistic directors and designers.

2. How do people react to opera performances in the region where opera is not so common or easily accessible?

​In Serbia and Bulgaria there is an opera audience and tradition to visit opera performances. The difference that we make is that we aim to communicate with younger audiences and present this art in a modern way by sometimes using contemporary sets and costumes. Most of the stories in the operas are relevant to the present and they can happen to anyone today.

​In Montenegro however there is no National Opera house so w​hen we​​ ​made the very first opera​ in ​Montenegro​ we thought that it​’s not going to be easy and ​that there might not be enough interest.​ ​In my opinion people in the region are “hungry” for new experiences and ​they loved it. Because of the success of our first opera performance we have since prolonged ​the festival to 5 days​. This year we expect even more people ​to visit our events​. Oprerosa productions are ​showing opera in a dynamic way, performed and created by young singers, musicians and artists. ​And obviously the collaboration of internationally recognized artists and young talent​s​ is always the key ingredient.

3. People who come to an opera performance do not actually know about the amount of work you need to do before a show. Could you briefly explain this process through Operosa performances?

You are right, the work doesn’t only include the start of the performance until the end. ​It begins months before that. After the selection of the opera, there are a lot of meetings, discussions, auditions, rehearsals, travels and many other things and it doesn’t finish with the end of the performance, there are lots of things to be done after the Festival is over too. The logistical side is huge. Not to mention ticket sales. And of course nothing happens without funding so finding sponsors is a massive job and you need to make sure they want to continue to support you by promoting them. And finally one of the most important aspects is the collaboration and support of the local Partners and the Municipality.

4. Is it easy to “survive” as an cultural institution in ​the ​Balkan region?​

We are constantly looking for new sponsors, partners, benefactors and friends to support creating opera for the new generations. Not just companies but people who care about developing opera in Montenegro. Anyone can become a Friend of Operosa and make a big difference with a small donation.

​We are also very proud to have ​international partnerships such as enoa – the European network of opera academies and membership with the European Festival’s organisation EFFE. These kinds of partnerships develop the abundance of the Festival for the benefit of the artists and audiences.

5. What productions have you done until now and what differentiates them from other global opera productions?

​During it’s 10 years Operosa has created many different operas and events. We have produced “Don Giovanni” and “Cosi fan tutte” by W. A. Mozart, “Romeo And Juliette” by Charles Gounod, “La voix Humaine” by Francis Poulenc, “La Cenerentola”by Gioachino Rossini and many other smaller productions. These productions do not feature any famous established singers, they present new talent. This is our core mission; to promote young talent. We also have educational activities at Operosa Academia through which young artists can get to participate in the Festival productions. Here we also aim to work on different kinds of classical music. From different places and different times. Our last workshop was presenting Nordic music in Belgrade. It was the very first NORDIC event at Operosa and it coincides with the celebration of 100 years of Finnish Independence.

6. What are ​the ​Operosa future plans?

​We don’t stop! We are looking forward, growing and learning new things​. We plan to keep developing the Operosa Montenegro Opera Festival, making it more diverse every year. We will be creating an international network for young artists, presenting them with wonderful opportunities for development and experiencing how the European opera houses work. We think there is much to do in promoting opera and the new generation of artists in this region.

7. Last year​’s Operosa Montenegro Opera Festival was very successful​. Festival 2017 is very close. What opera premiere can we expect this August in Herceg Novi, Montenegro?

Operosa Montenegro Opera Festival 2017 will last 5 days again, it will include different concerts, performance in the street and the premiere of a Russian opera by Tchaikovsky called “Iolanta”. It’s a very beautiful story about a blind princess. There will be 2 performances of the opera. The many events will feature artists from all over the world but also special performances of Montenegrin musicians. The preparations already started, we are expecting great diversity of singers and participants.​ For sure it will be magical, so don’t miss it!

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