The 53rd BEMUS Press Conference Held

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A press conference was held on October 26, in the ceremonial hall of the City Assembly, on the occasion of the announcement of the 53rd Belgrade Music Festival from November 1 to 13. At the beginning of the Conference, a minute of silence was observed in honor of the recently deceased director of the Belgrade Philharmonic, Ivan Tasovac.
City Secretary of Culture Ivan Karl said that BEMUS continuity was behind us, that BEMUS continuity was also ahead of us, because the pandemic set more difficult tasks, not only for BEMUS but also for other events of importance for the City of Belgrade. Karl also expressed his belief that the team that had managed to hold the event last year would succeed this year as well. He reiterated that his last year's wish was for the next BEMUS to be held without a mask. He called on the citizens to get vaccinated so that we could continue with a normal life, and thus with the holding of cultural events that are in preparation.
Damir Handanović, Director of CEBEF, commented that CEBEF was working even in these circumstances, preparing events of importance for the City of Belgrade. Announcing the preparation of not only BEMUS, but also FEST, Belgrade Winter, which would be discussed separately, he emphasized the importance of fighting the pandemic in order to maintain the cultural life of Belgrade, with the quality for which it was known. He announced 11 concerts within BEMUS – in Kolarac's Endowment, Madlenianum, Crypt of the Temple of Saint Sava, as well as in the ‘Duško Radović’ Small Theatre, with praise to the artistic director and the Board of the Festival who had compiled a quality programme that citizens could enjoy.
Milan Lazović, member of the Festival Board, noted that although events this year were organized under extraordinary conditions everywhere in the world, in the preparation of the Festival there had been an extraordinary synergy between the Festival Board, Maestro Suđić, City Secretariat of Culture and CEBEF as an executive producer, and the result of their hard work throughout the unpredictable year was the Festival programme that was now before us. Lazović reminded that we were unlucky to lose two great cultural representatives Ivan Tasovac, Director of the Belgrade Philharmonic, which opened this year's BEMUS, and Braco Petković, former Minister of Culture and member of the Festival Board, and thought that this edition of the festival was dedicated to them in a certain way.
The Artistic Director of the Festival, Bojan Suđić, pointed out in his presentation that despite the circumstances, BEMUS was of very high quality this year in terms of programmes, soloists, performing artists. After referring to some events from the past of the Festival, to different bright and darker periods of his life, he stated that the Festival was slowly getting back on its feet and reminded that we did not have another festival of similar rank. ‘BEMUS is our oldest and most representative festival of art music and as such it must be recognized and supported," said Suđić.
He announced two big world stars who were guests of the Festival this year – Khatia Buniatishvili, a new pianist name in full force, who performed on all world stages, as well as the first name in the world rating that had marked the concert scene at the end of the previous and beginning of this century, and baritone Thomas Hampson who was in full form. Hampson would perform a somewhat more demanding repertoire of Verdi, Puccini and Mozart with the RTS Choir and Orchestra, along with two great domestic singers who represented Serbia on the world stage in the best way and whom the local audience did not have the opportunity to listen to often. Suđić said that other programmes of the festival were not lagging behind, there were very well-known names ‘out of category’, Ksenija Janković and Aleksandar Madžar, whose performance at BEMUS was the beginning of the cycle of presenting Beethoven's works at Kolarac. He drew attention to the performance of Denis Shapovalov, an attractive cello soloist who would perform the so-called cross-over repertoire, music by Pink Floyd and others. According to Sudjić, the activism of amateur choirs was in ‘decrescendo’ in our country, therefore he intended to present them at the Festival – the Branko Choir from Niš, performing in the Temple of St. Sava. The young Petar Pejčić, once the winner of the cycle of young talents of RTS, was a rising star who was recording better and better results, and he would perform with pianist Natalija Mladenović. Milenko Živkovic's children's opera, organized by Nataša Jović Trivić (MOTO organization), represented a ‘look into the future’ at the end of the Festival, according to the artistic director. Noting that the orchestras and performers were tested, as well as that the necessary measures were provided in the Kolarac Hall, Bojan Suđić wished the audience to enjoy the music, and this BEMUS to be a guide in the years to come.
Nataša Jović Trivić, programme editor of the music, opera and theatre organization MOTO, expressed her gratitude for participating in the Festival, and mentioned that she, like most musicians, had grown up with BEMUS, aware of the international and national significance of that event. Milenko Živković's opera ‘Children's Room’, which would be performed at the finals of the festival in the Duško Radović Small Theatre, was the first Serbian opera for children that had been performed in 1941 only once due to bombing and war. The music material had disappeared in the sixties, and as Jović said, it had been magically found, and the conductor Milan Nedeljković had prepared it for the performance. She emphasized that the composer Milenko Živković was a very important phenomenon in the history of Serbian art music, he had been a corresponding member of SANU, a professor of composition from whose class important names of Serbian music had emerged, such as Vladan Radovanović, Kosta Babić, Stanojlo Rajičić and many others, as well as Dean of the Faculty of Music and music critic. A special rarity was the libretto of the opera written by Desanka Maksimović. Nataša Jović Trivić pointed out that it was especially interesting that this year, when it had been 120 years since the birth of the composer, his work would be performed at the closing of BEMUS.


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