The sixth edition of Rossi Fest
January 27th - February 6th 2023
European premiere of the lost oratorio Ester,
works by young composers and lectures by musicologists
At the festival's opening concert, on January 27, the works of the five finalists of the fifth Competition for young composers "Portraits and Memories" will be presented - on January 27th, commemorating World Holocaust Remembrance Day.
The pieces from this year's edition of the competition are mostly inspired by the story and letters of Hilda Deich, which give a new perspective on the general social situation at her time and her experience in the Sajmište camp. By putting the spotlight on this topic, Rossi Fest continues its cultural mission and makes a significant contribution to the world's cultural heritage in the field of preserving the culture of memory.
The finalists of the Competition, selected by the Artistic Committee of the Festival, come from four countries, and the fantastic Aratos Trio will perform their pieces in the Atrium of the National Museum in Belgrade.
In the educational part of the festival program eminent musicologists Maja Vasiljević (Serbia) and Dora Lovrečić (Croatia) will hold lectures on the topics: "Jewish musicians in Serbia (from the Balfour Declaration to the Holocaust)" and "Aron Marko Rothmüller, composer and opera singer of Jewish origin" - on January 29th, in the museum of the National Theater,
As the crown of this year's program, we would single out the European premiere of the oratorio "Esther" on February 6th, which will be performed in Europe for the first time after more than 200 years.
The oratorio will be staged at the Grand stage of the National Theater in Belgrade, under the baton of festival director Stefan Zekić, directed by Ana Grigorović, and performed by our eminent artists in the main roles: Aneta Ilić (soprano), Sofija Pižurica (soprano), Marko Živković (tenor), Vuk Zekić (baritone); as well as the acclaimed instrumental in the instrumental solo parts: Mina Mendlsson (concertmaster), Ladislav Mezei and Milan Popović (continuo), together with Baruch Brothers Choir and the Jewish Chamber Orchestra. The scenography is signed by Dunja Kostić and the costumes are created by Sara Blam.
The score of the oratorio "Esther" (1774) by the Italian composer Christian Giuseppe Lidarti was rediscovered only in 1997 and is still considered one of the richest and most monumental works of Jewish art music of the 17th century, and the 18th century.
Saravalo's libretto, based on the text of the second version of Handel's oratorio (1732), "remained without music" until November 7, 1997, when Richard Andrews, a librarian at the University of Cambridge, found a handwritten score by Christian Giuseppe Lidarti called oratorio "Esther," in 1774. He then began to work on the reconstruction of the work, which resulted in the world premiere of the oratorio in May 2000 in Jerusalem, while the Belgrade audience will have the opportunity to attend the European premiere of this work.
This edition of the Festival is supported by The Buki Finci Fund, the Jewish Municipality of Belgrade, the Ministry of Culture and Information, the Vlatacom Institute, Teri Engineering, the Italian Cultural Center, and the Belgrade National Theatre.
January 27, Friday
Atrium of the National Museum
20:00 Concert: Portraits and Remembrance
Concert of the finalists selected at the international competition for young composers of the same name, dedicated to commemorating the International Holocaust Day organized in cooperation with Memorial Center "Staro sajmište"
January 29, Sunday
National Theater Museum
18:00 Lecture by Maja Vasiljević: Jewish musicians in Serbia (from the Balfour Declaration to the Holocaust)
19:30 Lecture by Dora Lovrečić (Croatia): Aron Marko Rothmüller, composer and opera singer of Jewish origin
February 6, Monday
National Theater, Main Stage
19:30 Oratorio Ester