SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA OF THE SLOVENIAN NATIONAL THEATRE MARIBOR (SLOVENIA)
Conductor: Simon Krečič
Evelin Greblo, harp
Rebeka Lokar, soprano
Andreja Zakonjšek Krt, soprano
Martin Sušnik, tenor
Jaki Jurgec, baritone
Lucijan Marija Škerjanc (1900—1973), Festive Ouverture
Sergej Rahmaninov (1873—1943), Vocalise
Soloist: Andreja Zakonjšek Krt
Deborah Henson-Conant (1953), Baroque Flamenco (arr. Tilen Slakan)
Soloist: Evelin Greblo
Gaetano Donizetti (1797—1848)
Dulcamara’s Aria from L’elisir d’amore
Soloist: Jaki Jurgec
Dulcamara and Nemorina’s Duet from L’elisir d’amore
Soloists: Martin Sušnik, Jaki Jurgec
Una furtiva lagrima, Nemorina’s Aria from L’elisir d’amore
Soloist: Martin Sušnik
Giuseppe Verdi (1813—1901), Leonora’s Aria from Il Trovatore
Soloist: Rebeka Lokar
Vincenzo Bellini (1801—1835), Adalgisa and Norma’s Duet from the second act of Norma
Soloists: Andreja Zakonjšek Krt, Rebeka Lokar
Antonín Dvořák (1841—1904),
Slavonic Dance No. 2
Rusalka’s Aria from Rusalka
Soloist: Andreja Zakonjšek Krt
Slavonic Dance No. 8
Giacomo Puccini (1858—1924), Tosca’s Aria “Vissi d’arte” from Tosca
Soloist: Rebeka Lokar
Luigi Denza(1846—1922) Funiculi funicula
Soloist: Martin Sušnik
The grand opening of the 35th International Festival Imago Sloveniae and the Festival Summer in Ljubljana’s Old Town will feature the excellent singers of the Opera of the Slovene National Theatre Maribor accompanied by the exceptional Orchestra of the Slovene National Theatre Maribor under the baton of noted conductor Simon Krečič. They will be joined by a special guest, the incredible 10-year old and absolute victor of the national TEMSIG competition Evelin Greblo, who represented Slovenia at the 2022 V4+ international televised music competition in Budapest as the youngest competitor of the season and not only won, but also received special acknowledgment from Maestro Placido Domingo.
The concert pays homage to two important jubilees celebrated this year: the 50th anniversary of the death of Slovenian composer Lucijan Marija Škerjanc and the 150th anniversary of the birth of Russian composer Sergei Rachmaninoff.
Conductor and artistic director of the Slovenian National Opera Maribor Simon Krečič was Aci Bertoncelj’s last student to graduate in piano at the Academy of Music in Ljubljana. He went on to complete a postgraduate degree in piano at the Hochschule für Musik in Bern with Professor Aleksandar Madžar while also studying conducting in the class of Dominique Roggen during which time he conducted several Swiss orchestras. In 2012 he also graduated in conducting in the class of Milivoj Šurbek at the Music Academy in Ljubljana by conducting a premiere and nine performances at the Stravinski Ballet Evening in the production of the Slovenian National Theatre Opera and Ballet in Ljubljana. He gained ample experience as repetiteur at the Slovene National Theatre Maribor, the Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra, the SNG Opera and Ballet Ljubljana, and the Symphony Orchestra of the Slovenian Radio and Television. As a conductor, he is gaining ever greater renown in the international arena, having conducted in Spain, Italy, Germany, the Czech Republic, Croatia, and China. He has also conducted premieres by some of the most important Slovenian and foreign composers and collaborated with numerous leading domestic and foreign soloists, including Dubravka Tomšič Srebotnjak, Eugen Indjić, Aleksandar Madžar, Branimir Slokar, Wondža Kim Ozim, and others. In 2019, the city of Maribor awarded him the Glazer Charter for achievements in culture.
Rebeka Lokar set off on her singing career as a mezzosoprano; she debuted in 2005 as Clotilda in Bellini’s Norma at the SNG Opera Maribor before effortlessly tackling other roles, such as Berta in the Barber of Seville, Mrs Bentson in Lakmé, Marthe Schwertlein in Faust, Polovtsian girl in Borodin’s Prince Igor, among several others. She toured Japan and Italy as Tisba in Rossini’s Cinderella. In November 2010, she adapted her repertoire to her natural range and stepped onto the stages of the world as a young dramatic soprano. As Amelia (Un ballo in maschera), she performed at the Teatro Regio in Turin under the direction of conductor Renato Palumbo. She incorporated Santuzza (Cavalleria rusticana) at the Umbrian summer festival in Terni. She persuaded audiences at the Italian Lake Como festival as Abigaille (Nabucco), as Medea (Cherubini’s Medea) she enchanted the audience at the German opera house in Bielefeld, and reigned the SNG Opera Maribor’s Japanese tour as Amneris (Aida). The world was her stage as she performed at the Open Air Festival in Braunschweig, the Greek amphitheater in Sicilian Taormina, the prestigious Puccini Festival in Tuscany, the Coccia Theater in Novara, and appeared in the roles of Turandot, Aida, and Abigaille at the Verona Arena. She started her 2022/2023 opera season in the titular role of Ponchielli’s La Gioconda.
Soprano Andreja Zakonjšek Krt graduated magna cum laude in oratorio and solo singing at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Graz. Already in the course of her studies she was honing her skills under the guidance of renowned lead mezzo-soprano of the SNG Maribor Opera, Dragica Kovačič. Since the 1996/1997, she has been employed as a soloist at the SNG Maribor Opera, where she breathed life into leading roles of numerous popular operas and premieres. She performed as Maud in the premiere of Slovenian composer Josip Ipavec’s opera Princesa Vrtoglavka (Princess Headlong). As Metka in Humperdinck’s fairy-tale opera Hansel and Gretel, she also made her debut with the SNG Opera and Ballet Ljubljana where she has since become a regular guest performer. She also collaborated with the Slovenian Chamber Choir, the RTV Slovenia Symphony Orchestra, the Slovenian Philharmonic and many other excellent institutions. Her extensive concert repertoire extends from the early Baroque to the contemporary period. In 2004 she also kickstarted her recording career, when she recorded her first album of Slovenian and French solo songs with pianist Nataša Valant for the prestigious RTV Slovenija record label. In 2016, she received the prestigious Samo Smrkolj Award for outstanding creative achievement in operatic singing. For her artistic successes and portrayal of the roles of Amelia in Verdi’s opera Simon Boccanegra and Marguerite in Gounod’s opera Faust, she also received Slovenia’s most prestigious, Prešeren Fund Award.
Australian-born Slovenian tenor Martin Sušnik graduated with distinction from the Academy of Music in Ljubljana in the class of Professor Pija Brodnik. His excellence was widely acknowledged already in his student years as is evident from his Prešeren Award for students and a certificate of outstanding academic achievement from the University of Ljubljana. He won a series of competitions in Slovenia and abroad, including the 2017 Giovanni Martinelli & Aureliano Pertile international opera singing competition in Montagnani, Italy. He also sang at the prestigious Verdi Festival in Busseto. Sušnik performs with a diverse range of choirs, chamber ensembles, and orchestras both domestically and abroad. While he most often performs on opera stages, he also enjoys singing oratorios, masses, and solo songs. He has appeared at numerous European concert venues including the Royal Opera in Versailles, the Opéra Comique in Paris, and of course the Slovenian National Opera and Ballet in Ljubljana. As a regular member of the operatic ensemble of the Slovenian National Theatre Maribor, he has breathed life into several noted characters, such as the Duke of Mantua (Rigoletto), Don Ottavio (Don Giovanni), Lensky (Eugene Onegin), Rinuccio (Gianni Schicchi), Count Almaviva (The Barber of Seville), Prince Tamino (The Magic Flute), to name but a few. He regularly performs with the Teatro Verdi in Trieste and the Opera of the Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb, Split, and Rijeka. In 2021, he received the Glazer Certificate for outstanding achievements in opera performance.
After graduating from the Academy of Music in Ljubljana, baritone Jaki Jurgec also went on to graduate from one of the most important Italian academies, the Accademia Verdiana Carlo Bergonzi. He further perfected his skill with baritones Nikola Mitić and Viktor Kurin, tenor Carlo Bergonzi, mezzo-soprano Alenka Dernač Bunta, before receiving the Wagner Foundation scholarship to study in Bayreuth. Not wasting any time, he began establishing himself with both Slovenian national opera houses during his student years. In addition to singing, he also occasionally engages in directing. He guest-starred on most major stages in Slovenia, Italy, Austria, Ukraine, France, Montenegro, Serbia, Portugal, Czech Republic, Taiwan, Japan, Croatia, and elsewhere. For the best part of eight years, he was also a regular guest at the Astra Theater and Victoria International Arts Festival in Malta. In his thirty years of artistic activity, he performed nearly a hundred roles, including Figaro (The Barber of Seville), Papageno (The Magic Flute), Don Alfonso (Così fan tutte), Falke/Frank (Die Fledermaus), Don Pasquale (Don Pasquale), the High Priest (Samson and Delilah), Rodrigo (Don Carlo), Sharpless (Madamme Butterfly), and Higgins (My Fair Lady). The several awards and recognitions he has received for his artistic achievements include the Parma Lirika Award for Excellence and the coveted Glazer Charter.
Ten-year-old Evelin Greblo started her musical journey learning the piano under the tutelage of Professor Blaž Pucihar. However, her heartfelt desire to also play harp was realised when she started learning harp with Lara Pelikan. After a harp department was established at Music School Mengeš, she continued her education under the tutelage of Professor Urška Križnik Zupan. At present she is benefitting from the instruction of noted Italian Professor Patrizia Tassini. Evelin has won quite a few awards, particularly considering her tender age. In 2021, she won the Slovenian national TEMSIG young musician’s competition scoring a perfect 100 points and receiving a special award for most promising young harpist. In that same year, she also clinched victory at the international Idrija Lace competition, was awarded three gold plaques for her knowledge of theory and creativity, and closed the season with the Mengeš Municipal Most Promising Young Harpist Award. In June 2022, Evelin represented Slovenia at the Virtuosos V4+ international televised music competition in Budapest as the youngest competitor of the season and emerged triumphant, receiving special acknowledgment from Maestro Placido Domingo. She next performed with the Budafok Dohnányi Orchestra under the direction of conductor Gábor Hollerung. Evelin’s exceptional musicianship continued to draw acclaim when she captivated an audience of 7000 at the MVM Dome in Budapest, at Maestro Placido Domingo’s concert on March 4, 2023. Just three days later, she delivered yet another impressive performance, this time with the Hungarian Radio Symphonic Orchestra at the Liszt Academy of Music, under the skilled conductor János Kovács.
The Symphony Orchestra of the Slovenian National Theatre Maribor, Slovenian Podravje region’s central instrumental ensemble, boasts a respectable tradition. The orchestra’s roots can be traced back to its parent institution, the Maribor Opera House, which was founded in 1919. In 1993, a mere two years after Slovenia gained its independence, the orchestra began operating as the Maribor Philharmonic. In 2004 it changed its name to the Symphony Orchestra of the Slovenian National Theatre Maribor and began holding independent symphonic concerts, which soon became regular practice. Today, the orchestra is a staple of the Slovenian realm of classical music performance, as well an indispensable part of Maribor Opera and Ballet’s productions. Under the baton of numerous internationally acclaimed conductors from all over the world, the orchestra performs musical theatre and instrumental music across a spectrum of genres ranging from Baroque across Classicism and the music of the 19th and 20th centuries, to the most current symphonic works.
The event is part of the June in Ljubljana Festival.
In collaboration with: