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Balance Operafest Lisboa 2021

Operafest Lisboa 2021 - A new opera festival born in covid times

Equality, diversity and courage


In its 2nd Edition, Operafest Lisboa, directed by soprano Catarina Molder and produced by Opera do Castelo, with reduced capacity to 50%, still haunted by covid, reached directly 3700 people and indirectly  dozens of thousands, through RTP2 broadcasting of the Opera in Absolute premiere of this edition: “Até que a morte nos separe” (Until death tear us apart) by Ana Seara, celebrating World Opera day and highlighting contemporary opera.

With wide media cover, it was the only event in Lisbon, during all 2021, to offer staged opera! Took place from 20th August to 11 Sep,  in the dream setting of Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga Garden, by Tagus river , with all premiered productions praised by  international critic:

"Courage, audacity, imagination: these qualities, which one would like to find more often in the programming of prestigious musical institutions, are perfectly embodied by the very young OperaFest Lisboa, whose second edition was held this year. Led by soprano Catarina Molder, its enthusiastic and inspiring artistic director” , in Première Loge.

Young  composer, João Ricardo won Carlos de Pontes Leça prize within Contemporary opera contest – Maratona Opera XXI - for his tenor aria “When I deceived the Gods”, this year dedicated to the artistry of composing arias, under tutorship of composer António Chagas Rosa, having with this prize, a new commission.

With great audience adhesion and very good feedback by the audience and critics presented Madama Butterfly staged by acclaimed Portuguese choreographer Olga Roriz, the extraordinary “The Medium” by Gian-­Carlo Mennoti returning to Lisbon after more than 40 years of absence, with first and successful opera staging by actress and stage director Sandra Faleiro.Double-­bill combining emblematic Mahagonny - Songspiel by Kurt Weill and the absolute premiere “Until death tear us apart”, first length opera by Ana Seara. Made possible vocal self-­discovery lessons, the staged opera gala with tenor Mads Wighus “Soul on Fire” and closed with Operatic rave, bringing pop, disco, cabaret and opera together in a celebration danced by everyone! 

Operafest clearly bets in the opera of the future, in new creators, conductors, composers, musicians, actors and opera singers, stimulating talent, bringing new dynamics to Portuguese operatic ecosystem, combining experience with fresh blood, to win over new audiences and bring opera closer to the world and the audience of today!

It didn’t have any intern or volunteer nor any unpaid working force, setting from its beginning the priority of achieving diversity and equality not only through a diversified programme, but also by diginficating youth work, paying  with dignity all very talented young people (about 40% Operafest’s collaborators), who with their vibrating commitment and energy, made this festival possible.  To be a green festival is also a priority, having all our settings and propos reclycled, avoiding garbage and waste during all process.