OPERAFEST LISBOA, in its 4th edition was another success of audience with wide national and international recognition!
OPERAFEST LISBOA, the independent opera festival that was born with the pandemic, led by soprano Catarina Molder and produced by Opera do Castelo, presented its 4th edition in its idyllic epicenter in Garden of Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga. From 18th of August to 9th of September, under the moto "From heaven to hell" it presented a diversified program expanding to new venues such as Teatro Romano, Centro Cultural de Belém, El Corte Inglés, and Cinemateca Portuguesa, always with full houses, winning over new audiences with new challenges making Lisbon vibrate with opera!
This 4th edition, brought the emotion of opera almost month-long directly to 6300 people, one third of international audience, among which a great number of young people and children and a growing loyal audience of different ages and backgrounds, year after year enjoying enthusiastically, its challenges and proposals!
5 New Opera Productions
1 opera in absolute premiere
40 singing lessons to curious amateurs
Contemporary Opera Contest- Maratona Ópera XXI
Cine-Opera: 3 films
1 Operatic Rave
It presented three acclaimed opera classics: Bizet's scream of feminine emancipation "Carmen", directed by Tonán Quito and conducted by Jan Wierzba incarnated by mezzo-soprano Cátia Moreso, Mozart’s "The Magic Flute" incredibly magical, directed by Mónica Garnel with a fantastic national cast, both productions sold out several weeks before the opening; "Suor Angelcia" by Puccini and feminine expiation in double bill with the absolute premiere of "Rigor mortis or the House of Rings", the first opera by young talented Francisco Lima da Silva directed by David Pereira Bastos and conducted by Miguel Sepúlveda, very praised both by audience and critics! For the first time in Operafest performance by actor and visual artist Gustavo Sumpta having a poem by Cesare Pavese as starting point, with music by Sara Ross in a time journey within Teatro Roman. Operafest betted on bringing opera up-close to the other performing arts, by inviting stage directors to approach opera and direct it for the first time.
All program showcased national talent of different generations, empowering new talent emergence: new stage directors, set designers, costumes designers, singers, musicians, conductors, producers, stage managers, continuing to bring new dynamics to Portuguese operatic ecosystem, enhancing and dignifying young people’s work. Operafest’s collaborators are all paid and the festival strongly condemns volunteering as dissimulated young people working’s exploitation endangering future working conditions. It also affirms itself as a green and inclusive festival, recycling its set designs and costumes and avoiding waste, use of plastics and polluting materials.
It presented another edition of Maratona Opera XXI – the competition devoted to foster contemporary opera, with final staged performances. Thanks to precious co-production of MPMP - alive music patrimony, this edition highlighted emerging opera singers to perform the opera of today, sung in Portuguese with excerpts by António Chagas Rosa, Alexandre Delgado, Dimitris Andrikopoulos, Francisco Fontes and Nuno Côrte-Real. Soprano Beatriz Maia won "Great singers for the Opera of Today" both, first Prize of Carlos de Pontes Leça Award and Audience Prize and baritone Tiago Amado Gomes, received 2nd Prize Carlos de Pontes Leça Award, having performed two songs from "Livro de Florbela" and "Fidélia" by Nuno Côrte-Real.
Operafest also provided singing lessons to curious amateurs, paying homage to great Maria Callas, launched Cine-Opera Cycle crossing cinema and opera, in Cinemateca Portuguesa, closing this year’s program with Operafest’s unique operatic rave, blending the world of pop and opera, with bombastic performances by Margarida Campelo, Pz+Pijamas band and Dj Marfox immersing the audience in an irresistible dancing celebration!
Special thanks to our precious "home" – Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga and the other program partners: Teatro Romano, Centro Cultural de Belém, El corte inglés and Cinemateca Portuguesa. A gigantic thanks to our main Patron BPI e Fundação La Caixa, who since 2021 supported and made this festival possible and to Direcção geral das artes, Câmara Municipal de Lisboa, Turismo de Lisboa, Turismo de Portugal, Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, âmbito cultural do El corte inglés, Fedora Association, Junta de Freguesia de Santa Maria Maior, Mota Engil and to our media partners for helping us bring this opera celebration to everyone!
Another Special thanks to Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation for having received us with open arms and in absolute time record, allowing the replacement of the two cancelled performances of "The magic flute" due to rain, in a memorable evening in Big Auditorium!
We are preparing an edition of Operafest traveling though Portugal, in a winter season to bring our work to other venues and audiences!
We aim at growing and expanding Operafest to other regions, venues and settings, hoping to win-over new partners and supports to keep on presenting the more expensive of all performing arts and be a stronger trigger to make independent opera move forward, promoting international dialogue, betting in new creators and interpreters, imagining and building new paths to keep on conquering new audiences – unboxing opera!