Operafest Lisboa 2022

19 AUG to 10 SEP

Garden Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga


Destiny in Vertigo


The idea of a Destiny you can not escape is Operasfest’ 2022 moto – the opera festival  “out of the box” born in Lisbon, in covid times, in its 3rd Edition. It also proposes with humor, the going back of mask to the world of phantasy and disguise, opening and closing this year’s program with contrasting masked balls!


Devouring destiny, vertiginous, hittings us all! From tragic destiny of forbidden love’s vengeance to the destiny each one of us carries in its own matrix, the destiny of human life on earth, of existential questions without answer, of unavoidable pane, but also of joy and madness.

Operafest kicks off with A Masked Ball by Giuseppe Verdi, a turning point of innovation in the Italian’s master career, exploring recurrent idea of fatal destiny. Inspired by King of Sweden assassination, which Verdi due to several censorships, had to dissimulate, it’s about a love triangle ending up in the murder of count Riccardo, in a masked ball, at the hands of his best friend. Moving to a vibrant American Evening bringing together composers and long-life companions, Samuel Barber and Gian-Carlo Menotti, with Labyrinth by this last one, in national premiere. After the success of Menotti’s The Medium in Operafest’s last edition, the festival wants make discover more about this fascinating composer. This time, happiness devoured by life’s disenchantments and obstacles, about a fresh married couple, who can’t find the key to their hotel room in a metaphysical evocation of the path to the unknown and mystery which life is. Followed by Samuel’s Barber delicious short opera A Hand of Bridge, with libretto by Menotti himself. A simple card game finally unravel occult aspirations and desires, in which we permanently leave, having as intermezzo Barber’s famous Adagio. Next stop the sought after opera for younger audiences, Jeremy Fisher, the story of the boy fish by French composer Isabelle Aboulker. Another title evoking the idea of destiny, with music and plot of overwhelming poetry. Son of a fishermen’s couple  Jeremy is born under fish sign and from metamorphosis to metamorphosis, turns into a boy fish, until it’s time to go live in the Ocean. Plenty of love and intelligence are required by his parents to accept him like he is, different from other children and that they have to let him go – a metaphor for the transformation we all experience during growth from dependent children to adults who need to leave to their own lives. Contemporary Opera contest and Award – Maratona Ópera XXI – Opera Express to New Stage Directors, proposes revisitation of short opera format repertoire “in the closet” and the absolute premiere of Minotaur by João Ricardo-  winner of Maratona’s last edition, again around the idea of destiny and labyrinth! It clearly bets through Carlos de Pontes Leça Prize,  in new opera stage director emerging talents from varied performing backgrounds: dance, theatre, cinema and performance, to toast total art form with so longed new proposals and insights.

Opera Satellite offers Lyric Machine, singing lessons for amateurs and workshops for performing art professional interested in purchase new tools, to work operatic material, such as to learn how to read music, to direct singers and to get to know variety of voice categories. Operafest closes with The Man of Dreams by António Chagas Rosa (2022), based on Mário de Sá-Carneiro homonymous novel, acclaimed by audience and critics, in its absolute premiere last February at São Luiz Theatre in Lisbon, around the limits of human existence and the premonitory and structural power of dream – “I’ve mastered dreams, I live what I want, I dream what I want”. Right after, the so waited moment of celebration blending opera and pop music in an Operatic Rave where the audience is also invited to wear a phantasy mask in  Masked ball to defy destiny, full of dance and operatic frenzy.


Welcome to Operafest and the tragic world of opera!!