Mia Sretenovic: The main goal of Operosa is to connect talent and experience

Five days of opera in Montenegro amazed the audience and added another successful year to the Operosa history. Director of the Operosa Festival Mia Sretenovic shared with #mnetoday the mission of the festival within Montenegrin art and the opportunities for the young artists passionate about opera.

#mnetoday One of your activities, apart from the annual festival, is maintaining and developing the community of young opera singers. How big is it currently? Who are the members in terms of demographics and professional interests?

MS: Yes, a focal part of our activities is education and artists’ development. Additional to our in-house activities, we are also members of a European Opera Academies’ Network called ENOA, with leading opera houses and festivals as our partners. A huge number of opportunities arise from these member organisations, that we share with young opera artists whom we come across. We also have an online members’ platform accessed through our web site called ‘Operosa Forum’. Our community is growing day by day and it is a valuable place for all opera artists to share creative content. There are members from literally all continents and different locations such as singers, stage directors, costume designers, set designers, composers, artistic management, orchestras, schools etc…

#mnetoday Do you see much interest from young Montenegrin singers when it comes to this international community?

MS: Montenegrin singers, such as Olivera Tičević, Marijana Šovran, Milica Milanović and Bojana Pejanović Kukić, are amazing! At Operosa, we cooperate with artists from all over the opera world and this is of course a great opportunity in itself for Montenegrin artists to meet fellow international artists and exchange experiences and thoughts. Our Operosa Chamber Orchestra is mainly consisting of Montenegrin instrumentalists and we are continuously looking for new exciting links between opera and the wealthy world of art, music and culture in Montenegro.

#mnetoday What are the existing opportunities for young Montenegrin opera artists in the country? What does the Operosa festival and the community provide them?

MS: One of the main goals of Operosa is to connect talent and experience, to provide cooperation between talented opera artists and internationally recognized opera experts. That is why we organise master classes, workshops and labs where we bring world renowned names such as Jennifer Larmore, Darina Takova, Sune Hjerrild, Jan Pilgaard Carlse, etc. During our Festival all the singers and other crew have opportunity to work with amazing directors, conductors and stage designers, such as Maestro Eraldo Salmieri, Mr Domenico Franchi, Mr Martin Lloyd-Evans and Mr. Simon Corder. Every year numerous artists from all over the world come to Montenegro, which is great way for Montenegrin artists to connect and create future possibilities.

#mnetoday What is the next step for Operosa 10 years after it’s inception?

MS: We are looking forward to developing the Operosa Montenegro Opera Festival into a recognized national and international event and promoting Montenegro as a destination for all opera and classical music lovers around the world. The beautiful Old Town of Herceg Novi and the fortresses of Forte Mare and Kanli Kula are still undiscovered gems. We look forward to welcoming more and more aspiring opera artists and world renowned artistic directors to work together, building new and exciting projects. And most importantly, we want to develop a truly Montenegrin opera stage where Montenegrin artists together with international artists can impress both local and international audiences.

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#mnetoday You are arranging this festival every year. What is the dynamic in the development of this project? What is the indication of the festival’s success for you?

MS: We are very proud to develop the opera scene in Montenegro and to have such an amazing response from the people. Our first two Operosa Opera Festivals in Montenegro lasted one day. Both of them were full. Last year our Festival became part of the official European Festivals list and this year it lasted for 5 days. Many people wondered if it was possible to present opera and classical music for 5 days in a country where there is no obvious demand for this art. But Montenegrin people and visitors proved that it was possible. The five days of the festival had a great turn out and the reactions and comments were wonderful.