State Opera

Štátna opera
Contact: Rudolf Hromada Director
Contact: Dana Kocianová (f) Head of Marketing
Telephone: 421 (0) 48 245 7105
Národná 11, 974 73 Banská Bystrica, Slovakia
421 (0) 48 245 7120, 421 (0) 48 245 7101
421 (0) 48 245 7102

State opera was founded in 1959. The first performance of the youngest opera theatre in Slovakia was Foerster’s opera Eve, directed by the first chief of the company, František Rell, and conducted by Jozef Kende.The most well-know artists performing in the opera ensemble were: Dagmar Rohová, Štefan Babjak, Jozef Konder, Milan Schenko, Andrej Bystran and Ladislav Longauer, later increased František Caban, Ján Zemko, Jan Hadraba, Božena Fresserová, Jarmila Vašicová, Božena Lenhardová, Mária Murgašová, Tamara Brummerová, Alena Dvorská-Hodálová, Oľga Hromadová, Mária Tomanová and the others. Also the famous Slovak soprano singers Edita Gruberová, Ľubica Orgonášová and bass Sergej Kopčák had begun their artistic careers in Banská Bystrica´s Opera house.

From the beginning the repertoire of the included operettas, musicals and ballets. But the main activity was presentation of the opera genre.

Along with well-known opera’s titles, the dramaturgy of the smallest Opera house has oriented and is still heading to presenting less known titles. A lot of these operas were presented as Slovaks´ premieres - Gounod’s Romeo and Juliet, Verdi’s early pieces Arolda and Atilla, Puccini’s Edgar, La Rondine, Donizetti’s Buffa, Viva La Mamma, La Favorite, Bellini´s I Puritani, I Capuleti e i Montecchi, Donizetti’s Linda di Chamounix and Leoncavallo’s Gli Zingari.

The chance was given also to the young directors as Marián Chudovský and particularly Martin Bendik collaborating with the stage designer Aleš Votava. A combination of inventive dramaturgy under the leadership of Branislav Kriška, the modern theatrical sensitivity of the producers and a fortunate combination of soloists), made State Opera the most interesting and ambitious opera company in Slovakia. Banská Bystrica provided space for original Slovak pieces – Beneš’s Petrified, Cikker’s Mister Scrooge.

The most valuable act of the theatre as well as an extra event in Slovak opera life was the staging of the original version of Krútňava (The Whirlpool) within the anniversary of the composer Eugen Suchoň (2008). The ensemble studied the performance under the theatre director Roman Polák and the chief conductor Marián Vach in the way as it was heard only once during its world premiere in the Slovak National Theatre in December 1949.

The State Opera in Banská Bystrica is also the main organizer of the opera festival Zvolen Castle Plays, the only open-air opera festival with 30 years tradition. The repertoire of the festival included performances of the State opera with the participation of foreign performers. The festival takes places at the courtyard of Zvolen Castle at the end of June and the beginning of July since 1979.

During the Communist era there were excellent artists of the Eastern block and soloists of the prestigious theatres as Verona Arena – Olivia Stapp, Alessandro Verduci, Mario Malagnini, Gabrielle Floresta, Paolo Gavanelli. At present time the festival is orientated to presenting specially the series of the concert performances from the young Verdi´s opera period (La battaglia di Legnano, Alzira, I Lombardi, I masnadieri) and Belcanto opera repertoire performed by excellent international opera artists (Alberto Cupido, Francesca Scaini, Roberto Servile, Susanna Branchini, Dimitra Theodossiou, Riccardo Zanellato, Ignacio Encinas, Chiara Taigi).