Review of the "Opera Tales" concert by Biljana Kamcheva Bozinovska

The concert took place on May 13, 2024, Foyer of the National Opera and Ballet

A vocal artist's concert performance is best experienced in the moment, as a finished work of art, when you leave the hall satisfied, full of music and taking with you impressions that are slowly erased from the memories of opera music lovers. The impression is all the stronger when the musicians are young, hopeful, full of youthful enthusiasm fueled by the undisguised desire to convey growth in their interpretive maturation and present themselves as perspective and talented soloists.

In short, that would be the impression from the performance of Biljana Kamcheva Božinovska, soprano, accompanied by Andreja Naunov on the piano, which took place on May 13 in the Foyer of the National Opera and Ballet (NOB), and was attended by a large number of fans of opera art. On the program of the concert were arias that are usually synonymous with what is called popular in opera literature, but also with great specific vocal weight and performance-technical complexity of the roles of Mimi from "Bohemia" by J. Puccini, Violetta from "La Traviata" and Lenora from "The Troubadour" by J. Verdi, and Neda from "Ballachi" by R. Leoncavallo. The selection of the repertoire is designed and programmatically conceptualized between the roles of the lyrical soprano and the dramatic one, with which the young Biljana Kamcheva Božinovska wants to contribute to a balanced artistic approach in the interpretation of different operatic characters.

Biljana Kamcheva Bozinovska is one of the most outstanding and established Macedonian musicians of the younger generation. She is a rare example of a musician active with two performance profiles as an opera singer and as a flutist, and thus represents a unique musical phenomenon. On the NOB stage, she made her debut in 2016 with Yente in the musical "Svirach na topruk" under the baton of maestro Sasha Nikolovski-Gjumar. On the same stage, Kamcheva Božinovska performs as an opera soloist in the children's play "The Opera of Forest Animals" directed by D. Gligorijevic, and in the baroque opera "Dido and Aeneas" by H. Purcell.

Biljana Kamcheva Božinovska, as a solo singer and as a flutist, also performs at concerts at the festivals "Days of Macedonian Music", "Ohrid Summer", "Skopje Summer", "Autumn Music Festivals"; as a soloist with the Macedonian Philharmonic; The National Opera and Ballet; with the chamber orchestra "FMU Soloists"; with the SO of FMU - Skopje, and was part of the "FAME's" orchestra, as well as the RO at MRTV, and performed on stages in Moscow, Rome, Florence, Sofia, Burgas, Belgrade, Nis, Pristina.

Pianist Andreja Naunov is well known in our music community with an enviable number of performances as an accompanist, and especially as an artistic collaborator with the NOB champions.

The curiosity that hovered before the performance of "Opera Tales" was initiated by the pledged repertoire, the necessary complexity, even maturity, in the creation of each of the roles of the above program in one evening. But there is no dilemma. Biljana Kamcheva Božinovska confirmed herself as a quality, gifted soprano, with a refined musical sense and a thoughtful stage performance, finely dosed by the emotional context of the lyrics of the opera stories.

In the arias of Mimi, Violetta and Neda, she captured the character and, together with the piano, created lyrical warmth and immediacy in the interpretation of the character specifics of these female characters. Her lyrical soprano, precise coloratura passages with warm and bright color in the upper registers filled the packed hall. In Lenora's aria from "Troubadour", the soloist showed that she pays special attention to the development of her voice in relation to the dramatic expression of the role.

As a guest at the concert, Vasko Zdravkov, a baritone who was familiar to the local audience in the role of Figaro in "The Barber of Seville" by J. Rossini, Escamillo in "Carmen" by J. Bizet, Silvio in "Ballers" by R. Leoncavallo, Masetto in "Don Giovanni" by V. A. Mozart and others. The duets in "La Traviata" (Violetta and Germon) and "Pagliacci" (Neda and Silvio), which abound with emotional tension crucial in the dramaturgical denouement of the librettos of these operas, Kamcheva Božinovska and Zdravkov performed them with the necessary dose of emotions, sustained melodic phrases with pure intonation, while creating a harmonious blend of their voices and stage performance. Andreja Naunov also contributed to the final impression of this musical experience, who in symbiosis with measured dynamic gradations on the piano showed that he has a special flair for following vocal artists.

Biljana Kamcheva Božinovska proved herself in front of a large audience as an opera soloist who builds her artistic growth on the stage with continuous hard work and complete dedication in shaping her personal reproductive integrity. Of course, we should be satisfied that we have quality young opera artists, such as Kamcheva Božinovska and Zdravkov, but the cultural policy should always take care of that and support the new generations. This implies giving them space in time, in their maturing years, by setting up musical works that will be appropriate to their reproductive potential.

Among other things, this is precisely why the choice of operas that are in the repertoire of our opera house should be based on the capacity of our own resources so that all local musicians have the opportunity to perform, and at the same time the performances are continuously sustainable on the Macedonian opera scene.

Author of the review: Stefanija Leshkova, musicologist

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