The almost sold-out two performances of Ero the Joker, which will be conducted by maestro Hari Zlodre and directed by Krešimir Dolenčić, will take place on August 1st and 4th at Bene in Split as part of the 69th Split Summer Festival's opera program. This best attests to the audience's uninterrupted interest and enduring love towards the longest-running play in the history of Split's theater.
Dolenčić first staged Gotovac's favorite comic opera in Split in 2001, and over the years, it has seen changes in performers and casts. Still, it has never lost its sparkling wit and vitality, which were breathed into it by its creators, inspired by the life and people of Dalmatian Zagora - real people with all their virtues and flaws. It's worth mentioning that the 'Zagreb' Ero, also directed by Krešimir Dolenčić, has been on the repertoire of the Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb since 1992 and holds the record in the theater's history.
"I've worked on Ero in various places, quite often, and my career is practically marked by it," says the director, who had another premiere performance of Ero just two months ago, this time at the Zagreb Puppet Theatre.
"It's a children's play that once again convinced me that the libretto is so rich, clever, and witty that it can function outside the opera context," emphasizes Dolenčić ahead of the two performances in Split, which are for the first time set in an exciting new location - the Bene Beach.
"I'm delighted that the audience still loves Ero and that the interest in the performances is so great, but it doesn't surprise me at all - it has always been that way. In my opinion, it's the best Slavic comic opera ever, with incredibly inspired music that resonates with the entire Mediterranean, not just Dalmatia, and all of it is very relatable to people, especially with such a marvelous libretto. The singers are fantastic, from Margareta Matišić, who made her debut as Doma, to Mate Akrap as the extraordinary new Marko, Stjepko Franetović in the title role, and Antonija Teskera, who is already well-known as Đula," says the director of Ero the Joker.
In the current cast, which the Split audience will see a few days after the traditional performance in Vrlika (where it is played every summer in memory of Milan Begović, the literary father of Ero the Joker), in addition to the mentioned soloists, Marko Lasić plays miller Sima, and Tea Požgaj portrays the shepherd boy. Along with the accompaniment of the Choir and Orchestra of the Croatian National Theatre Split, a vital role is played by the Cultural and Artistic Society "Jedinstvo," whose dance performances make some of the most memorable moments of this comic opera. And during the intermission of tonight's performance of Ero on the new stage of the Split Summer Festival, there will be another small attraction: the conductor and director of the play will speak to the audience about their experience of staging and conducting Gotovac's masterpiece.
For the audience, transportation to Bene is organized by a free bus departing at 8:30 PM from Sv. Frane (Sv. Frane - Banovina - Vila Dalmacija - Bene). Admission is possible upon presenting a purchased ticket.
The regular bus line 12 (Sveti Frane - Bene) departs daily at 8:00 PM and 8:15 PM.