<< -- 2 -- Roderic Dunnett MOUTHS TO FEED
Perhaps nothing apart from the wines and champagnes of Cricova has done
more to spread Moldova's name abroad than its stage traditions of dance,
folk-dance and opera. The opera company has toured from Italy to Japan with
relatively traditional productions, in keeping with the arguably less adventurous
stage tradition of many of Eastern Europe's opera houses, and a wealth
of strong voices.
A scene from the Chisinau National Opera 2001 production of Verdi's 'Aida'
In the UK, where the Chisinau National Opera launches a new tour of Verdi's
Aida and Bellini's Norma this week, it's thanks
to Ellen Kent and Opera and Ballet International that the Chisinau National
Opera has become one of the most popular phenomena of the British stage.
The energetic and imaginative Kent has not only organised an impressive
schedule of appearances embracing the major UK centres (Edinburgh, Manchester,
London's Royal Albert Hall), but also -- and this is a key part of her
achievement -- has identified an unfulfilled appetite for opera and forged
contacts with outlying places in the British Isles (including Wales and
Scotland, and further afield in Ireland) where opera is relatively scarce
and where she has been known to attract capacity audiences.
Chorus of Sicilian women in the church scene from the Chisinau National Opera production of 'Cavalleria Rusticana'
Back home, Chisinau National Opera employs some three hundred personnel
-- more than San Francisco or London's Royal Opera -- and Ellen Kent
is viewed back there as something of a national hero. It may even be partly
thanks to her that a British Embassy has just -- at long last -- opened in
Kent has promoted other East European opera companies in addition to
her longstanding Chisinau connection, forging valuable contacts for the
Romanian and Latvian opera companies. More recently she has brought the
Ukrainian Opera of Odessa, a no less impressive outfit with possibly an
even stronger orchestra, to Britain, for which she was able to draw to advantage
on her leading Moldovan soloists as guests.
Copyright © 5 September 2002
Roderic Dunnett, Bath, UK