The breathtaking melodies of opera resounded under the open sky of Pristina during the enchanting ‘Rame Lahaj & Friends’ Evening Gala. The night left an indelible mark on the hearts of all who witnessed the captivating magic of operatic art in Skenderbeu Square.
With his exceptional vocal prowess and warm connection to the audience, the renowned tenor of the global stage, Rame Lahaj, commenced a new chapter of the festival, steadily expanding its name and reach year after year.
Sharing the grand stage were celebrated figures like tenor Alessandro Safina, baritone Massimo Cavalletti from Italy, and Ukrainian soprano Yulia Suleimanova, each adding their brilliance to the musical spectacle.
Accompanied by the Kosovo Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by the maestro Pier Giorgio Morandi from Italy, the evening witnessed a fusion of artistic talent and experience, painting the capital with the vibrant colors of European metropolises.
The stage not only resonated with masterpieces of world operatic music but also embraced arrangements of authentic Albanian songs, a genre cherished dearly by Lahaj. Captivating narratives unfolded through the operatic finesse until the concert’s four protagonists came together for a dazzling rendition of Brindisi from “La Traviata,” concluding the night amidst a torrent of emotions and thunderous applause.
The Rame Lahaj International Opera Festival extends heartfelt gratitude to the performers and the audience, whose presence made this magical night an unforgettable celebration of the operatic arts.
The third edition of the RLIOF Festival was an incredible celebration of music, showcasing a wide variety of concerts and performances that left audiences spellbound. The festival featured several concert evenings, each with its own unique program and theme, including the “Ensemble Evening,” “Opera Night,” “Nexhmije Pagarusha,” “New Generation,” and the “Gala Rame Lahaj & Friends.”
The Ensemble Evening transcended music, presenting touching narratives, a powerful message, and heartfelt reflections. The stage was graced by the enchanting voice of countertenor Cameron Shahbazi, whose melodious and unique timbre, accompanied by the talented pianist Sophia Munoz and cellist Eno Nushi, performed a premiere repertoire that deeply touched the audience’s hearts. The Opera Night was designed to expand the recognition and presentation of the operatic repertoire through the interpretations of renowned voices, artists, and colleagues who have joined the festival since its inaugural edition.
This evening of the festival brought to the capital premiere works performed by three soloists of all stages: soprano Leonor Bonilla, tenor Mert Sϋngϋ and baritone Simon Mechliński. The three soloists brought the colors of belcantism and the company on the piano by Ardita Bufaj. The evening Nexhmije Pagarusha stirred the emotions of the gathered audience at the Amphitheater of the University Library in the capital, accompanied by thunderous applause for the five soloists: soprano Kaltrina Miftari, baritone Adhurim Grezda, mezzo-soprano Ardiana Bytyçi, tenor Gerald Murrja, and soprano Besarta Murtezani, under the enchanting melodies of Keli Band.
One of the highlights of the festival was the New Generation evening, which celebrated talented young artists selected for the RLIOF Masterclass, aimed at developing their repertoire for professional-level performance. The voice of young talents, selected by the legend of operatic music himself, Maestro Francisco Araiza, echoed in the fourth evening of the Rame Lahaj International Opera Festival.
“I am very happy that this year, with the unanimous support of the municipality of Prishtina, we are sponsoring the first Opera Festival in the country and region, the Rame Lahaj International Opera Festival. I don’t have much to say about our artist, Rame Lahaj, because he has been recognized worldwide, and I have personally attended his performances in Berlin and London. But what is most important to me, Prishtina, and Kosovo, and why we will always support it, is the investment in the educational platform designed for young lyrical talents and their careers, as well as possibilities of their entry into the international arena. This year’s RLIOF will feature 5 concert evenings in which, in addition to opera stars from around the world, authentic Albanian music will play an important role in the festival’s repertoire. Dear Rame Lahaj, Prishtina and your hometown welcome you and your international colleagues.”
Perparim Rama, Prishtina’s Mayor, Patron of RLIOF Festival
“There is extraordinary will within the community, and it must be realized. The Rame Lahaj International Opera Festival is one way to keep an art alive and to ensure that we can create conditions, capacities, and continuity. Which is not just an event, so we cannot reduce it to just one event, because the event is also extraordinary, very beautiful, and we all enjoy it, with renowned names who come to perform on Prishtina’s stage. But above all, what Rame does is international visibility, it is an incentive for institutions, it is also a school for young cadres. To put it another way, a multidisciplinary approach to ensuring that on the day when we have the opera and ballet theater, we have all the required capacities to always fill those opera theater halls with great programs and audiences.”
Hajrulla Ceku, Minister of Culture in Kosovo
“Rame Lahaj’s International Opera Festival (RLIOF) is a great cultural event. With his magnificent voice, his outstanding international prestige and last but not least with his big heart, Rame Lahaj has put Pristina on the international opera map. At the same time the RLIOF opened up the world of opera to a wider public in Rame’s native Kosovo. In addition to excellent opera performances of internationally renowned singers, the Festival offers young talented artists not only the opportunity to improve their skills in masterclasses, but also to present their skills to a larger audience. The Embassy of Switzerland is pleased to support the RLIOF again this year. ”
Thomas Kolly, Ambassador of Switzerland to the Republic of Kosovo
“It is an important mission since it allows young talents to exchange experiences with students from other nations, as is the case with Italy. Traveling and meeting other experts from various nations is a fundamental enrichment, which is why we support Rame Lahaj’s project, because this is how tomorrow’s talents are developed. Of course, it remains critical that Kosovo’s future talents, due to the Rame Lahaj Foundation’s efforts, have an appropriate venue in which to express themselves here in Kosovo as well.”
Antonello De Riu, Italian Ambassador to Kosovo
Our project thrives through the support of a community of sponsors and patrons who collaborate with us to foster the growth of future generations of artists.
The contributions of our generous sponsors, both from the public and private sectors, enable us to provide a distinctive educational experience for our young talents hailing from various parts of the world. Additionally, we are able to host an exceptional international festival that caters to our audience’s preferences.
Every contribution counts and helps the Foundation’s mission to make a positive impact on the Kosovar opera scene, the promotion of local artists and students.
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Rame Lahaj Foundation
Address: Agim Ramadani, Prishtine
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