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The 28th Music Biennale Zagreb

The 28th Music Biennale Zagreb, taking place between April 18th and 25th, will feature over 40 different programmes. An extraordinary feast will be staged in the final of the international 5-Minute Opera competition by Monika Cerovčec, soprano, and Krešimir Stražanac, bass-baritone, who will perform as many as 10 opera roles in one evening.

In the month of April of every odd-numbered year, the capital of Croatia becomes the centre of contemporary music as the International Biennale Zagreb gathers composers of a new generation from all over the world. This year’s edition of the International Festival of Contemporary Music will take place between April 18th and 25th, with over 40 different programmes ranging from concerts and dance shows to operas, sound installations, lectures, etc. They will be presented to the audiences by over 700 performers and authors at more than ten different locations around the city.

The Music Biennale Zagreb had its first edition in 1961. To this very day, it has focused on the composers and their works, many of which have premiered at this festival. During its lifespan, the festival has harboured other festivals, such as the popular and long lasting Urbofest and the World Days of New Music ISCM. The festival has always focused on younger generations and upcoming trends. It has developed over time and added new interesting projects to its agenda. This year, the novelty is a new competition for composers, the so-called 5-Minute Opera. The composer’s brief for this specific and very original competition was to compose a miniature opera according to a strict set of propositions – they had to be for two singers and 8 instruments, and they are allowed to perform for no longer than five minutes. Among the works that have met the criteria, 10 have been selected for the competition final. Their authors are contemporary composers from Sweden, France, Canada, Argentina, Switzerland, Belgium, Poland and Greece. The panel of judges and the audience will be invited to choose the best among them. The winner will be commissioned to write a new work to be performed at the 29th Music Biennale in 2017. However, this is not the end of the extraordinary 5-Minute Opera competition story. A lot of it comes down to Monika Cerovčec, soprano, and Krešimir Stražanac, bass-baritone. These two young Croatian opera singers have taken on a challenge: to sing the roles from the ten operas written by the ten finalists in one night, an unprecedented undertaking in the opera world.

This remarkable music event will take place on April 21st in the Croatian Music Institute starting at 19.30.

The programme and information regarding the events taking place during the 28th Music Biennale Zagreb can be found at

Published: 31.03.2015