Il turco in Italia (“The Turk in Italy”)

Opera by Gioacchino Rossini

The production of the Pärnu International Opera Music Festival PromFest, where the main parts are the winners of the Klaudia Taev International Competition for Young Opera Singers.

It all starts with poet Prosdocimo looking for a plot for a comedy, while his slightly dim-witted friend Geronio is looking for a fortune teller to advise him on marital issues. Coincidentally, they meet gypsies, among whom is the wonderful but unhappy Zaida, who is said to have come from a Turkish harem…

This event triggers the plot of Rossini’s opera “Il Turco in Italia”. Sounds like a silly soap opera? This is exactly what it seemed like to director Andrus Vaarik, a comic actor himself, who decided to bring this opera to the stage in a completely original, in his opinion only possible interpretation, where the poet becomes an overbearing TV producer and others are characters in his crazy reality show.

Andrus Vaarik: “By putting this frivolous farce on which Rossini’s opera is based in an even sillier format of modern mass entertainment, we surprisingly found a story that’s very lively, witty and even moving.”

The concept of director Vaarik is amplified by the scenography of designer Madis Nurms. In the visual of “Il Turco”, there is probably an element of nostalgia for those who had their childhood in the early nineties. Compared to the designer’s previous works, this production looks more colorful and cheerful, but otherwise, it continues the line of previous PromFest’s productions – shamelessly sexy, not decorative, but rather constructivist. “It’s like Meyerhold under acid,” as the designer himself puts it.

In spite of the raunchy production concept, musical director Erki Pehk has not had to change any note or word in Rossini’s score. Everything fits the staging concept perfectly! Thus, opera aficionados who love authenticity can imagine themselves back in time two hundred and seven years ago, when this opera premiered at La Scala, and allow themselves to be carried away by Rossini’s brilliant music.

Though the plot of the opera might be quite trivial, Rossini’s bel canto-style requires great mastery from the singers. Maestro Pehk has not had to make any concessions in this respect either, because the production of PromFest stars young talented singers, who are all laureates of the internationally acknowledged Klaudia Taev Competition for young opera singers. This production is a reward for their successful performance in the competition.

PromFest’s co-production with The Kaunas State Musical Theatre


Musical Director and Conductor – Erki Pehk
Stage Director – Andrus Vaarik
Set and Costume designer – Madis Nurms
Choreographer – Dainius Bervingis
Lighting designer – Kornelija Kondratavičiūtė
Video designer – Katre Sulane

Selim –
Sargis Bazhbeuk-Melikyan (Armenia)
Joris Rubinovas (Lithuania) 13.09

Donna Fiorilla –
Hanna Tverdova (Ukraine)
Gabrielė Bukinė (Lithuania) 13.09

Don Geronio –
Taras Berezhansky (Ukraine)
Žygimantas Galinis (Lithuania) 13.09

Don Narciso –
Yury Rostotsky (Russia)
Mindaugas Jankauskas (Lithuania) 13.09

Prosdocimo –
Vladyslav Tlushch (Ukraine)
Andrius Apšega (Lithuania) 13.09

Zaida –
Kamile Bonté (Lithuania)
Ieva Goleckytė (Lithuania) 13.09

The orchestra and chorus of the Kaunas State Music Theatre
Chorus master – Rasa Vaitkevičiūtė
Concertmaster of the orchestra – Povilas Grigas

Performed in Italian
Subtitles in English and Estonian

Premiere on 8th September 2021 Kaunas State Musical Theatre, Lithuania

Director Andrus Vaarik
Preparing the production
Designer Madis Nurms
Designing the production

Musical Director Erki Pehk