A Life by the Canvas kick-starts artistic exchange between Albania and Austria

A Life by the Canvas kick-starts artistic exchange between Albania and Austria

TIRANA, Feb. 1 – Karl Korab’s exhibition A Life by the Canvas at the Kalo Gallery will be one  of the first artistic exchanges in the context of the Albania-Austria artistic cooperation year. Karl Korab was born in 1937 in

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Cultural cooperation between Albania and Austria to bring 60 new events during 2018

Cultural cooperation between Albania and Austria to bring 60 new events during 2018

TIRANA, Feb. 1 – In context of the 2018 Albania-Austria cooperation year, attention will be given to cultural and scientific exchanges between the two countries. The aim is to strengthen cultural ties and intensify intercultural exchange between Albania and Austria,

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Pantakin on tour to travel through Albania

Pantakin on tour to travel through Albania

TIRANA, Feb. 1 – The Venetian Pantakin Theatre Company will tour Albania this February with a mask show titled the Comic’s Mastery, starting from Tirana on Feb. 6 and continuing in Shkodra, Korça and Vlora in the following days. Thought

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Experts worried over neglect to Albania’s gems as two sites make it to Europe’s most endangered

Experts worried over neglect to Albania’s gems as two sites make it to Europe’s most endangered

TIRANA, Jan. 30 – Albanian heritage experts have hailed the shortlisting of Gjirokastra and the post-Byzantine churches among Europe 12 most endangered sites as a good opportunity that could see them escape the threat if they make it to the

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Gjirokastra, post-Byzantine churches shortlisted for Europe’s most endangered sites

Gjirokastra, post-Byzantine churches shortlisted for Europe’s most endangered sites

TIRANA, Jan. 30 – The UNESCO World Heritage site of Gjirokastra and the post-Byzantine churches of Voskopoja and Vithkuq in southern and south-eastern Albania have been shortlisted as 12 European heritage sites for the 2018 seven most endangered programme for

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Fragility explores the aesthetic side of nudity

Fragility explores the aesthetic side of nudity

TIRANA, Jan. 24 – Kalo Gallery inaugurated this week a contemporary art exhibition titled Fragility. Open until Feb. 11, Fragility will display artworks from the gallery’s collection, including paintings and sculptures from Albanian and foreign artists such as Bashkim Ahmeti,

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Free piano concert brings German classics at Tirana’s Academy of Arts

Free piano concert brings German classics at Tirana’s Academy of Arts

TIRANA, Jan. 24 – The German Embassy in cooperation with the Symphonic Orchestra of the Albanian Radio-Television (ART) will host a free-entry concert with conductor Mateusz Moleda and soloist Marin Gjollma on Friday, Jan. 26. Moleda comes from Germany, while

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Carmen to open National Opera and Ballet Theatre season

Carmen to open National Opera and Ballet Theatre season

TIRANA, Jan. 24 – Starting Jan. 30, the internationally acclaimed opera Carmen will come on stage at the Palace of Congresses with a cast made up of Albanian excellency abroad and some of the most famous names of Albanian opera

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Embassy of Israel screens Aida’s Secrets for Holocaust Memorial Day

Embassy of Israel screens Aida’s Secrets for Holocaust Memorial Day

TIRANA, Jan. 23- The Embassy of the State of Israel, in collaboration with the Marubi Academy of Film and Multimedia, will screen Aida’s Secrets on Saturday, Jan. 27, on the occasion of the Holocaust memorial day. The movie screening will

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Tirana municipality inaugurates public library and communal centre

Tirana municipality inaugurates public library and communal centre

TIRANA, Jan. 23 – Tirana’s municipality turned an old book-storage into a modern, public library last week, as part of a series of investments focusing on education and literary knowledge. Citizens can now use the public space as a place

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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Feb. 1 - Karl Korab’s exhibition A Life by the Canvas at the Kalo Gallery will be one  of the first artistic exchanges in the context of the Albania-Austria artistic cooperation year. 

Karl Korab was born in 1937 in Austria, in the Falkenstein district, in a family of foresters. As a child, he experienced the horrors of World War II, the influence of which can be seen in his work even today.

He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna from 1957 to 1964, under the master Sergius Pauser. He was part of the then highly influential “Vienna School of Fantastic Realism”.

Right after the school, he focused on still life painting, characterized by a surreal-fantasist style, which gave him international recognition and major success at a young age.

Korab is now a renowned Austrian painter, who draws upon the tradition of post-impressionism, abstract art, or the New Objectivity movement.

His works include oil paintings, graphics, collages, screen printing and lithography, mainly still life, mask-like heads and landscapes, but also postage stamps, bottle labels and book illustrations.

Anastas Kostandini, Albanian renown artist, wrote that Korab’s way of conveying modesty, character, figures and moments is astonishing in its soft mystery and detailed manner, making it highly perceivable for the Albanian audience.

“The elegant canvases of KORAB, an artist whose recognition has gone beyond Austria’s borders, bring the interesting aesthetic of intimate interior which exists in his home country. The mirroring of the reality is realized through the elements of the general composition, simple in appearance, but complex and deep in content,” writes Kostandini. 

The current Kalo Gallery exhibition is a solid and dense cycle of paintings that enable the viewer to identify with the individuality of the artists.  

The transposition of nature into colors is achieved through a rich style, although simple, harmonic and with lots of hues and sensitivities regarding the content.

According to Kostandini, one can identify the thrill that emerges from objects that are often emphasized through the pieces, which appear as commingled in collages.

Korab’s mastery is also evident when it comes to detailed drawings, combined with geometric and architectural combinations.

Kostandini concludes his analysis of the Austrian master by drawing a comparison between his name and the name of the highest Albanian mountain, saying “we wish this meaningful coincidence be more than a simple a coincidence – a connecting bridge facilitating the mutual acquaintance and exchange of values of fine arts of our two countries”. 

This exhibition will remain open at the Kalo Gallery until Feb. 15.

 
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Feb. 1 - In context of the 2018 Albania-Austria cooperation year, attention will be given to cultural and scientific exchanges between the two countries.

The aim is to strengthen cultural ties and intensify intercultural exchange between Albania and Austria, as well as present culture affectionados and the wide public impulse to generate creative ideas and foster stable future cooperation.

Based on the motto Rediscovering Common Things, the focus is not simply to highlight the historic, cultural and artistic meeting points, but to also explore the aspects of the current friendship between the countries.

A scientific conference and a common exhibition at the grand hall of the National History Museum of historic pictures dating back in 1916-1918 and showing both the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Albanian state of the time inaugurated the series of activities that will culturally enrich 2018.

The calendar of activities announced by Minister of Culture Mirela Kumbaro and Austrian Ambassador in Albania Johann Sattler includes a range of events focused on music, history, opera, literature and even geography.

“The weapons of our national hero Gjergj Kastrioti Skëndërbe, saved in a museum in Vienna, seem to have served as good omens for the cultural revival of Albania to also be tied to Vienna’s empire of the 19th and 20th centuries,” Kumbaro said.

Ambassador Settler added it was no coincidence Albania was selected for this partnership, as the countries currently share a close political relation with an admirable past of cooperation in many fields.

More importantly, it is the project’s aim to mainly promote art, culture and contemporary innovations, thus paying more attention to young artists and scholars from Albania and Austria.

The calendar of activities thus aims at a very specific goal, which is creating a stable medium that will register the common perspective of the countries not by simply keeping the memory of those participating in this event, but also by providing an idea starting point for further cooperation.

All 60 activities will be supported by partnering organizations, such as the National Theatre of Opera and Ballet and the National History Museum, as well as famed soprano Inva Mula, who was the first to give a concert in Austria titled Tirana Salutes Vienna in Nov. 2017.

“It was a real presentation of Albanian art in Vienna and it will be repeated in the Palace of Congresses on Feb. 15, when Vienna will salute Albania,” Mula said.

Other than events such as a Viennese Ball or jazz concerts, a special place will be dedicated to literature activities through a program curated by Albanian author and translator Lindita Komani.

This program will include artistic exchanges among authors during which famed Austrian writers will visit Albania during the Austrian literature nights.
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Feb. 1 - The Venetian Pantakin Theatre Company will tour Albania this February with a mask show titled the Comic’s Mastery, starting from Tirana on Feb. 6 and continuing in Shkodra, Korça and Vlora in the following days. 

Thought as a journey in the colorful world of masks, the show - starring two homeless comedians and a sharlatan  - is directed by Michele Modesto Casarin. In charge of the masks is Stefano Perocco di Meduna, while the organization of the show is overseen by Emanuele Pasqualini. 

According to director Casarin, the actors’ play aims to make viewers see and experience one of the most interesting moments of Italian art: the comedy of art. These three costermongers will tell history tales, songs and jokes that will lead the public to the mysterious and romantic world of masks. 

On a fantastic journey through city streets, Dante’s Alichino devil will come straight from hell to be introduced with the public. On another corner, the public will see Dorotea expressing her torments of love. 

Such will be the characters that will introduce the world of masks through stories and tales, making the touring show a great match for both children and adults.

The show will come on the stage of the national experimental theater Kujtim Spahivogli in Tirana, the Petro Marko theatre in Vlora, the Migjeni theatre in Shkodra and the Doll Theatre of Korça. 

 
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                    [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_135591" align="alignright" width="300"]voskopoja Voskopoja church. Photo: Europa Nostra[/caption]

TIRANA, Jan. 30 - Albanian heritage experts have hailed the shortlisting of Gjirokastra and the post-Byzantine churches among Europe 12 most endangered sites as a good opportunity that could see them escape the threat if they make it to the final top seven list, but say the situation reconfirms the decades-long neglect to the country’s landmark cultural gems.

Architect Kliti Kallamata, the managing director of the Korça-based "Past for the Future” foundation that submitted the nomination for the Voskopoja and Vithkuq post-Byzantine churches, southeastern Albania,  blames decades-long neglect that the public administration has shown toward the monuments by carrying out only emergency interventions with no strategic multidisciplinary restoration project.

“These monuments face a lot of problems starting with moisture, the degradation of mural paintings, the static stabilization of complicated structures, the approach toward degraded and ruined architectural elements, lack of lighting and protection against theft and lots of other stuff,” says Kallamata, adding that the last interventions date back to the mid-1960s under communist just before Albania banned religion.

"The first and last serious intervention the government carried out in those monuments was in 1966 on the conservation of the arcade of St. Nicholas church as it risked collapsing following a 1960 earthquake,” Kallamata has said in an interview for a local media.

According to him, none of the post-Byzantine churches can be professionally considered safe.

"Even the intervention that has been made, despite the good intention to preserve values, was unprofessional and not based on scientific analysis because the people who designed the projects and implemented them were not real professionals in the conservation and restorations based on the monuments' requirements,” he says.

The architect says the government's recent project on restoring several post-Byzantine churches in Voskopoja has only carried out emergency intervention while lack of professionals specialized in fresco restoration is a key concern.

"That does not mean those interventions are final and the churches are now out of danger. The fact that all frescoes are in critical condition is a clear indication that the threat of damage or losing values is present and very big,” he says.

Protection against theft is another issue facing the Voskopoja and Vithkuq churches which have regularly fallen prey to robberies in the past decade.

“All 12 post-Byzantine churches we have selected to be involved in this European project are the most representative monuments of 17th and 18th century church art and masterpieces of the Post-Byzantine era (the Byzantine art that continued after the collapse of Byzantium and Ottoman occupation in the Balkans),” says Kallamata.

“The churches are the most authentic testimony to the extraordinary development of those two Christin centers (Voskopoja e Vithkuq) during the five centuries of the Ottoman occupation in the Balkans. The values of these churches go beyond Albania's borders and take special importance as values of Balkan and European history and art, but their condition is critical,” he adds.

The architect and restorer is optimistic making the final endangered list could save the churches.

“If the post-Byzantine Voskopoja and Vithkuq churches are included in Europe's 2018 seven most endangered programme, we will have the right assistance to conserve and restore them under contemporary professionalism and later introduce them to the public.”

Last year, the Albanian government launched a project to restore four remaining post-Byzantine churches in Voskopoja, a present-day village in southeastern Albania that used to be Albania’s most thriving 18th century town.

The Euro 2.8 million government-funded project involves the upgrade of road infrastructure and lighting as well as restoring the four remaining churches in a bid to turn Voskopoja into a year-round tourist destination.

Situated outside Korça, Voskopoja is said to have had a population of 40,000 to 50,000 in the 18th century, greater than Athens, Sofia or Belgrade at the time, with an estimated 10,000 to 12,000 buildings, including 26 churches, a hospital, an orphanage, a library, the only Greek printing press in the Balkans (1720), which published at least 19 religious works and the so-called New Academy.

In addition to interest because of historical and cultural heritage, Voskopoja turns into popular destination during winter when visitors go skiing and enjoy the local traditional dishes, the most famous of which the lakror pie.

The village is located just outside Korça, nicknamed “The small Paris of Albania” and the “City of serenades.”

The southeastern city of Korça has in the past couple of years had its old bazaar and medieval art museum restored making it more attractive to tourists.

Korça, also features a prehistoric museum, a national education museum where the first Albanian language school opened in 1878 and the Vangjush Mio house museum.

Korça is also known for its mountain and culinary tourism in the Dardhe and Boboshtice villages.

 

 Gjirokastra’s threat

[caption id="attachment_135592" align="alignright" width="300"]gjirokastra 2 Gjirokastra fortress[/caption]

The Forum on the Protection of Cultural Heritage, a watchdog bringing together activists, says the situation with Gjirokastra is alarming as identified by Europa Nostra's shortlist of 12 European heritage sites that also involves the southern Albanian town, a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2005.

"We hope that this approach by Europa Nostra and other reaction by local stakeholders (including our Forum) draws the attention of our heritage state bodies. We hope that the culture ministry comes out of its shell and becomes more cooperative with local and international stakeholders. We hold to our approach that cultural heritage needs another vision," the Forum says in a statement.

Inscribed on UNESCO as a rare example of an architectural character typical of the Ottoman period, Gjirokastra, situated in the Drinos river valley in southern Albania, features a series of outstanding two-story houses which were developed in the 17th century. The town also retains a bazaar, an 18th-century mosque and two churches of the same period. The 13th-century citadel provides the focal point of the town with its typical tower houses.

"The destruction of buildings in Gjirokastra is a never-ending process. The media often report on damage. The risk of collapse has never been bigger. The removal of 236 buildings from the list of second-category (publicly announced in February 2017) with no prior debate, but hiding it with an administration act which they call the announcement of second-category monuments is ominous news,” says the Forum.

“Instead of maintaining and restoring the buildings, the solution chosen is removing them from the list. In addition, Gjirokastra faces a new intentional man-made threat, the by-pass that seeks to stifle it like an ugly yoke," the Forum says.

Earlier this month, architect Besnik Aliaj also condemned the situation in Gjirokastra which is threatened by constant landslides, putting at risk the local landmark castle.

"The rock and soil beneath the Castle of Gjirokastra have collapsed! The situation is urgent! The 2006 study-survey predictions unfortunately, are proven by the dramatic situation created recently! It is time to unite the powers to save Gjirokastra," Aliaj recently wrote on social media.

Last year, UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee called on Albanian authorities to carefully examine plans on a bypass road in the southern city of Gjirokastra before proceeding with its implementation.

“The carrying capacity and scale of the Bypass Road project should be re-assessed as regard to the real need for transportation and to minimize its potential adverse impact on the integrity of the site,” said UNESCO in its 2017 State of Conservation Report.

The Gjirokastra Foundation that submitted the 'stone city's' application as one of the most endangered says the bypass will seriously damage the structural and visual integrity of the Centre, which is the essence of the outstanding value of the site. “Moreover, two vernacular buildings will be demolished," it adds.

Albanian experts say the bypass design project, already approved by the National Restoration Council, risks destroying part of the museum city of Gjirokastra and endangers the surrounding area.

In a petition to the country’s highest authorities last year, architects, academics and culture heritage specialists warned the proposed concrete modern structure would ruin the town’s late Middle Ages architecture and poses a threat to the local landmark castle.

Albanian archaeologist Moikom Zeqo has earlier said the bypass project also endangers the 13th century local landmark castle, already damaged by a late 2016 earthquake in Ioannina, neighbouring Greece, some 90 km off Gjirokastra.

Zeqo has warned it is categorically prohibited to intervene in the city’s historic center with modern time elements because of destroying the unity of the historic centre.

“This is also determined by law. We cannot intervene because of ruining what is known as the address of the city’s memory. This must not be allowed. It’s wrong,” says Zeqo, adding that the concrete work and its weight pose a severe threat to the already weak geological structure of the foundations where the castle and the city itself lie.

The government has insisted the project will further boost tourism in town by easing traffic and creating pedestrian zones.

Already 12 years under UNESCO protection, Gjirokastra is currently having its Çerçiz Topulli square and Bazaar Pass area rehabilitated.

Last year, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee also urged Albania to maintain the moratorium on new constructions within the property and buffer zones until the approval of integrated urban conservation and development tools for the protection and management of Gjirokasta and Berat, both of which inscribed on UNESCO as a rare example of an architectural character typical of the Ottoman period.

Because of illegal construction posing a threat to place Gjirokastra on the List of World Heritage in Danger, Albania authorities imposed a moratorium on construction in October 2013.
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Jan. 30 - The UNESCO World Heritage site of Gjirokastra and the post-Byzantine churches of Voskopoja and Vithkuq in southern and south-eastern Albania have been shortlisted as 12 European heritage sites for the 2018 seven most endangered programme for their outstanding heritage and cultural value as well as the imminent danger that they are facing.

The two Albanian heritage landmarks were shortlisted by Europa Nostra, a leading European heritage organization and the European Investment Bank Institute, part of the European Union's nonprofit long-term lending institution, on a shortlist that also involves historic sites in Austria, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Turkey and the United Kingdom. However, it will be only seven selected sites, due to be unveiled on March 15, that will receive support by Europa Nostra and the EIB Institute by mobilizing public and private partners at all levels to find a viable future for these heritage gems.

“This shortlist is, first and foremost, a call to action. We urge public and private stakeholders at local, national and European levels to join forces to rescue the heritage gems which tell our shared story and which must be saved for future generations,” said Denis de Kergorlay, the executive president of Netherlands-based Europa Nostra.

Francisco de Paula Coelho, the dean of the European Investment Bank Institute, said saving the 12 sites will not only benefit the cultural heritage monuments, but also generate socio-economic benefits at the local, regional and national levels.

“Well prepared and well implemented investment in cultural heritage pays off in terms of social, economic and cultural development, and it is important to spread this message during the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018”, he said as quoted in a statement by Europa Nostra.

This year’s shortlist corresponds to the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018, celebrating diverse cultural heritage across the European Union under the slogan “Our heritage: where the past meets the future.”

 

Historic centre of Gjirokastra

“The city of Gjirokastra is situated in the Drino valley, the richest archaeological area in Albania, dating back to the middle Bronze Age. The Historic Centre of Gjirokastra has been inscribed on the World Heritage List since 2005. It includes several types of constructions, such as social and public buildings, places of worship and residences, all harmoniously composed in an outstanding historical urban landscape. The core of the Centre is the old bazaar with shops found in parallel lines, representing an urban character typical of the 17th and 18th-centuries. Out of 615 monuments located in the Historic Centre, more than half are subjected to illegal or out of context constructions, while 169 are in critical condition or at risk of collapse. Moreover, a controversial Bypass Road project has recently been approved by the national and local authorities. This development will seriously damage the structural and visual integrity of the Centre, which is the essence of its outstanding value. The Gjirokastra Foundation made the nomination for the 7 Most Endangered programme 2018. (Description made on Europa Nostra list)

 

Post-Byzantine churches in Voskopoja and Vithkuq

A number of Post-Byzantine churches in Voskopoja and Vithkuq, situated in southeastern Albania, are the most representative monuments of 17th-18th century ecclesiastical art in the Balkans and are masterpieces of the post-Byzantine style. War, plundering and natural disasters have seriously damaged this group of 12 churches. The surrounding Christian population has greatly declined and a subsequent lack of clergy has resulted in the majority of the churches remaining unused for most of the year. The main threat now is the total negligence by those administratively responsible for the churches at the national level, namely the Institute of Cultural Monuments. The listed Church of Saint George in Voskopoja, which won a Europa Nostra Award in 2011 for its outstanding conservation, faces the threat of theft and highlights the urgency with which these remarkable churches need to be protected. The nomination for the 7 Most Endangered programme 2018 was submitted by “The Past for the Future” Foundation. (Description made on Europa Nostra list)
                    [post_title] => Gjirokastra, post-Byzantine churches shortlisted for Europe’s most endangered sites 
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Jan. 24 - Kalo Gallery inaugurated this week a contemporary art exhibition titled Fragility. 

Open until Feb. 11, Fragility will display artworks from the gallery’s collection, including paintings and sculptures from Albanian and foreign artists such as Bashkim Ahmeti, Natasha Bega, Lumturi Blloshmi, Ingrid Brandstatter, etc. 

Human figure remains in the centre of art for its beauty and fragility. The hidden of the human figure - nudity - became a very important theme for artists of all eras to explore.

Nude paintings and sculptures, depicted or sculpted in various poses, have expressed emotions, thus forming their own subject, just as landscapes and still life do. 

However, nudity does not copy nature, but rather seen raw and transformed by the artist into an aesthetic object, usually without commercial or decorative background. 

Thus, artists contribute their artistic notion by reflecting sexuality on canvas, and through their perception of nude models’ eroticism.

Interestingly, nude art is mainly dominated by women models. Female artists had difficulty in painting male nude models.

It is in Kalo’s Gallery artistic ideology to consider nude art as an inseparable part of general art and is so in possession of a good number of nude paintings and sculptures of various sizes, styles and techniques, created by artists from all age groups and nationalities that are worth sharing with the public in this eye-opening, thought provoking and aesthetically satisfying exhibition that is a novelty in its kind. 

 
                    [post_title] => Fragility explores the aesthetic side of nudity 
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Jan. 24 - The German Embassy in cooperation with the Symphonic Orchestra of the Albanian Radio-Television (ART) will host a free-entry concert with conductor Mateusz Moleda and soloist Marin Gjollma on Friday, Jan. 26. 

Moleda comes from Germany, while Gjollma has also studied and worked as a soloist in Germany for a long time.

Programmed are piano and orchestra compositions from Mendelssohn Bartholdy, Beethoven and Schumann. 

Born and raised in Germany’s Dresden, Moleda is one of the most interesting young conductors. Having studied in Hannover, he has toured more than 25 world stages, including South America and Asia. 

His symphonic repertoire includes a wide variety of musical pieces from all styles and time periods. 

“He is concentrated and led by purpose, soothes the stresses, attracts the rhythm, highlights orchestral distinctions…” the Bavarian radio station BR-Klassik said about Moleda back in 2016.

Gjollma is an equally acclaimed pianist, having studied and graduated with excellent results both in Albania and Germany. 

Gjollma has given piano concerts to a variety of international scenes in collaboration with some of the most famous artists, while he is now teaching at Tirana’s University of Arts.

“The Albanian pianist Marin Gjollma has deeply impressed me through his artistic play and technical perfection. It is quite thrilling, that Albania has a pianist of a high, European level,” prof. Paul Badura-Skoda, Austrian pianist and musician, has said about Gjollma.

The symphonic concert will take place at the big hall of Tirana’s Art Academy at 7pm.

 
                    [post_title] => Free piano concert brings German classics at Tirana’s Academy of Arts 
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Jan. 24 - Starting Jan. 30, the internationally acclaimed opera Carmen will come on stage at the Palace of Congresses with a cast made up of Albanian excellency abroad and some of the most famous names of Albanian opera music.

With Ricardo Casero as conductor, Gëzim Myshketa as director, Vikena Kamenica and Giancarlo Monsalve in the lead, famed ballet-dancers Anbeta Toromani and Alessandro Macario on stage, Gheorghe Iancu choreographing and a special appearance by Albanian icon Tinka Kurti, this cultural event taking place until Feb. 3 is not to be missed.

Mysketa has been valued from lyrical music experts as one of the most interesting affirmed talents of his generation. He got his Masters degree in Milan’s La Scala Academy and has won a number of local and international awards.

Though he has starred as a lyrical singer in many international opera productions, this is his first time directing an opera as famed as Carmen.

Casero, on the other hand, is making a comeback as a conductor for Carmen. Head of Kingdom of Aragon Orchestra, in Spain, Casero has collaborated with acclaimed soloists such as Maxim Vengerov, Sarah Chang and Natalia Gutman. 

In addition, Casero is the lead conductor of Master Symphony Orchestra since 2007.

“An expressive hand and perfect control over speed and volume were the distinct features in Casero’s rendition of the New World Symphony,” the Levante-EMV newspaper wrote back in 2012. 

A special inclusion in Carmen’s cast will be choreographer Iancu. 

Iancu was born in Romania’s capital, Bucharest, where he graduated the National Art Academy after nine years of studying. He perfected his calling during his work with master Semyonov at Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre and other equally important names. 

In 1990, Iancu established his own ballet company, named Fabula Saltica, with which he has put original and other productions on stage.

Though also a masterful dancer, Iancu is being increasingly recognized for his skill in choreography, his use of spaces and different styles. 

Iancu’s greatest achievement to date has been staging Swan Lake in Bucharest National Opera Theatre in April, 2008. The National Opera is were Iancu kick-started his career and where he’d been absent for 32 years. 

Toromani, Albanian ballerina who mastered her craft in Azerbaijan, will be returning on the Albanian stage after 16 years of absence. Toromani has been living in Italy since 2003, and has received a number of awards, including the Gino Tani Award in 2004 and the Danza & Danza Award in 2005. 

The opera will premier at 7 pm on Tuesday, and tickets can be purchased both online and on location. 

 
                    [post_title] => Carmen to open National Opera and Ballet Theatre season 
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Jan. 23- The Embassy of the State of Israel, in collaboration with the Marubi Academy of Film and Multimedia, will screen Aida’s Secrets on Saturday, Jan. 27, on the occasion of the Holocaust memorial day. 

The movie screening will take place at 7 pm and will be followed by a reception at the academy’s premises. 

Aida’s Secret is a 2016 documentary directed by Alon and Shaul Schwarz. The documentary follows a man’s late-in-life search of his brother, from whom he was separated as a child during at a displaced persons camp after WWII. 

Relevant on many levels, this documentary is a reminder of both the trauma and lasting consequences the Holocaust had on people’s lives and of how life changing the refugee experience is, even nowadays.

The Toronto Star rated the documentary as “spellbinding. A complex saga of intrigue, secrets, lies and tearful reunions.”

Meanwhile, remembrance ceremonies of the Holocaust are an annual event in Albania, as a country that hid and refused to hand over Jews during WWII.

The day marks the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland, the largest Nazi death camp, on Jan. 27, 1945.

 
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, Jan. 23 - Tirana’s municipality turned an old book-storage into a modern, public library last week, as part of a series of investments focusing on education and literary knowledge. 

Citizens can now use the public space as a place to read, as well as a communal center that can host cultural and social activities. 

Tirana’s Mayor Erion Veliaj said the quality work done on the library surpassed everyone’s expectations and that he aims to enrich every Tirana neighborhood with similar projects. 

“We kick-started 2018 with a modern library that has set an example of what a quality communal public space means,” Veliaj said during the Musine Kokalari library. 

He added that although it is important for the center of Tirana to have iconic public spaces that can host national events, it is just as important for Tirana’s neighborhoods to display a similar level of innovation and architectural quality. 

According to Veliaj, investing in culture and education is the best way to bring the youth outside of Tirana’s crowded coffee-shops and bars and closer to books and knowledge. 

“We have begun our action of offense against gambling and betting centers, we are a step ahead, but we still haven’t won the battle. For this reason we must engage in a year full of similar investments,” Veliaj added. 

Tirana’s municipality called on citizens and public donors to contribute to the library’s functionality by donating books and relevant material whenever possible. Representatives said the library - and all libraries to be built in the future - is not the municipality’s monopoly, and that the entire community’s care and attention is necessary for its preservation and beneficial use.

 
                    [post_title] => Tirana municipality inaugurates public library and communal centre
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            [post_content] => TIRANA, Feb. 1 - Karl Korab’s exhibition A Life by the Canvas at the Kalo Gallery will be one  of the first artistic exchanges in the context of the Albania-Austria artistic cooperation year. 

Karl Korab was born in 1937 in Austria, in the Falkenstein district, in a family of foresters. As a child, he experienced the horrors of World War II, the influence of which can be seen in his work even today.

He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna from 1957 to 1964, under the master Sergius Pauser. He was part of the then highly influential “Vienna School of Fantastic Realism”.

Right after the school, he focused on still life painting, characterized by a surreal-fantasist style, which gave him international recognition and major success at a young age.

Korab is now a renowned Austrian painter, who draws upon the tradition of post-impressionism, abstract art, or the New Objectivity movement.

His works include oil paintings, graphics, collages, screen printing and lithography, mainly still life, mask-like heads and landscapes, but also postage stamps, bottle labels and book illustrations.

Anastas Kostandini, Albanian renown artist, wrote that Korab’s way of conveying modesty, character, figures and moments is astonishing in its soft mystery and detailed manner, making it highly perceivable for the Albanian audience.

“The elegant canvases of KORAB, an artist whose recognition has gone beyond Austria’s borders, bring the interesting aesthetic of intimate interior which exists in his home country. The mirroring of the reality is realized through the elements of the general composition, simple in appearance, but complex and deep in content,” writes Kostandini. 

The current Kalo Gallery exhibition is a solid and dense cycle of paintings that enable the viewer to identify with the individuality of the artists.  

The transposition of nature into colors is achieved through a rich style, although simple, harmonic and with lots of hues and sensitivities regarding the content.

According to Kostandini, one can identify the thrill that emerges from objects that are often emphasized through the pieces, which appear as commingled in collages.

Korab’s mastery is also evident when it comes to detailed drawings, combined with geometric and architectural combinations.

Kostandini concludes his analysis of the Austrian master by drawing a comparison between his name and the name of the highest Albanian mountain, saying “we wish this meaningful coincidence be more than a simple a coincidence – a connecting bridge facilitating the mutual acquaintance and exchange of values of fine arts of our two countries”. 

This exhibition will remain open at the Kalo Gallery until Feb. 15.

 
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