Interview with the finalist of the 5-Minute Opera Competition: Juan María Solare


1. Where and how did you find out about the 5 Minutes Opera Competition?

In the wonderful website www.composerssite.com, possibly the best webpage devoted to interconnecting composers, performers and organizers.


2. Did you have any previous knowledge about Music Biennale Zagreb?

Yes, and I looked at the Music Biennale Zagreb as kids look at those things that they might never reach.


3. Did you have any previous experience in composing for stage?

Yes, albeit in a different way: I composed quite a few episodes of "new music theater" in the line of Mauricio Kagel (with whom I studied in Cologne). My previous chamber opera (composed already in 1993) has been never performed, so I gathered experience through composing it, but not in staging it. Incidentally: during three years I also conducted an ensemble devoted to New Music Theater at the university of Bremen, Germany.


4. What kind of challenge was it for you to compose a 5 minute opera?

We, human being, keep fresh and alive by doing things we have never done before. In my case, the challenge had two facets: to compress and develop a coherent story in a few minutes, and to compose a music piece that would be part of a whole. Because, in a certain way, this will be a collective composition: a "blind date" with other nine composers; therefore my work should be able to fit into any possible aesthetic context - without forgetting my own aesthetic. If you look at the frame conditions in this way, in a pragmatic way, the set of constraints is so concrete and specific, that is immediately inspiring.


5. Have you ever been in Croatia and do you plan to come to Zagreb to the premiere of your piece?

Yes and yes. I was (albeit on vacation) in summer 2013 in Pula, Zadar and Rovinj, possibly my favourite Croatian city. To this, I must add that one of the legendary figures of music education in my birth country Argentina, Ljerko Spiller, was born in Crikvenica. He was one of my earliest and everlasting musical influences. And I am burning inside to be at the rehearsals and premiere of my chamber opera buffa. Opera as a genre splits tastes: for some persons, opera is their main and only concern in music; for others, opera is absolutely indifferent and leave them cool. In the end, it is a question of love.