Rame Lahaj: Even if there are contemporary modifications to productions, the beauty of opera is that you perform live, bringing true emotions to the audience.

Born in Kosovar, Rame Lahaj is well known for regularly performing in the most prestigious opera houses in the world. Among his notable roles are Alfredo (La Traviata), Duke of Mantua (Rigoletto), Rodoldo (La Bohème). Music was an inner desire to explore new things, so he decided to meet the first-ever music coach, who told him that he had a very unique voice but he was discouraged of the late start. Lahaj’s first debut was the role of Alfredo (La Traviata) in the Eutin Festspiele 2010, where he first experienced the stage and learned that he belongs in the world of opera. Lahaj spent the first decade of his worldwide career performing in the most famous theaters. The “Rame Lahaj International Opera Festival” originated out of the need to create a bridge between the Kosovar and international scene. Knowing that Kosovo and the region are rich in talent, such an endeavor was a must, resulting from close collaboration between the Municipality of Prishtina, the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Swiss embassy, and the Kosovo Philharmonic. All of the afore mentioned helped to lay the foundation for the 2019 concert “Rame Lahaj & Friends” with the intention of developing it into a Festival and Foundation with a focus on young artists, art, and culture in general. But most importantly, to promote Kosovo and its artists in the international arena.

Dear Rame, thank you very much for accepting our invitation! How’s it going? Where do my questions find you? And how are you feeling about the 2nd edition of your International Festival? How are the preparations going?

Thank you for having me. I am now back in my homeland, as we are few days away from launching the second edition of RLIOF. Things are going well for us this year as culture and art are no longer subject to the constraints that we have seen in the last 2/3 years. We have prepared a unique program for this edition, and I am very much looking forward to sharing these special moments with everyone who joins us this summer.

Tell us about the program of the 2022 edition of the Rame Lahaj International Opera Festival and about your guests.

This edition of the RLIOF festival is of the highest caliber, because we are bringing numerous international singers to Prishtina’s main square. To be more concrete, the Gala evening “Rame Lahaj & Friends” features a Special Guest Star, soprano Angela Gheorghiu, one of the most passionate and talented vocal artists in opera today, with whom I have shared the stage several times. She is a wonderful friend and a dear colleague. I am looking forward to welcoming her to Prishtina; this will be her first visit to Kosovo. Other international artists who are joining the Gala are dear friends of the festival: Franko Vasallo, Jean Bernard Thomas, Erza Muqolli, Anna Bondarenko, and Ocarina Choir, uniting with the Kosovo Philharmonic conducted by Valerio Galli.

Read the entire interview here, in the 5th/2022 issue of OPERA Charm Magazine.


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