Tartu's Vanemuine Theater opened its 154th season with an extravaganza, as both new and old faces were honored.
The theater's new director, Aivar Mäe, formerly Põhja-Pärnumaa Rural Municipality elder, started work on Tuesday.
Over a dozen more people started their first season at the iconic theater in central Tartu, several of them internationals.
The latter are: Ballet dancers Akihito Shimogata (Japan) Hodaka Maruyama (Japan), Gustavo Pedro Lima Da Silva (Brazil), Sarah Ross (Australia), Sofia Zaman (U.K.), Vladyslav Kalys (Ukraine) and Andrea Mathilde Østvik Johnson (Norway), plus pianist Tommaso Maganzani joined Vanemuise's ballet troupe.
Meanwhile choir artist Diana Silova joined the Vanemuine Opera Choir; cellist Ernests Cirulis and first violin Eva Aarnis joined the orchestra.
Assistant manager Mariann Rei started working alongside Mäe, while Eleri Helimets became coordinator of the music department.
The veterans who have been honored are: Ballet director Mare Tommingas, drama actor Aivar Tommingas, second violinist and orchestrator Sirli Laanesaar and stage master Kalev Helmoja, all of whom have dedicated 45 years of their working lives to the Vanemuine Theater.
Dresser Kai Vahter is not far behind, and is marking her 40th work anniversary.
Opera choir artist Kaja Ilmjärv and dramatic actor Merle Jääger mark 35 years with the theater, Edith Ütt, bassoonist and concert master, trombonist Kulvo Tamra and second assistant concertmaster Rain Kotov are all celebrating 30 years at Vanemuine, while choir artist Siiri Koodresel has been with the theater for 25 years now.
To mark the events, director Ain Mäeots put on a stage program that combined the three genres the theater produces.
At an opening meeting, the theater's creative directors also provided an overview of the upcoming season's new productions and concerts. Speakers were drama director Tiit Palu, ballet director Mare Tommingas and music director Risto Joost.
For its 154th season, 13 new productions are set to premiere: Seven drama productions, four music and ballet productions and two productions for children.
The musical "Hüljatud" ("Abandoned") and the ballet production "Romeo and Juliet" will be making a return to the stage also.
Colleagues who over the spring and summer break had graduated from higher education, welcomed a new baby or marked some other significant event were also congratulated.
Editor: Karmen Rebane, Andrew Whyte
Source: ERR Kultuur