Speaking to Lusa, the artistic director of Operafest, Catarina Molder, highlighted that the festival, taking place in the gardens of the National Museum for Ancient Art, continues to attract new people to opera and that it’s “a gallery of new talents.”

This year, people will be able to buy opera raffles, gaining them access to 10 minutes of opera in their house or workplace.

Speaking of the theme chosen, “Between Heaven and Hell”, Molder elaborated that its meaning is “between the deepest pleasures and fears, there exists a transversal question, of the feminine condition, of atonement and of feminine guilt, that’s as if it atoned for all evils in the world, and also the fight for women’s rights and emancipation.”

“This year, instead of one great classic, we have three great classics, starting right off with Bizet’s ‘Carmen’, and a great classic for the public of the future, Mozart’s ‘The Magic Flute’, in Alexandre Delgado’s Portuguese version – here we gather the power of a great classic for opera to reach new people,” announced the artistic director, adding that the third classic is “Angelic Sweat” by Puccini.

Afterwards, we have the debut, on the 26th of August, of “Rigor Mortis”, by Francisco Lima da Silva, an adaptation of the tale “Mortuary”, by Domingos Monteiro, starring Catarina Molder. The show will return to the scene the next day.

“The Magic Flute”, by Mozart, under the musical direction of maestro Tiago Oliveira, climbs the stage on the 2nd, 3rd and 5th of September, at 9pm all days.

Molder emphasised that the debut in Portugal of half-soprano “on the rising, a very interesting artist,” German Kristina Stanek, in “Cármen”, that’ll be in theatre on the 18th, 19th, 21st, 23rd, and 25th of August.

This production, under the musical direction of Luso-Polish maestro Jan Wierzba, marks the opera debut of film and play actor Tónan Quito

One of the novelties this year is the Cine-Opera cycle, presented at Cinemateca Portuguesa, also in Lisbon, that highlights “the contagions and vocations between cinema and opera.”

“I usually say that cinema came after opera,” Catarina Molder admitted, who pointed out the composer Richard Wagner as the creator of the concept of the orchestra.

This cycle interacts with the operatic programme, presenting films such as “The Magic Flute” (1975) by Ingmar Bergman, “The Cannibals” (1988) by Manoel de Oliveira, “which created a new paradigm, it was the first time a great director created an opera that could only be seen in film.”

On the year of the 100th anniversary of the birth of soprano Maria Callas (1923-1977), there’ll also be a showing of the documentary “Maria by Callas” (2017), by Tom Volf.

Maria Callas, who “made lyrical song more universal than opera, who even today pulls people to opera,” is the theme of a conference by musicologist Rui Vieira Nery, on the 7th of September.

Another part of this cycle is the project “Lyrical Machine”, singing classes for amateurs, that happens on the 26th and 27th of August at the Guilherme Cossoul Instruction Society.

As part of the “Satellite Opera” cycle, Gustavo Sumpta’s performance “Occult Forces” will be presented on the 1st of September at the Roman Theatre.

Also in this cycle, Inês Thomas Almeida teaches a free course, named “Discovering Opera”, on the 4th and 6th of September.

The “Opera Marathon XXI”, with the title “Today’s Great Opera Singers”, is going on on the 6th of September, at Belém Cultural Centre.

Operafest is closed on September 9th, from 10pm, like traditionally, with an “operatic rave” in the gardens of the National Museum for Old Arts.