New Year’s Eve celebrations began early in Zagreb, with gorgeous warm weather, champagne, and buzzing Christmas markets. I spent the evening at the National Theatre, enjoying a performance of Die Fledermaus.
The madcap comic operetta is by Viennese composer Johann Strauss II. The farcical production, also known as The Bat or Šišmiš in Croatian, is popular for New Year’s celebrations all over the world, especially in Vienna. The Zagreb presentation was fantastic, with every seat in the house sold-out.
As a solo traveler, for me, music and the opera are a perfect New Year’s Eve celebration. Music from Die Fledermaus is my favorite, and the Philharmonic and opera singers gave exceptional performances!
I packed a fun dress for special evening occasions like New Year’s Eve, but the weather was a bit too cold for it – unless you’re lucky enough to be chauffeured to and from the opera. Accessorized black pants and a sweater with the prerequisite pair of combat boots :o) is always in style…
Sadly, it’s my last concert at the beautiful National Theatre – at least for the time being. After the opera, I walked to Ban Jelačić Square and joined thousands of revelers waiting for the 2023 countdown. I took a few photos before the crowd got too hectic. In accordance with a “no fireworks initiative,” there were no pyrotechnics this year, but I heard firecrackers throughout central Zagreb…
“This year, many Croatian cities gave up fireworks for their New Year celebration. The praise-worthy no fireworks initiative supports the health and wellness of pets and animals by using alternative means of spreading cheer and joy. Zagreb will welcome the New Year with colourful confetti, visual effects, and a rich musical program at Ban Josip Jelačić Square.” Katarina Anđelković www.total-croatia-news.com
Kuna to Euro January 2023
This New Year’s Eve is special, with Croatia officially joining the Euro Zone and European Union Schengen countries. In January 2023, the Euro replaces the Kuna as Croatia’s currency. The transition is causing a bit of chaos. Locals told me that Croatia’s neighbor, Slovenia, successfully made the transition to the Euro, but it took a few years to complete in full.
“Staged in Vienna on New Year’s Eve 1899, the quintessential Viennese comic operetta, Die Fledermaus, deals with a philandering husband, a resourceful wife, a gala concert, fun-loving maid, mistaken identities, disguises, and a watch!” wwfm.org
Die Fledermaus Synopsis
These are links to a synopsis of the far-fetched three-act operetta and a brief video description of the characters. First performed in Vienna, Strauss’s work became “immensely popular in Europe” and was praised by composers and artists alike. The “German libretto was written by Richard Genée and Karl Haffner. Die Fledermaus is based on the farce, The Prison by Julius Roderich Benedix, and the vaudeville play, Le Réveillon, by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy”. Through mistaken identities and practical jokes, the Bat gets revenge.
In the finale, Falke enters with the guests from Prince Orlovsky’s party and explains that the whole thing was payback for Eisenstein’s practical joke on him three years before.
Schemes of the characters “cleverly intertwine at a grand New Year’s Eve ball — with plenty of waltzing, of course — and end up in prison where Champagne is blamed for all”. artcenter.org
Cast and Opera Singers
The main cast of the memorable performance includes:
- Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra
- Conductor – Srboljub Dinić
- Director – Krešimir Dolenčić
- Gabriel von Eisenstein – Domagoj Dorotić Tenor
- Rosalinda von Eisenstein – Lana Kos Soprano
- Adele Rosalinda’s Maid – Darija Auguštan Soprano
- Dr. Falke Eisenstein’s Friend – Ljubomir Puškarić Baritone
- Russian Prince Orlovsky – Renata Pokupić Mezzo-Soprano
- Frank Prison Warden – Ozren Bilušić Baritone
- Dr. Blind Eisenstein’s Lawyer – Nikša Radovanović Tenor
- Alfredo Tenor and Rosalinda’s Lover – Filip Filipović Tenor
- Ida Adele’s Sister – Josipa Bilić Soprano
Travel 2022 Into 2023 – Vietnam to Morocco
My two-month respite in Zagreb has been educational and fun, but a new travel adventure is calling. Emerging yourself in a foreign culture has immeasurable benefits that must be experienced firsthand to be understood. It’s all about forgetting yourself and blending with the environment.
Solo travel helps develop self-reliance, tolerance, humility, and a realistic appreciation and understanding that every country in the world has unique challenges and different ways of looking at life. This is something often forgotten when remaining in a familiar comfort zone. Croats are unique, and their history and heritage is deep and complex. My life was enriched by spending time here.
Hanoi Vietnam was the starting point of my 2022 travels. I arrived in August, during the steaming heat of summer. Twelve years ago, I vaguely recall spending New Year’s Eve 2011 in Hanoi – time flies!
My next post will be from Essaouira Morocco. In every way, it’s a completely different world – climate, food, religion. The weather will be warm but not too hot – in the 70s / 21 Celsius – and I’m anxious to feel Essaouira’s sun on my face and experience Morocco’s diversity. A mix of European, Arabian, and Berber influence and cultures, Morocco’s mysterious desert, beautiful beaches, and Maghrebi cuisine are awaiting!