By celebrating the great names of Serbian science, through art and culture, Novi Sad became the European Capital of Culture last night. More than 400 artists from Serbia and Europe, through Doček – a singular artistic celebration in Europe, reached zenith together with the audience, showing just how the heritage of those that influenced not just Europe but the whole world – Mileva Marić Einstein, Milutin Milanković, Dragiša Brašovan and Ljubomir Micić, should be kept and promoted.
A unique and extraordinary celebration ‘Zeniteum :: 2022’, directed by Dragan Živadinov, marked the opening ceremony with popular duo Synspecies coming out on stage at 20:22, whose audio-visual performance Crevasse depicted the myth about creation. After that, host Lazar Jovanov gave a toast together with the citizens of Novi Sad and numerous guests from Europe.
The highlight of the opening ceremony last night was embodied in two characters – Milutin Milanković played by Boris Isaković and Mileva Marić Einstein played by Anita Mančić, with 22 actors, 22 singers, ballet dancers, acrobats, solo trumpeters Laura Vukobratović and Nenad Marković, and the entire brass band. Dragana Jovanović composed the music that contributed to the whole audio-visual experience and that was adapted specifically for that kind of spectacle. DJs Miloš Martinov Lag and Dejan Ilić added to the whole thing. The play ‘Zeniteum :: 2022’ is a multimedia event through which Slovenian director Dragan Živadinov, in his own unique way, defined Novi Sad’s place on the cultural map of Europe.
At that grand moment, Novi Sad was greeted by astronauts from the International Space Station, Anton Shkaplerov, Pyotr Dubrov and Matthias Maurer.
The great unusual exhibition ‘Time and Universe’ was ceremoniously opened in the hall of Studio M, by Dušan Jovović, PhD, and professor Aleksandar Petrović, PhD. Conceived as a journey from darkness to light, from chaos to space, and framed by the story of the great world scientist, Milutin Milanković, the exhibition deals with the concept of time through the centuries, as well as the relationship between man, time and science. As the thematic backbone of the exhibition, the authors used the character and work of a famous scientist who, as an academician and a university professor, found himself successful in a number of scientific disciplines. The exhibition will be open to visitors during the entire 2022.
People were able to watch a live broadcast of the Novi Sad European Capital of Culture Proclamation Ceremony held in the Serbian National Theatre on the Second Channel of the Radio Television of Serbia and the First Channel of the Radio Television of Vojvodina. Everyone present was addressed by the Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel, via video, mayor of Novi Sad, Miloš Vučević, His Excellency Ambassador and Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Serbia, Emanuele Giaufret, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Culture and Information, Maja Gojković, and Prime Minister of Serbia, Ana Brnabić.
After that, concerts were held throughout Novi Sad in various, unusual locations, strictly adhering to epidemiological measures.
‘Slava’ in cultural stations on 14 and 15 January
After the opening ceremony of the European Capital of Culture, the celebration continues on 14 and 15 January across cultural stations. With the programme titled ‘Slava’, audiences will symbolically reflect on the traditional Serbian ‘slava’, the first cultural heritage to enter UNESCO’s register of intangible cultural goods. Cultural stations will mark the old tradition in a new way – with choir and tamburitza music, as well as a photography exhibition by the world-renowned graphic designer Pavel Surovi. The exhibition will be open to visitors until 5 January.
Nurturing the original form of slava, the event will begin with the rite of consecration of wheat, cutting ritual bread and prayer, on 14 January at 7 p.m. The ritual is accompanied by the programme of church choirs that will, by performing troparions, give the ambience a special solemn charm and spiritual dimension.
All the present guests will experience the traditional feast, followed by an indispensable music programme. Eight tamburitza orchestras will present the rich music and tamburitza heritage of all peoples of Vojvodina, interpreting folk and old music songs typical of this area. The programme continues on 15 January as well, and the entry is free of charge.
The whole programme, timeline, and details of slava can be found on the cultural stations’ website. The partner in the ‘Slava’ project is IDEA.
The novelty is that from now on, via the Viber app, all those interested in the European Capital of Culture programmes can keep up with them within the Viber community Visit Novi Sad. They can also download the European Capital of Culture Viber stickers.
Throughout 2022, Novi Sad will present itself as the European Capital of Culture with more than 1500 cultural events, and 4000 local, national, and international artists that will participate in them. The detailed programme can be found on the official website of Novi Sad – the European Capital of Culture.
Photo: V. Veličković, M. Pudić, M. Milenković