Premiere of Children's Opera ‘CHILDREN'S ROOM’ at 53rd BEMUS

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On the programme of the 53rd BEMUS, on November 12 and 13, starting at 8 p.m., the children’s opera of composer Milenko Živković based on the text by Desanka Maksimović will be premiered at ‘Duško Radović’ Little Theatre.  

‘Children's Room’ is the first children's opera written in classical opera form in Serbia. It was performed back in February 1941. Created by two greats of Serbian art, this opera, a work of unique values, is an indicator of advanced thinking and high development of the Serbian art scene, which in the first half of the 20th century kept pace with the most modern artistic aspirations in Europe.

This year marks the 120th anniversary of the birth of Milenko Živković, whose significance and work have been unjustly neglected in our environment, and the 53rd BEMUS performance of ‘Children's Room’ will be a reminder of his immeasurable contribution to music and performing arts in Serbia.

The opera is based on the short story of the same name, by Serbian writer Desanka Maksimović, and represents not only the first steps of the composer's practice aimed at the youngest audience in Serbia in the fourth decade of the 20th century, but also a real pearl of Milenko Živković's opus and Serbian cultural heritage.

Conceived almost as a ‘didactic tool’ composed of shorter musical and stage images, this work is an ideal way to introduce the youngest audience to the world of opera. A series of interesting images treats everyday topics from the life of a family from the point of view of parents, but also from the point of view of children, with a step into a somewhat phantasmagoric world, as expected when it comes to children. Four children oppose boring daily rituals and parental demands. Their inexhaustible desire to play leads them to the forest world of dwarves and animals, where song and dance reign. The penetration of fairy tales into reality, and children's play that opposes the imposed, lead to thinking about how much play and freedom are present in everyday life, as well as how to bring traditional values closer to children in an attractive and fun way.

The idea for the reconstruction and performance of this work came from the ‘Opera: Past, Present, Perfect!’ project, which is realized by MOTO Music-Opera-Theatre Organization and ‘Duško Radović’ Little Theatre under the auspices of Creative Europe. The project aims to connect and improve young opera artists, promote opera and create new audiences, with the dedicated work of young educated singers, directors, conductors, instrumentalists, set designers, choreographers, and under the mentorship of well-known artists. The performance also includes a children's choir, which is the pride of the entire ensemble. In this way, the project will contribute to the development of Serbian opera through the creative power of the new generation of opera artists and their youthful energy, which, with a modern approach, will educate new audiences and restore the splendor of opera in Serbia.      

The opera lasts about 40 minutes and is intended for children from four years old to older primary school age.


Composer: Milenko Živković

Libretto: Desanka Maksimović

Conductor: Milan Nedeljković

Directors: Natalija Stanković and Mateja Đedović / Mentor: Boris Liješević

Youth Ballet Company of the Belgrade Dance Institute / Choreographers: Mila

Stijak and Ana Bošković

Choir of the Children's Belgrade Cultural Centre: ’Naći svoju zvezdu’ / Conductor: Snežana


Soloists of the ‘Dr Vojislav Vučković’ Music School / Class of Prof. Maja Đokić

The roles are interpreted by the participants of the ‘Opera: Past, Present, Perfect!’ project

Mom: Biljana Jovanović

Dad: Boris Papak

First Child: Olivera Krivokuća

Second Child: Isidora Bogdanović

Third Child: Sara Ristić

Fourth Child: Mina Nikolić

Orchestra: participants of the ‘Opera: Past, Present, Perfect!’ project and professional musicians



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