Macedonia Culture

By | September 27, 2021


Archaeological excavations have confirmed that on the territory of ancient Macedonia there were some Byzantine theaters, which demonstrate the passion for theatrical culture typical of the late Empire. During the Middle Ages, the position of the Macedonian Orthodox Church did not allow the free development of theatrical performances, considered an expression not suited to religious sentiment, while in the long centuries of Ottoman domination forms of theater of Turkish origin prevailed, such as karagyoz and medih the shadow theater. For the birth of a dramaturgy in Macedonian one must instead wait for the work of Jordan Hadzhi Konstantinov-Dzhinot, who in the mid-nineteenth century gave voice to the nationalist aspirations that began to animate the country’s intellectuals, while the dramas with strong colors by the idealist Vojdan Černodrinski (1875-1951) they represented with gloomy realism (Macedonian blood wedding, 1900) the conditions of Macedonia under Ottoman domination. According to babyinger, the first theater was opened in Skopje only in 1906, followed by that of Bitola in 1907: both hosted mainly foreign companies, specialized in the European classical repertoire. In the period between the two world wars, the use of the Macedonian language was prohibited, and it was the playwrights such as Risto Krle (1900-1975), Vasil Iljoski (1902-1995) and Anton Panov (1906-1967) to keep the literary use alive, using their own texts to spread the ideas related to the Macedonian national and cultural recovery. The State Theater of Macedonia was instead founded in 1947, in Skopje, and has staged both works by the country’s leading playwrights, such as the three already mentioned, and European texts. The disintegration of the former Yugoslavia has also brought about a dramatic change on the Macedonian theater scene, conditioned both by the precarious social and political conditions of the new Republic and by the general instability of the Balkans at war, and by the decline in popularity of the most represented authors in the past years. regime: although in part forced to emigrate to other European countries, in Macedonia Goran Stefanovski (b.1952), author of Hotel Europa; Jordan Plevnesh (b. 1953), author of plays inspired by the contemporary history of Macedonia, such as Erygon and R; Dejan Dukovski (b.1969), playwright and screenwriter, author of La polveriera (1995), a grotesque play from which the homonymous film by Serbian director Goran Paskaljevic was based, and Jugoslav Petrovski (b.1969), whose success greatest was the Porcelain Vase drama.


The spread of traditional European ballet in Macedonia dates back to the years immediately following the Second World War, when the first stable company in Skopje in 1948 made its debut dancing a ballet by Gjorgi Makedonski to the music of La Traviata, a ballet still very popular in the country. Subsequently, the company filed a Night of Walpurgis comes from Faust by Gounod, always on Gjorgi Makedonski choreography, and only in 1950 was the debut of The Bahchiserai fountain, Boris Asfajev, choreography by Gjorgi Makedonski; A Macedonian story dates back to 1953, to music by Gligor Smokvarski (1914-1974). Another extremely popular ballet in Macedonia is the work of Trajko Prokopiev (1909-1979) Labin and Dojrana, on legendary and traditional themes. Until the dissolution of the Republic of Yugoslavia and the war, Macedonia enjoyed a good theatrical infrastructure and an excellent ballet school, strictly academically trained, at the Skopje State Opera, with a vast repertoire of both ballet classics European, and works by Macedonian composers and choreographers, including the aforementioned Makedonski and the great dancer Olga Milosavleva (b. 1934). In the years following independence, the dance offer, having overcome an initial moment of crisis, has diversified, including modern dance in its repertoire: every year in Skopje, since 2002, an international modern dance festival, Balkan, has been held. Dance Platform, which sees the presence of the most interesting groups of the region of the former Yugoslavia.


Cinema in Macedonia had an early start, even if soon blocked in the bud by the outbreak of the First World War: as early as 1905 the brothers Milton and Janaki Manaki were shooting the first short films from the Balkans in Bitola and its surroundings. In the interwar period, the country’s film production is limited to a few pedagogical documentaries (Macedonia, 1923; Malaria, 1932); it is necessary to wait for the birth of a state cinema, in 1945, for the Macedonian cinema industry to begin. In the first decades of the postwar period, the subjects were mainly chosen from historical themes with a nationalist flair, such as the struggle for independence or the Second World War (Semi neri, by Kiril Cenevski, n. 1943), or limited themselves to transposing theatrical and literary works (Macedonian Blood Wedding, 1967, by director Trajche Popov, n.1923). Only with the seventies of the twentieth century did film production partially move away from the repertoire of socialist realism to tackle themes of more European interest, often treated with splendid formal rigor. The last decades of the century saw the success of directors such as Stole Popov (b. 1950) (Tattoooing, 1991; Gipsy Magic, 1997); Vladimir Blazhevski (b.1955) (Hi-Fi, 1987); and Milcho Manchevski (b.1959), who achieved great international success with the drama Before the Rain (1994) and with Dust (2001).

Macedonia Culture