As Atlantic Ocean waves lap along the shore, renowned vocalists Chabrelle D. Williams, Brianna J. Robinson, Maggie Finnegan, Vera Savage, and Hannah Ludwig provide an intense and inspired a cappella chorus for an idyllic beachside cottage as a bride, what appears to be the mother of the bride, and bridesmaids prepare for a beautiful wedding. A wedding can stir up a myriad of powerful emotions from bitter sweet to pure joy as a couple starts a new life together and in a way, leaves the former one behind. Filled with rich traditions, rituals, and cultural customs, the days leading up to a wedding can provide life’s most unforgettable moments.
Gorgeously filmed, seamlessly conducted by Daniela Candillari, and insightfully directed by Shura Baryshnikov (the daughter of legendary dancer and choreographer Mikhail Baryshnikov), Boston Lyric Opera presents in collaboration with Opera Philadelphia Channel, Svadba by Ana Sokolovic streaming now on Operabox.tv. The film is just under an hour. Click here for streaming access and more information.
Svadba, which is Serbian for ‘wedding,’ contains all the anticipation and beauty of the days building up to the big day. It is a pivotal time in a couple’s life, especially these times when family and friends gathering can be a hesitant and tricky venture. The glow of the bride-to-be is resplendent in Victoria Awkward as Milica, the loving stares of love and pride shine in Jackie Davis’s eyes as Lena and the beautiful bridesmaids excitedly bonding create a dreamy and ethereal presence in this picturesque setting.
What also makes Svadba so alluring is the intimacy among the group. From Victoria Awkward as bride Milica and Jackie Davis as Lena’s first encounter, it is easy to see the precious nature of a mother and daughter relationship, though the film does not specify the connection between them. Davis treats Awkward delicately, taking her hand and getting her ready while presenting to her family and cultural customs and heirlooms leading up to this big day. The sunlight peers into the cottage, illuminating the treasure trove of precious objects. There is a quiet outpouring of love between the two of them as Davis prepares Awkward for the future.
Costume designer Albulena’s Borovci’s dynamic costumes vary from traditional and intriguing to unconventional with fantasy and flair. Sparkling, translucent, and understated gowns adorn bridesmaids Sasha Peterson as Maid of Honor Ljubica, Emily Jerant-Hendrickson, Sarah Pacheco as Zora, and Jay Breen as Danica. The pale green and coral complements the serene beachside landscape while a bride’s vivid daydream unleashes brighter and bolder attire.
Much of this opera symbolizes togetherness, the progression of growing up and finding where a woman fits in the world from the bride’s whirlwind feelings to family and friends perspectives. The choreography at times feels so intense that the dancers look like they are being taken over by the chorus’s powerful vocal harmony. From spontaneous frolicking to wild and intense dance rituals set to heavenly, trilling, and rhythmic vocals that narrate, navigate, and reveal the complicated feelings when one weds, Svadba is a spirited snapshot to this tumultuous and extraordinary rite of passage and a beautiful celebration of the future.
Boston Lyric Opera presents in collaboration with Opera Philadelphia Channel, Svadba streaming now on Operabox.tv. The film is just under an hour. Click here for streaming access and more information.