No Borders Orchestra


Balkan Season Tour 2018 reviews

No Borders Orchestra in Sarajevo – TV N1

No Borders Orchestra in Belgrade – TV PRVA


Opera “Macbeth” Tour reviews


The excellent trans-Balkan No Borders Orchestra



Never again can opera be referred to as a European phenomenon…see this production if it´s the only theatre outing you have this year. It´s un unforgettable musical and dramatic experience.”


…visually and musically breathtaking



This is not just another night at the opera, it´s seance – where high Western art meets a pan-African ethos, tongue firmly in post-colonial cheek.



The Belgian composer Fabrizio Cassol certainly created a useful version with a lot of percussion for the No Borders Orchestra under Premil Petrovic. The chamber ensemble shifted acoustically from harsh exclamation to discrete detail with profound effect. Instrumentally, this production was graced with great urgency.



The excellent small ensemble of the No Borders Orchestra under the direction of Premil Petrovic really rocked Verdi. The audience showed everyone involved its thanks with standing ovations.



With a small orchestra and only ten singers, this interpretation excited the audience – and was celebrated with thundering applause and a standing ovation, as no other festival production this year.



Fabrizio Cassol boiled down the score to twelve instruments, yet managed to create a rich colourful effects, which the No Borders Orchestra under the direction of Premil Petrovic savoured to the full. The opera ended with demonstrative applause.


Musically, the evening lay in the hands of the Serbian conductor Premil Petrovic, who enchanted with his No Borders Orchestra, the twelve musicians creating astonishingly intense moments in the open Odeon Hall.



The audience was impressed with the achievements of the singing ensemble, as well with the version of the opera with strong musical accents played by the committed musicians of the No Borders Orchestra under its deserving conductor, and was generous with the richly deserved applause.



The chorus with a few of the protagonists who tell the story, come from Kapstadt, the twelve excellent instrumentalists from Premil Petrovic’s No Borders Orchestra from different countries of the former Yugoslavia. The adaptation by Fabrizio Cassol, known among other things for his Monteverdi and Bach adaptations for Alain Platel, made the opera sadder, more personal, more plaintive. It takes the euphorically activity, the masterfulness out of the musical expression without straying from Verdi; sometimes Africa breaks in with other rhythms and tone sequences, temporarily overlaying the European sound.
It might be a coincidence that children of a European civil war are re-intoning an opera adaptation that tells the story of the Congolese civil war. The dedication and interaction between musicians can be heard and felt. No one on the stage is just there. In a manifesto, the musicians maintained that with their orchestra, they seek to overcome nationalism and racism. Similarly, on International World Theatre Day, Brett Bailey and his company Third World Bunfight called on all artists to “use the power we have” to “create tolerance in society’s heart and mind”.
The singers from Cape Town, impressive in the earnestness and devotion of expression and voice, and the East European musicians through their music and energy provoke the audience to deep thought.
From the take-over of the colonial cathedral, Brett Bailey, Fabrizio Cassol, the singers, Premil Petrovic and the No Borders Orchestra have made a very moving analysis of a devastated country, a sarcastic, polemic and deeply sad lament and accusation. A new culture of representation emerges from the collage of different theatrical, aesthetic and musical styles that will leave audiences shaken.”



The No Borders Orchestra under Premil Petrovic played with the tonal sophistication the score demands. From classical accompaniment to expressive solos. It is a joy to see how much the young musicians from different states of the former Yugoslavia that still look upon each other with hatred and suspicion create such musical harmony, and clearly have incredible fun doing it. The No Borders Orchestra takes its cue from Daniel Barenboim’s West-Eastern Divan Orchestra and seeks to bring people together who would not have done so otherwise were it not for the music. The struggle against nationalism, racism, homophobia and xenophobia, as well as challenging a glorified national past is the engine of the ensemble.