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Martisor-2003 was the 37th Spring Festival in Moldovan history. Minister of Culture Veaceslav Madan emphasized that representatives from over 13 different countries took part in the event. Preparations started long before the opening date with the government allocating 100 thousand lei from the state budget, commercial sponsors donating approximately 270 thousand lei, and the business people of Moldova contributing about 200 thousand lei. So much money has never been raised before.

From the capital Martisor moved to other towns and regions across the country. Residents of the most distant corners of Moldova had the opportunity to experience for themselves the arrival of this national holiday. The Minister of Culture invited many honored guests to Martisor including the Vice-President of Russia Valentina Matvienko and the Russian Minister of Culture Mikhail Shvidko following a recent cultural agreement between Moldova and Russia, and others such as the Minister of Culture of Azerbaidjan Polad Biul-Biul Ogli.

As usual Martisor turned out to be a spectacular multi-genre festival featuring everything from folk to pop music. The grand opening took place at the National Palace, where the stage was decorated with the first symbol of spring – the martisor. Young girls in traditional Moldovan costumes handed out martisors to those who attended the 37th International Festival. According to an old Moldovan tradition a martisor pinned to one’s dress in the spring brings happiness throughout the year and protects from all misfortunes. That is why so many people wore this red and white talisman to the concert.

The opening commenced with a performance of the National Radio and Television Symphony Orchestra conducted by people’s artist Gheorghe Mustea with the Joc dance company that interpreted Hora Primaverii. Veaceslav Madan congratulated everybody on the arrival of Martisor and greeted President Vladimir Voronin, Chairman of Parliament Eugenia Ostapciuc, Prime Minister Vasile Tarlev, and other members of parliament, government, diplomatic mission representatives and members of the audience who came to the first night of the festival.

The concert in two parts lasted nearly three hours. Its participants received many warm rounds of applause. Some of the best artists and dance companies played in the first colorful skit on stage, among them were Maria Biesu, Mihai Munteanu, Zinaida Julea, Nicolae Glib, Nelli Ciobanu, Natalitsa Barbu, Vitalie Danea, Cristina Scarlat, world and European champion Codreanca, Joc dance company, and Doina academic choir.

International participants of the festival included honored artist of Russia Vladimir Mikeev, a German choir, a Theology University choir from Poland, Pirina ensemble from Bulgaria and others.

According to Moldova-Concert director Valentin Goga there was a full house both at the opening and the closing of Martisor this year. In the days following the grand opening pop group Prime Minister, that represented Russia at the annual Eurovision contest, performed on the stage of the National Palace. The star quartet with Veaceslav Bodolica, Pit Jason, Jean Grigoriev-Milimerov and Marat Cernishov interpreted their popular songs Love, Two Diamonds, and Northern Girl with great success. Our compatriot Veaceslav Bodolica received many flower bouquets and soft toys.

A special play called Giocei and Martisoare was staged for the orphans of many Moldovan homes. Belarussian ensemble Pesnyary also took part in the festival and commemorated their leader Vladimir Mulyavin who passed on recently. Russian comedy-show Anshlag that traveled to Moldova on the occasion of Martisor also aroused much excitement on the part of the audience.

General Director Mihail Cocieru mentioned that the national Opera and Ballet Theater staged many different plays for the most demanding audience or everything from classic ballet to contemporary musicals. For the first time artists from distant Olika were invited instead of the cast from Odessa. In Moldova they performed My Wife Is a Liar and Hello, I’m Your Aunt! At the opera famous Moldovan singer Vladimir Dragos interpreted Rigoletto. This Martisor he celebrated his 60th anniversary. Ballet included The Nutcracker and Swan Lake. On the grand finale a dance company from Tiraspol performed on stage of the National Palace.

Director Svetlana Bivol said that at the National Philharmonic special emphasis was made on the classics and the audience welcomed Doina and the symphony orchestra. Attention was also drawn to the fantastic concerts of the presidential orchestra and those of the international guests. Among them were Eteria Klavertrio from Germany, tenor Florin Botnaru from Romania, and violin player Nora Schwarzberg from Austria. Our friend the nai player Constantin Moscovici performed with folk and pop ensembles.

One of the most favorite Moldovan holidays – the Martisor was organized with success on both banks of the river Dniester and brought happy smiles to the faces of many people with excellent music concerts and plays.

Ludmila Mamaliga
Translated by Natalia Corobco

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