Belgrade » Beograd | 69 of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th: Stevan Binički, Branislav Nušić, Stevan Hristić et al. That is today the heritage of both the city and of Serbia. Particularly given that its establishment at the very turn of the 20th century, in a country that only won its freedomin the 19th century, aswell as an independent state, also meant building its own identity on a par with the rest of Europe. Then and now Yugoslavia had exceptional singers and an exceptionally high rating throughout the whole of Europe. The opera inBelgrade had its owngolden age, with guest performances by greats, but also its own guest appearances across the old continent. Recent decades have been challenging, and the Opera has survived thanks to the effort and love of its employees, but also thanks to the audience. And it is precisely because of the audience, and because of us from the Ensemble, that we also want to live through that golden age of the Opera in Belgrade now. Ensemble Our ensemble is like a living organism for which harmony and teamwork are most important. It comprises soloists, a choir and an orchestra, and numbers around 190 people. And our desire is actually to expand and provide space for talented youngsters, and for both youth and experience to permeate with us. Newbuilding That has long been our dream. An opera house that would be the pride of the city and the state, and where even themost demanding opera and ballet productions could be performed. I personally think that the most attractive place for a new building of the Opera would beside the river, where the Belgrade Waterfront is located, andwith that we would gain a recognisable symbol of the city, on a par with other world capitals. I hope that will also be realised in the coming years. Pandemic Last year caused us all to slow down. And it taught us to be careful when it comes to our health and the health of everyone around us, to take care of ourselves and adapt. On the one hand, the pandemic demonstrated the creativity ofmusiciansworldwide, and the public was able to watch concerts and operas online, but also to visit virtual museums, while on the other hand, auditoriums were empty. Applause was lacking. But also contact with people. A huge number of people participate in the realisation of every opera, not to mention the audience, and that’s precisely why opera ensembles were hit the hardest by the pandemic. We are overjoyed that we once again have the opportunity to be on stage, with adherence to all prescribed measures. One way for us to be closer to the audience, to live on the stage, is represented by premieres of smaller formats.