The night of gold, the night of applause

The Annual Croatian Actor Awards

Any performance we see is but a fleeting, evanescent being, a conjured magic lasting a couple of hours in flesh and light of those who serve the audience as well as the dusty stages all around the globe. What survives, however, is our feeling of being present, us witnessing the great works of bygone days, of men and women who have been loved, murdered, looked after, of men who left and came back, of nations destroyed and histories repeated. 

Every year, one night in November, in Zagreb, this eternal gift of performing in all the varied masterly forms and parts is shared at the Croatian National Theatre, where the Annual Awards of Croatian Dramatic Society takes place. The awards take place on 24
th of November, honouring the fact that, since 1860., the Croatian language has been spoken on the stage.

The long hours of rehearsals, all the wrong steps in those painful ballet shoes, the breaths are taken before belting out a final note, the lines are forgotten and the warmth of the applause at the end of the
day, the hardworking hands of costume and scene designers, it all came together in friendly laughter, unceremonious heartwarming shootouts from the top of the auditorium as your classmate won his first
award and the unscripted speeches that revealed our beloved actors wearing their hearts on their sleeves.

Beginning with young hopes, Ozana Mirkovic is this year’s winner for the extraordinary achievement in ballet for performers under 28 years. Her colleague Ivan Simatovic, with a baritone to charm, follows as the Zrinjski in the most famous Croatian opera Nikola Subic Zrinjski.


The award for the best female performance in ballet went to Iryna Chaban Bilandzic for her role as Medora in The Pirate, whereas Tomislav Petranovic celebrated for his best male performance as Vicomte de Valmont in the ballet play Les Liaisons Dangereuses and Rudolph, Crown Prince of Austria. The award for the best ballet play went to a majestic adaptation of Death in Venice choreographed by Valentina Turcu, being her second one this night, as she has also earned the award for the best choreography for the aforementioned play. The artists took bows, said their gratitude and earned some very keen and ready ovations from friends in the back of the auditorium. There was a strength to be felt in every second.

The operatic masters were not left without mirth. Giorgio Surian was awarded as the best male performer for his leading roles in Giuseppe Verdi’s Macbeth and Falstaff respectively. It's safe to say that the role of the Queen in Mozart’s Queen of the Night is a dream of every opera singer and, this year, Ivana Lazar has this time triumphed taking home the best female performance as the Queen. Mozarts name has been called up more than once, as the award for the best operatic play went to The Magic Flute under the conduction of Niksa Bareza and Kresimir Dolencic as the Director.

The award for the best conduction - or directing - in an operatic play went to Ivo Lipanovic for his conducting of Nabucco by Giuseppe Verdi.
The actors, actresses and directors of theatre and TV industry have been waiting patiently enough and not without apprehension. Their share the spotlight with the best theatre stage and costume design, which made Zdravka Ivandija Kirigin - stage design for the play Geranium​ - and Dzenisa Pecotic - costume design for Erich Kästners The Little Man and the Little Miss​ - take their place at the stage.

They were followed by the representatives of the play Flex, in a co-production of the Kunst Theatre and Punctum, as they bowed accepting the award for the extraordinary work in theatre, the innovative way of handling the theme and the understanding of the world we live in. The award for the best directing of a TV drama, awarded biannually, went to Goran Rukavina for the TV series Rest In Peace. Marija Kolb was overjoyed with the award for the best acting in a radio play Sadness of Les Hommes Approximatifs, directed by Stephanie Jamnicky.


Furthermore, the award for the best adaptation or dramatization went to Split s Puppet Theatre and to Ana Maria Veselcic for the play Domasi. Puppet theatre shone even more with Matija Skaronja winning the best male actor award for his work in The Hooligan as Zrks, and the beautiful Twins of Erich Kästner’s fame, Vini Jurcic and Irena Tereza Prpic were revered with the best female performance. The award for the best puppeteer play or a play for children went to Erich Kästners The Little Man and the Little Miss, directed by Anja Maksic Japundzic.

In the intermission which saw young students of Dramatic Academy performing on the National Theatre stage, theatre actors and actresses alike held their breath as the awards awaited some of them. For an extraordinary achievement under 28 years, Mateo Videk triumphed as the best male actor for his role as Ivan in Ugljesa Satinacs Huddersfield, whereas Matea Marusic has taken the award for the best female actress for her role as Laura Wingfield in The Glass Menagerie.

Renowned actress Vlasta Ramljak has earned the award for the best-supporting actress as Omama in the play 
Doljnogradska 11 by Drago Hedl. Zivko Anocic earned accolades and a hearty applaud along with his award for the best supporting actor for his role as Ugo in a wonderous adaptation of Kiklop directed by Sasa Anocic - as they are brothers. Legendary Rade Serbedzija, though absent from the awards, has received the best actor award for his George in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf by Edward Albee. Olga Pakalovic, with her fragile and overpowering performance as Olga in Constellations - Nick Payne - well-deservedly received the award for the best actress. Sasa Anocic had, moreover, two other reasons to celebrate, as he has taken home the award for the best director and earned the Gavella Theatre an award for the best theatre play. It has been a night of beauty, talent and trust in the arts.