Exhibition Davorin Jenko 1835–1914 was opened within the popular event The Night of the Museums in the Museum of the National Theatre in Belgrade on Saturday 16th May.
Mr. Dragan Stevović, Manager of the Museum, addressed the visitors and said that the exhibition was arranged by the Archives of Serbia, Archives of the Republic of Slovenia and the National Theatre in Belgrade, while Gregor Jenuš, Jelica Reljić, Jelica Stevanović and Franc Križnar are the authors of the exhibition.
Ms. Jelica Stevanović, Theatrologist, spoke on behalf of the authors and reminded that the exhibition, although somewhat less wide-ranging, has been organised in Ljubljana last November in order to mark 100 years since the artist’s death.
She reiterated that materials used in the exhibition came from funds of the Archives of Serbia, Music Association of Slovenia, Museum of Theatre Art of Serbia, Library of the City of Belgrade and Historical Archives of Pančevo.
Ms. Stevanović added that the Belgrade exhibition has been supplemented with exhibits that focus on Jenko’s work in the National Theatre.
“The renowned Slovene artist had spent almost his whole career in Belgrade, most of it in the National Theatre, where he left a deep and lasting impression as a conductor, vocal and instrumental coach and particularly as a composer. Among other things, Jenko had been established as a creator of our national stage music, while his best pieces have been inspired by the Serbian folk themes,” said Ms. Jelica Stevanović and added that some of the productions with Jenko’s music, although written for modest potentials and capacities, both artistic and professional, which the National Theatre possessed in its early years, have outlived the composer’s era.
“Numerous compositions of Jenko’s are very much alive and well known today, although their author is not widely known, such as Gde si dušo, gde si rano?, Gde ćeš biti, mala Kejo?, Seoska sam lola, etc. It is also very interesting that Davorin Jenko composed many anthems, ranging from those written for singers’ associations to the two national anthems. Since 1860, Slovenians sing Naprej, zastava Slave! as their anthem (both official and unoficial, even forbidden for a time; now it is the Slovene Army anthem), while his composition Bože pravde was written as an ending choir piece for allegory in verse Marko’s Sword staged in honour of Prince Milan Obrenović’s coming of age on 11th August 1872. However, ten years later the composition becomes and, after a long interval, still is the national anthem of Serbia,” Ms. Stevanović added.
The exhibition was opened by Mr. Marko Polajžer, Minister Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Slovenia in Serbia, who said that Jenko was “a great composer, conductor and choir leader who represented a special link between two nations – Serbian and Slovene”.
“We marked one hundred years since his death last year with numerous cultural events, and this year we have the honour and privilege to celebrate 180 year anniversary of his birth. I offer my congratulations and gratitude to authors of the exhibition and to the Archives of Serbia, Archives of the Republic of Slovenia and the Museum of National Theatre in Belgrade. As a representative of the Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia, I have the extraordinary pleasure to open this exhibition. Let us enjoy the exhibition as I am sure that we will learn new things about ours and yours, one and only, Davorin Jenko,” said Mr. Polajžer.
The exhibition will be open until the end of September.

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