GO! Borderless Opera Lab composers

Composers Sara Caneva and Juraj Marko Žerovnik are the authors of the opera diptych GO! Borderless Opera Lab, which will be premiered at Europe Square in Nova Gorica on Thursday, 14 September at 8 pm. The world premiere of the cross-border project is organised by the Piccolo Opera Festival under the artistic direction of Gabriele Ribis and is part of the official programme of the European Capital of Culture 2025 Nova Gorica – Gorizia. The young composers gathered the material for the opera during a creative residency between Gorizia and Nova Gorica, exploring the roots and identity of the area, drawing content from the cultural and historical heritage of Gorizia and Nova Gorica.


Sara Caneva, an Italian composer, conductor and pianist, is currently a research fellow at the University of Birmingham, where she is studying the impact of visual information on musical practice, and is interested in the potential of inclusive forms of theatre. In 2020 she was nominated for the Classical:NEXT! Innovation Award and was invited to participate in the first LaMaestra Competition for Women Conductors at the Paris Philharmonic. She has conducted a wide range of world premieres throughout Europe, and her works have been commissioned and performed by world-renowned institutions such as La Fenice in Venice, the Mozarteum in Salzburg, the Moscow Philharmonic and others. She has been selected as Composer in Residence on several occasions and in this context has written a number of musical compositions and carried out a series of interdisciplinary projects. For GO! Borderless Opera, she composed the one-act opera Radice Posizione Distanza (Origin, Position, Distance). The three-movement work relates to the themes of border and liminality, the Soča River, the former asylum of Franco Basaglia. The libretto illustrates a dialogue between a woman (Gorizia / Nova Gorica) and a psychotherapist (Dr. Reka).


Juraj Marko Žerovnik, a Slovenian-Croatian composer, graduated in piano and composition from the Academy of Music in Zagreb and is an assistant professor at the Academy of Music in Pula. In Karlsruhe, Germany, he studied with Markus Hechtle, Vito Žura and Wolfgang Rihm. His works have been performed since the beginning of his creative career (Magnificat in 2009, Allegro molto appassionato for piano trio in 2011). He performed his Concerto for Piano and Orchestra as a soloist with the Varaždin Chamber Orchestra under the baton of Pavel Dešpalj. His work Ishtipana hartija for soloists, choir and symphony orchestra, commissioned by the Croatian National Theatre in Rijeka, was premiered in 2016, and he has honed his compositional skills with the help of Sebastian Themessel, Zeynep Gedizlioğlu and Irvian Arditti. Since 2022 Žerovnik has been studying postgraduate studies in Ljubljana with Vito Žuraj. His diptych GO! Borderless Opera Lab, Before the Law, was inspired by Franz Kafka’s novel The Trial and deals with the metaphor of the border, which in this case is a building, the “Home of the Loom”.


Igor Pison contributed the directorial concept and creative support for this chamber opera diptych, and Sara Caneva will conduct. The opera will be accompanied by GO! Borderless Orchestra, which brings together Italian and Slovenian instrumentalists and is a collaboration between the Piccolo Opera Festival and the Lojze Bratuž Cultural Centre, the Emil Komel Slovenian Centre for Music Education, the NOVA Music Society and the Nova Gorica Music School. Members of the Cantus Ansambl group from Zagreb will also participate.