As we prepare for the start of the online prize game “EU in the Palm of Your Hand”, we bring you a retrospective of the concert we organized on the occasion of Europe Day. On Saturday evening, May 8, in the Music Centre of Montenegro, the excellent orchestra and choir of the Opera from Serbian National Theatre and the Big Band from Novi Sad performed the unique musical spectacle Rock Opera. They played world-famous rock hits in a slightly different arrangement, with hints of classical music. Knez, the Books of Knjige and opera singer Emilija Minić joined them on stage, making the whole experience a spectacular one. This musical treat was broadcast live by TVCG, TV Vijesti and TV Prva.

Before the start of the concert, the Ambassador of the European Union to Montenegro, Ms Oana Kristina Popa addressed to the audience.

“Solidarity and togetherness form the foundations of the European Union. Every day we try to show this through our deeds. Since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, the European Union and its Member States have stood firmly with Montenegro, providing economic assistance, donating health equipment, procuring vaccines… However, in this common struggle for the health of citizens and the recovery of the economy, we must not forget to support art, which is part of our common European identity. That is why every celebration of Europe Day is, in fact, a celebration of art, which unites us and which unites all our differences,” said Popa.

In accordance with the epidemiological measures, there was a significantly reduced number of seats in the hall of the Music Centre, which is why we decided to donate tickets for this unique concert to health workers.

“I especially want to greet the doctors and the medical staff from the COVID centres, who will have the pleasure to listen to this concert live in the Great Hall of the Music Centre of Montenegro. Thank you for your courage, humanity and tireless fight for the health of all citizens! Many thanks also to the media that are broadcasting today’s concert live – to the Radio-Television of Montenegro and the Televisions Vijesti and Prva. Thanks to them, this concert can be heard in homes all over Montenegro,” said Popa, greeting the audience.

The first to perform was the opera singer Emilija Minić, who sagn the Montenegrin and the European Union anthem, accompanied by the orchestra. “It was a great honour for me to perform these anthems with the Novi Sad orchestra. I hope you enjoyed it,” said Emilia.

The Rock Opera began with the beats of the song The Final Countdown, under the baton of maestro Fedro Vrtačnik.

“Our every performance in Montenegro has really been well received and we came with real pleasure to present what we have prepared. This concert for Europe Day was special. We have over 200-300 concerts behind us, we are planning a tour of the European Union, but we are always happy to return to this region, because that is really where our most sincere audience is,” said the maestro.

Positive impressions are also shared by the soloists.

“It was fantastic. We miss a larger audience, that’s for sure, but there was so much energy on the stage – we felt it,” said soloist Dragana Keller after the concert. Her colleague Zoran Šandrovo adds: “We are really happy, over the Moon. People approached us immediately after the concert, happy and enthusiastic, they were thanking us, and we thanked them as well. It was really an amazing energy on both sides.”

The Books of Knjige performed the song Moja domovina (My Homeland). After the concert, they, in their own way, shared their impressions.

“My impressions are mixed, it is not easy to perform in front of an audience of millions, that feeling of responsibility could have been felt in our performance. We are satisfied, considering the circumstances in which everything took place”, said the members of the Books of Knjige.

The audience at the Music Centre reacted especially well to Knez’s performance.

“Thank you for the opportunity to sing after a break lasting almost a year. We all enjoyed it. I think the viewers were able to feel it during TV broadcast as well,” Knez said after the performance.

The musicians called on colleagues and the public to get vaccinated

One of the requirements for the concert was for the musicians to be vaccinated or protected with antibodies. That is why all the musicians sent a clear message to the public – that vaccination is the only way for, among other things, live concerts to become a reality again.

“Think about your health. I urge you all to get vaccinated. Vaccines are our future,” said Dragana Keller.

“We call on people to protect our collective immunity, because we have to continue to live somehow. We should all strive to achieve that collective immunity, herd immunity. We are already a herd, we just lack the immunity part”, was the message of the Books of Knjige.

“I got my second shot almost 2 months ago. Without that, we can’t beat COVID, so dear people, don’t wait, don’t procrastinate, that’s the only way to beat this thing,” Knez said.

In addition to the concert, and on the occasion of Europe Day, we also organized a flower carpet on Independence Square in Podgorica, where over 50,000 seedlings were placed on 600 square meters. Numerous state and local institutions throughout Montenegro joined the celebration of Europe Day, bathing their buildings in the colours of the European Union over the weekend. We continue with the activities throughout May. The online European Film Festival is underway, and the online prize game “EU in the Palm of Your Hand” will start soon.