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Milosevic Musical Coming to Kosovo

Director says the show explores the lives of ordinary Kosovans juxtaposed with the tragedy of the Serbian strongman.

11 January 2018

Composer John Adams’s opera about Richard Nixon’s triumphant visit to China has become a modern classic. The creators of a new musical about another extremely divisive leader, Serbia’s Slobodan Milosevic, may not be aiming so high, although unlike Adams they follow their protagonist to the bitter end, in a Dutch jail cell.


Entitled “The Slobodan Show,” the production will premiere next month in the Serb enclave of Gracanica just outside Pristina, its composer Marko Grubic told AFP.


The show will have two contrasting parts, director Nenad Todorovic explained to Balkan Insight. In the first, the lives of Milosevic and his wife, Mira Markovic, will be juxtaposed with those of people in Kosovo in the 1990s, a decade of severe repression climaxing in war.


The second part of the show will be a “Racine-esque tragedy” centered on Milosevic’s trial at the UN Yugoslav war crimes tribunal.


The Serb-run theater relocated to Gracanica from the capital in 1999, after Serbian forces under Milosevic’s control pulled out of Kosovo in the wake of a NATO bombing campaign.


Slobodan Milosevic. Image via NATO/Wikimedia Commons.


The ousted Serbian leader died in 2006 of a heart attack in his cell, before his trial could be completed. Accused of corruption in Serbia, Markovic moved to Russia in 2003.


Todorovic said he found both “relatively idiotic charges” against Milosevic as well as “clear evidence of grave crimes” in his reading of thousands of pages of court records.


He told Balkan Insight that he sees Milosevic as a “tragic protagonist” who can either be described as “the butcher of the Balkans” or as a victim of circumstance.


“Slobodan and Mira were an inseparable couple at the top of the state at a crucial moment, the dissolution of Yugoslavia and the redefinition of the world,” the show’s lyricist Jelena Bogavac told Serbia media, according to AFP.


About 13,000 people died during the 1998-1999 conflict, mostly ethnic Albanians.



  • A special court established to investigate alleged crimes by the guerrilla Kosovo Liberation Army during and after the 1998-1999 conflict with Serbia was established in The Hague this year and is expected to issue its first indictments soon.


Compiled by Ky Krauthamer

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