Ljubljana Festival kicks off another month of festivities
2 August 2018
The 66th Ljubljana Festival (under the patronage of the Mayor of the City of Ljubljana, Mr Zoran Janković) is going into its second half with a cycle of chamber concerts that will enrich evenings in the Knights' Hall at Križanke. Numerous acclaimed musicians from Slovenia and abroad will appear with the Slovene Philharmonic String Chamber Orchestra. The programme also includes two evenings of piano music in the company of pianists Vladimir Mlinarić and Alexander Gadjiev. Art lovers will certainly appreciate the opening of an exhibition dedicated to the sculptor Janez Lenassi, while the youngest visitors can take part in two different dance workshops in August: Opposites and Committed to Steps. The Eifman Ballet of St Petersburg, which closed the 64th Ljubljana Festival two years ago, returns to Ljubljana on 22 August with a new production. The following evening will be dedicated to a concert of opera arias sung by the tenor Marcelo Álvarez. On 24 August the musical Vesna returns to the Ljubljana Festival, followed on 27 and 29 August by two performances of Verdi's Rigoletto by the Teatro Carlo Felice from Genoa. On 28 August I Solisti Aquilani will appear alongside Brazilian guitarist Egberto Gismonti, whose music masterfully interweaves elements of Brazilian folk music and the classical tradition. Milan's Filarmonica della Scala orchestra, conducted by Christoph Eschenbach, appears on 30 August with pianist Jan Lisiecki. Highlights of the end of August and beginning of September include the traditional concert by Vlado Kreslin and a concert marking 20 years of the solo career of singer Nuša Derenda. On 3 September this year's 66th Ljubljana Festival will be brought to a glorious close by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra conducted by Daniele Gatti.
The final days of the festival include a number of other notable events: the Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Marko Letonja, a concert by the one and only Laibach together with the Lviv Philharmonic Orchestra, and a performance of Goethe's Faust directed by Tomaž Pandur, originally scheduled for July but postponed as a result of illness among the cast.
August's cycle of chamber concerts, the Slovene
Philharmonic String Chamber Orchestra will appear
with the following guests: soprano Nika Gorič, oboist Matej
Šarc and flautists Claudi Arimany
and Josep-Francesc Palou (BELCANTO, 1
August at 8.00 p.m., Gala Hall, National Gallery); violinist Lana Trotovšek, flautist Boris Bizjak and harpsichordist Tomaž Sevšek (LAMENTO, 2 August at 8.00 p.m.,
Gala Hall, National Gallery); violinist Dmitry
Sitkovetsky (BACK TO OUR ROOTS, 7 August at 8.00 p.m., Knights'
Hall, Križanke); pianist Lukas Geniušas
and trumpeter Franc Kosem
(RUSSIAN PHOTOGRAPHERS, 9 August at 6.00 p.m., Slovenian Philharmonic Hall).
The programme of the 66th Ljubljana Festival also includes two evenings of piano music. The first features pianist Vladimir Mlinarić, whom critics have described as a refined interpreter, with works by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Matti Rautio.
(6 August at 8.00 p.m., Knights' Hall, Križanke).
Pianist Alexander Gadjiev began piano lessons with his mother before continuing his training with his
father, the acclaimed Russian pianist Siavush Gadjiev. He made his orchestral
debut at the age of nine and gave his first piano recital a year later.
He will be performing works by F. Chopin, P. I. Tchaikovsky and S. Prokofiev.
(8 August at 8.00 p.m., Slovenian Philharmonic Hall)
Sculptor Janez Lenassi
burst onto the Slovene art scene in 1960 when his monument to Edvard Rusjan was
unveiled in Nova Gorica. The exhibited works – Balance, 1973, granite; Family,
1977, marble; Sequence, 1998, marble – and others that express his remarkable
sensitivity to the expressive characteristics of the material in which he
worked reveal to us merely a small part of his intimate, deeply felt spiritual
dimension. Hommage à Janez Lenassi will
be on view in Križanke's timeless Knights' Hall. The exhibition is curated by
(20 August to 3 September / Exhibition opening: (20 August at 8.00 p.m., Križanke)
The youngest visitors to
the festival will have the opportunity to take part in the free dance workshop Opposites, led by Karin Putrih,
featuring a thoughtful combination of the basics of ballet and modern dance.
Participants will use the medium of dance to try and express their unique
(20–22 August, 12.00–2.00 p.m., Knights' Hall, Križanke)
A special movement
workshop called Committed to Steps
will also be run for children aged between 6 and 14. Awakening through time –
from birth until later life – is the theme of this year's dance spectacle, to
be created by Festival Ljubljana in collaboration with URI Soča and the
project's general sponsor Zavarovalnica Sava.
(20–28 August, 9.00–11.00 a.m. – workshops; 28 August at 6.00 p.m. – final performance)
Dance and ballet
fans will be delighted to see that the programme of this year's Ljubljana
Festival includes the return of St Petersburg's Boris Eifman Ballet, this time
with the ballet Tchaikovsky. PRO et CONTRA,
the fruit of years of reflection on the personal and creative world of the
great Russian composer by choreographer Boris Eifman. "I have been
returning to Tchaikovsky's music for years. I have realised how deep and, in
fact, bottomless his compositional world really was. I have come to an
understanding of various themes connected to his creative life, his
psychological identity and his personal relationships. None of this had ever
been explored to this extent. I wanted to create a work that submerged itself
more deeply in his creative environment," says Eifman.
(21 and 22 August at 8.00 p.m., Cankarjev Dom)
The following evening it will be possible to hear the
Argentine tenor Marcelo Álvarez, considered
one of the most important singers of his generation. He will be
accompanied in a concert of opera arias by the Zagreb
Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Constantine
Orbelian. He has worked with numerous renowned conductors, including
James Levine, Zubin Mehta, Claudio Abbado, Riccardo Muti, Riccardo Chailly and
Antonio Pappano. He made his international debut in 1995 with the role of
Elvino in Bellini's La Sonnambula at the Teatro La Fenice in Venice. Since then,
his career has taken him to opera houses around the world.
(23 August at 8.00 p.m., Cankarjev Dom)
Slovene musical Vesna, adapted from Slovene cinema's first romantic comedy,
written by Matej Bor, returns to Križanke following last year's premiere. The
new musical is the work of the proven creative team that brought the hit
musical Blossoms in Autumn to the stage four years ago. This story of innocent
young love and its trials is directed by Vojko Anzeljc, with a libretto by
Janez Usenik, choreography by Miha Krušič and music by Matjaž Vlašič. The
producer is Gorazd Slak. The main roles of Vesna and Samo are played by Flora Ema
Lotrič and Robert Korošec.
(24 August at 8.30 p.m., Križanke)
The opera company of Genoa's famous Teatro Carlo Felice are set to leave a lasting
impression with their staging of Verdi's Rigoletto.
Today Rigoletto is a staple of the operatic repertoire. It received its first
Slovene performance in Ljubljana on 19 November 1896. The opera is perhaps most
notable for the Duke's cynical aria "La donna è mobile", an eminently
hummable tune that would become very popular among the gondoliers of Venice.
The title role of the thoughtless court jester Rigoletto is sung by the
celebrated Italian baritone Leo Nucci,
a famous Verdi interpreter who has appeared more than 400 times in the role of
(27 and 29 August at 8.00 p.m., Cankarjev Dom)
Chamber orchestra I Solisti Aquilani entranced the audience at last year's
65th Ljubljana Festival with a performance alongside famous stage and screen
actor John Malkovich. This year they are joined by the Brazilian composer,
pianist and guitarist Egberto Gismonti, whose
music masterfully interweaves elements of Brazilian folk music and the
classical tradition, in an approach that reflects that of his fellow countryman
Heitor Villa-Lobos. On this occasion the orchestra will be directed by the
Argentine conductor Luis Gorelik.
(28 August at 8.00 p.m., Slovenian Philharmonic Hall)
Consisting of musicians from the
orchestra of Milan's La Scala opera house, the Filarmonica
della Scala was founded in 1982 by the conductor Claudio Abbado. An
orchestra with a rich history, it has given more than 800 international
concerts over the last 35 years, with important milestones including visits to
the United States of America with Riccardo Chailly and to China with Myung-Whun
Chung. The orchestra will be performing in Ljubljana under the baton of the
great German conductor Christoph Eschenbach.
The soloist is the young piano virtuoso Jan
Lisiecki, a musician whose remarkable maturity belies his youth.
(30 August at 8.00 p.m., Cankarjev Dom)
The traditional concert
by Vlado Kreslin, which fills the Summer Theatre of Plečnik's Križanke complex year
after year, has now reached its twenty-seventh edition. Kreslin, who worked
with the rock band Horizont in the 1980s, triumphed at the 1980 Slovene Song
Festival with "Dan neskončnih sanj" ("Day of Endless
Dreams") and created a number of classic compositions with the band Martin
Krpan, is one of the best known Slovene artists in any genre. His remarkable
musical understanding, of folk music in particular, has caused something of a
renaissance, notably through his work with Beltinška Banda and numerous
collaborations, while his personal approach has brought the genre closer to
different generations, both locally and internationally. Accompanied by a
diverse range of guests, Vlado Kreslin will perform a selection of songs from
his extensive repertoire.
(31 August at 8.30 p.m., Križanke)
To mark the 20th
anniversary of her solo debut, Nuša Derenda has prepared a series of twenty concerts, including a
music and dance spectacular in Križanke's summer theatre. She will take us on a
fascinating musical journey spanning her earliest beginnings, her biggest hits
and a variety of genres, and together with her musical friends will offer
sensuous interpretations of hits that are familiar to everyone. She will be
joined onstage by her backing group, in a specially expanded line-up, a range
of musical guests, and dancers.
(1 September at 8.30 p.m., Križanke)
The concluding evening of the 66th
Ljubljana Festival features the Royal
Concertgebouw Orchestra from
Amsterdam, considered one of the finest orchestras in the world. Critics
describe its sound as unique and balanced. Its string section has been called
"velvety", the sound of its brass is "golden", the timbre
of the woodwinds is "distinctly personal" and the percussion section
has an international reputation. In addition to its many concerts at the
Concertgebouw, the orchestra gives numerous concerts in major concert halls
around the world, thus reaching some 250,000 concertgoers every year. This will
be the orchestra's third visit to the Ljubljana Festival and its second under
the baton of current chief conductor Daniele
(3 September at 8.00 p.m., Cankarjev Dom)
The Slovenian Philharmonic
Orchestra, which proudly takes its place
alongside the world's oldest symphony orchestras, has confirmed its excellence
through numerous performances around the world. The orchestra will be conducted
by its former music director Marko Letonja,
currently music director of the Strasbourg Philharmonic Orchestra, who is due
to take up the position of chief conductor of the Bremer Philharmoniker at the
start of the coming season. The programme consists of works by R. Strauss, G.
Ligeti and H. Berlioz.
(6 September at 8.00 p.m., Cankarjev Dom)
Laibach return to the stage of Križanke's summer theatre,
this time accompanied by the Lviv Philharmonic
Orchestra, in a
performance featuring elaborate visuals and lighting effects. The orchestra is
conducted by the Flemish conductor Filip
Rathé. At the prompting of the
Warsaw-based Adam Mickiewicz Institute, in the context of the international
cultural programme Polska 100, marking the centenary of Poland's independence,
the group has prepared a unique interpretation of Polish composer Andrzej
Panufnik's third symphony, known as the Sinfonia Sacra. The programme also
includes an adaptation of Laibach's original music for the Anton Podbevšek Theatre's
production of Also Sprach Zarathustra, directed by Matjaž Berger. Laibach's
interpretation is not based on Strauss's music but on an entirely original
(7 September at 8.30 p.m., Križanke)
successful tours and sold-out performances in China, Mexico, South Korea,
Colombia, Spain and other countries, Goethe's Faust – directed by Tomaž Pandur and
premiered as a co-production of SNG Drama Ljubljana and the 63rd Ljubljana
Festival – returns to the Ljubljana Festival. The last act in the remarkable
oeuvre of the late Slovene director and theatrical wizard, whose rich career –
tragically cut short by his premature death two years ago – saw him direct
plays all over the world and, together with his sister and closest collaborator
Livija Pandur, significantly influence perceptions of theatre in the
international context, is one of the most successful Slovene theatrical
productions of all time, with more than 60 performances and at least 30,000
(10 September at 9 p.m., Drama Theatre)
Accompanying events of
the 66th Ljubljana Festival
This year's third edition of the Indigo festival is dedicated to rumours: a
silent force that affects public opinion and behaviour, personal decisions and
relations between people and communities.
(5–7 September, French Revolution Square and the surrounding streets)
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