Four theatre premieres and varied music programme at the 74th Dubrovnik Summer Festival
30 March 2023
The Dubrovnik Summer Festival will traditionally take place from 10 July to 25 August this year. During the 47 days of the Festival’s 74th edition, the audiences will have the opportunity to enjoy a carefully selected programme comprising the Festival’s own productions and top guest performances featuring some of the best Croatian and international artists. More than 70 theatre, music, folklore and other events, with participation of around 1,000 artists, will be held on over 20 site-specific locations in Dubrovnik.
The 74th Dubrovnik Summer Festival opening ceremony directed by the Festival’s Theatre Programme Assistant Director, Saša Božić, will take place in front of the Church of St Blaise on Monday, 10 July. The music programme opens at the Rector’s Palace on 13 July with the performance of the renowned Hungarian-born British pianist András Schiff, one of the foremost interpreters of Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert and Schumann. Mariza, one of the most popular fado singers, known for her impressive performances and considered a worthy successor to Amália Rodrigues, the queen of fado, will perform on the Revelin Fort terrace on Saturday, 15 July. The 74th Dubrovnik Summer Festival music programme also includes the performance of the Zagreb Soloists, a renowned Croatian virtuoso ensemble. Maxim Emelyanychev, one of the best Russian conductors of the younger generation, who conducted Mozart’s ‘Great’ Mass in C minor at the 2018 Dubrovnik Summer Festival with great success, will perform as pianist at the Rector’s Palace Atrium on 4 August alongside the outstanding Russian violinist Aylen Pritchin, with whom he has closely collaborated since they were students at the Moscow Conservatory. Well-known among classical music lovers, virtuoso cellist Nicolas Altstaedt will give a recital at the Rector’s Palace Atrium on 31 July and perform with the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Pavle Zajcev on 2 August. Like many distinguished musicians nowadays, Altstaedt has turned to conducting, leading orchestras such as the Budapest Festival Orchestra and the Warsaw Philharmonic. The Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra will also perform with soprano Josipa Bilić, the winner of the recent Ferdo Livadić Award for Best Artistic Personality, under the baton of Valentin Egel, young laureate of the Lovro von Matačić International Competition of Young Conductors and chief conductor of the Rijeka Symphony Orchestra. On the occasion of Blagoje Bersa’s 150th birthday, piano trio comprised of Marco Graziani, Latica Anić and Krešimir Starčević has prepared a programme consisting of Bersa’s works and Sergey Rachmaninoff’s trios - a perfect occasion to enjoy top chamber performance of Croatian musicians. The award-winning guitarist Krešimir Bedek will give a concert at the Rector’s Palace this summer, and this year’s Festival also includes the performance of the German cellist Eckart Runge with pianist Martina Filjak and saxophonist Gordan Tudor. Croatia has a large number of world-renowned singers, most of all basses, and Marko Mimica is one of them. He will present himself and his powerful voice, his flawless bel canto technique and versatility at the Rector’s Palace. The Festival’s closing concert in front of the Cathedral will include the performance of the Croatian Radio and Television Symphony Orchestra and guest soloists.
This season’s rich theatre programme includes four new productions: the first premiere this summer, Look How Lokrum Washes Its Teeth, is a coproduction between the Dubrovnik Summer Festival and the Marin Držić Theatre directed by Paolo Tišljarić. It is based on the eponymous novel by Ivana Lovrić Jović, a chronicle of her childhood, her life with and without her father. The author’s father is the cornerstone of this well-composed text whose epistolary part appears as fiction, while its fact-based part occasionally turns into fiction. In this easily read novel with skilfully written shifts and timelines, the father serves the role of an island. The premiere will take place on Lokrum Island on 12 July.
The second premiere this season, Twelfth Night, or What You Will, William Shakespeare's comedy coproduced by the Dubrovnik Summer Festival and Zagreb Youth Theatre, is directed by one of the most popular Polish theatre directors, Grzegorz Jarzyna, and it will be performed at the Lovrjenac Fort from 21 to 25 July. In Jarzyna’s interpretation, read from the perspective of gender roles and identities of non-binary persons, this Renaissance comedy becomes a modernist piece about fluid sexual identities fighting for their right to exist in an old, patriarchal world.
This season’s third premiere, a monodrama by the actor and director Dražen Šivak, Masks, is a play and a project that brings to life the tradition of commedia dell'arte and presents it to wider audiences. In the form of a lecture, the actor on the stage explains the meaning of masks and archetypes presented in commedia dell'arte form. Masks premiere at the Bokar Fort on 12 August.
The fourth theatre premiere of the 74th Dubrovnik Summer Festival, The Wistful Women of Ragusa, a project by the Festival’s Artistic Director Dora Ruždjak Podolski will be performed by the Festival Drama Ensemble on 17 August. In The Wistful Women of Ragusa, the authors search for the contours of everyday life of the Dubrovnik community, focusing in particular on the lives of women in the period of the Republic of Dubrovnik and mirroring them in contemporary experience.
In addition to premieres, this year’s theatre programme includes repeat productions from previous seasons as well as the Komedija Theatre’s most recent hit production, Velo misto, based on Miljenko Smoje's iconic work, which premiered in Zagreb at the beginning of March.
The Croatian National Theatre of Split will perform their praised ballet The Great Gatsby, directed and choreographed by Leo Mujić, at the Revelin Fort terrace. An indispensable part of the Festival programme, the Linđo Folklore Ensemble will give four performances at the Revelin Fort terrace this summer.