No doubt about it: for a person on the trail of cultural uplifting, musical extravaganza, basking in the splendour and achievements in performing and fine arts … Croatia is the place to lower your anchors in during summer months, in particular. The festival atmosphere filled with enthusiasm has been building up via thrilling crescendos for decades now – despite the horrible war of the 1990’s Croatia endured.
It’s Dubrovnik’s turn to crank up the entertainment volume for the coming month.
The Dubrovnik Summer Festival is an annual celebration of music, dance, opera, and theatre. This year, from July 10 to August 25, the city will once again become a big stage that’s guaranteed to offer the best performances and exhibitions of talented artists and performers from Croatia and worldwide – for the 64th time!
“During 47 festival days, more than 2000 artists from all over the world will take part in more than 130 theatrical, musical, operatic, ballet and folklore events in around twenty Dubrovnik site-specific venues.
This year’s theatre program includes three premieres, two repeat plays, one remake play and five guest performances. The premiere theatre program will open in the City Hall with a Bobo Jelčić and Nataša Rajković project Allons enfants, featuring – apart from the actors’ team – the residents of Dubrovnik, and portraying in a humorous way the city’s present-day moment.
Boris Bakal’s project Father Courage, inspired by Bertolt Brecht, develops in several parallel images, taking place in five locations at the same time.
Staged at Fort Lovrjenac by Tomi Janežić, with Alen Liverić in the role of Socrates, Plato’s mono-drama the Trial of Socrates deals with the questions of conformism and the courage of individuals to think for themselves, the questions of authority and young people, home and exile, the death penalty and death itself.
The legendary Vojnović’s and Juvančić’sEquinox – the winner of five Croatian Theatre Awards, premiered in 2004 at the 55th Dubrovnik Summer Festival – returns after five years. The repeat performances include Stulli’s Kate Kapuralica, directed by Dario Harjaček, and Euripides’ Medea, directed by Tomaž Pandur.
The Festival will play host to Croatia’s Best Play in 2012, I. Š. Kuči’s Unterstadt, directed by Zlatko Sviben and performed by the Croatian National Theatre of Osijek; the Histrion Theatre Company and the mono-drama My Case; the Croatian National Theatre of Šibenik and the adaptation of Molière’s The Miser; and the Marin Držić Theatre with The Brothers Karamazov, directed by Dejan Projkovski. Croatia’s first clown play for grown-ups The Nightingale, directed by Lee Delong and performed by the Triko Circus Theatre, promises the festival audience plenty of laughter.
This year’s program also includes performances of the Triko Circus Theatre with a number of street-theatre shows. Entitled Kaleidoscope, this is a work-in-progress project in three seven-day phases. The themes and structure of the shows will change on a daily basis, from «on the move» performances on stilts to street spectacles in the new circus style.
The Slovene National Theatre of Maribor will present their acclaimed production of Prokofiev ballet Romeo and Juliet, choreographed by Valentina Turcu. Within the Festival’s OFF Programme, the Croatian Writers’ Association, the Dubrovnik Summer Festival and Mani Gotovac in the role of project leader have created the program To Love and Cherish You. Named after a verse by Luko Paljetak, the project will present five renowned writers who, each in his own way, talk about love; each presentation being a small festival premiere.
Comprising around 40 screenings, the Dubrovnik Summer Festival’s Film Program is more extensive than ever. It will take place at the Jadran and Slavica open-air cinemas. Zlatko Vidačković, Artistic Director of the Pula Film Festival, has made a selection of the finest films from the world’s most prestigious festivals, including the Pula Film Festival; the screenings will be attended by film artists. The program entitled Filmokaz consists of films based on Oscar Wilde plays.
The performances of Linđo Folklore Ensemble and art exhibitions at the Sponza Palace continue to be part of the Festival’s OFF Programme. This year they will include Duško Šibl’sTwo Backward Glances and Jagoda Buić’s Carta canta 2”.
“The Festival’s music program will mark the 200th anniversary of the births of Verdi and Wagner with a gala opera program entitled 1913 – Verdi vs. Wagner (featuring the Symphony Orchestra of the Zagreb University Academy of Music, numerous soloists, the conductor Ira Levin and the stage director Giancarlo del Monaco) and the 100th anniversary of the first performance of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring with the programme 1913 – Stravinsky vs. Ravel (featuring the Hungarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and Choir conducted by Mladen Tarbuk).
The 100th anniversary of the birth of Benjamin Britten, a great fan of Dubrovnik, will be marked by a Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra Concert featuring the Russian pianist Natalia Trull, while the 150th anniversary of the birth of Claude Debussy will be marked by the recital of the famous Italian cellist Enrico Dindo. The entire music program is dedicated to the years 1813 and 1913, which determined the forthcoming musical trends, and which will be contrasted with contemporary first performances of the works by Croatian composers Klobučar and Seletković.
The recitals will include the pianist Gergely Bogányi, the famous pianist Elena Bashkirova, and the violinist Lana Trotovšek. The mezzo-soprano Dubravka Mušović Šeparović accompanied by Đorđe Stanetti on the piano will mark the 150th anniversary of the birth of the Croatian opera diva Milka Trnina.
The Cantus Ensemble will appear featuring renowned soloists under the baton of Berislav Šipuš; Petrit Çeku will appear as a member of the Elogio Trio; while the renowned Peter Finger will play with Damir Halilić-Hal. Brahms’ The Beautiful Magelone will be performed by the bass-baritone Krešimir Stražanac, the reciter Urša Raukar and Mihály Zeke on the piano.
Other highlights include concerts of Rufus Wainwright, one of the young generation’s greatest song-writers and this year’s Grammy winner for Best R&B Album; Robert Glasper Experiment; Matija Dedić with the double-bassist Scott Colley and the drummer Antonio Sanchez; and the programme Gypsy Swing featuring Mozes Rosenberg, Mate Matišić and Jurica Štelma on the Revelin Fort terrace. Celebrating Croatia’s joining the European Union, the Festival will open on 11 July with the Music Without Frontiers Foundation from London, the Agevent from Dubrovnik and the Dubrovnik Summer Festival production of Mozart’s Così fan tutte in the Art School Park, directed by Sally Burgess and performed by the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Oliver Gilmour”.
“Well reputed Croatian soprano singer Lana Kos will after a successful debut in Verona perform within the Vip program of the 64th Dubrovnik Summer Festival at the program inspired by love scenes of Verdi’s and Wagner’s musical dramas, directed by Giancarlo del Monaco and entitled 1813 – Verdi Vs Wagner, on 12th July at 21:30 in front of St. Blaise’s Church.
Imaginary meeting of two famous 19th century composers, Verdi and Wragner, who have never met during their lives, will be presented at the opera gala program „1813- Verdi vs Wagner“. Giancarlo del Monaco, one of the most prominent and the most wanted stage directors in his generation, created the concept. Del Monaco set on scene numerous productions among which are ones in theaters in Barcelona, Berlin, Bologna, Buenos Aires, Los Angeles, Madrid, München, La Scala in Milan, Montepellier, Metropolitan Opera in New York, on Festival d’Orange, in Paris, Rome, Tel Aviv, Venice, Washington, Vienna which he realised in corporation with the most important conductors and set designers in the opera world“.
And, as Ivan Gundulic said in 1628:
Oh you beautiful, oh you dear, sweet liberty,
the gift that Almighty God gave us,
the cause of truth and all our glory,
the only adornment of Dubrava;
Neither all the silver and gold,
nor the human lives
can match your pure beauty!