The 71st Dubrovnik Summer Festival will be held this year from 10 July to 25 August as previously announced, but in a reduced form due to epidemiological measures against COVID-19 currently in force in Croatia and worldwide as well as to financial consequences of the pandemic. The festival audiences of all generations will be presented with nearly fifty theatre, music, dance, folklore and other performances on more than ten site-specific locations and stages in Dubrovnik.
The 71st Dubrovnik Summer Festival opening ceremony, directed by Marina Pejnović, will take place at the Old City Port on Friday, 10 July. On this occasion, the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra will be conducted by Tomislav Fačini and they will be joined by the Croatian Radio and Television Jazz Orchestra which will be conducted by Miron Hauser and pianist Aljoša Jurinić, mezzo-soprano Dubravka Šeparović Mušović and saxophonist Ivan Bonačić, with participation of the Festival Drama Ensemble and Linđo Folklore Ensemble.
Theatre programme of the 71st Dubrovnik Summer Festival brings the premiere of Marin Držić’s Grižula directed by Saša Božić and Petra Hrašćanec and performed by the Festival Drama Ensemble in collaboration with the Zagreb Academy of Dramatic Art as part of the Future Epics project co-funded by the EU Creative Europe programme. The play will be performed in Gradac Park. Dubrovnik Mirrors is a peripatetic play based on the poetry of Dubrovnik’s past and present poets and its main scenes will be performed on three different locations. It is directed by Dora Ruždjak Podolski in collaboration with Marina Pejnović, while Hrvoje Ivanković is the dramaturge and author of the text, bringing together a number of artists that have shaped the history of the festival throughout the years as well as young independent artists supported and promoted by the festival. Mara and Kata is the title of a project inspired by Radio Dubrovnik’s legendary show At Home With the Gossipmongers. The play is written and directed by Saša Božić and performed by Doris Šarić Kukuljica and Nataša Dangubić. After last year’s success of productions for children, this year the youngest festival audiences can look forward to the musical stage play The Golden Book which will present fairy tales from the Dubrovnik area on the playground of Collegium Ragusinum. Co-produced by the Dubrovnik Summer Festival and Marin Držić Theatre with the support of the Caboga Stiftung Foundation, the play is directed by Helena Petković and Ivan Končić is the author of music, which will be performed under the baton of Franko Klisović. The Festival also brings two productions of the City Puppet Theatre Split, Home Dwellers by Ana Marija Veselčić, co-produced with the Split Art Academy, and Goga the Millipede based on Adrijana Grgičević’s text, co-produced with the Poco Loco Theatre. Both plays will be performed in the atrium of the Inter-University Centre Dubrovnik. European project Future Epics brings visiting performances of the dance production Embrace choreographed by Meleat Fredriksson and produced by the Vytlicke Centre for Performing Arts from Sweden, in which dancers explore ‘black’ or ‘African view’ as a way of questioning dominant values within the western society, and the play Intimacy, authored by Biljana Srbljanović and Andrej Nosov, produced by the Heartefact Fund from Belgrade. The Festival audiences will also have the opportunity to enjoy another two visiting hit productions in Gradac Park: Bobo Jelčić’s Three Sisters based on Chekhov, performed by the Croatian National Theatre of Zagreb, and Who is Afraid of Virginia Woolf? produced by Ulysses Theatre and Belgrade Drama Theatre and directed by Lenka Udovički with Rade Šerbedžija in the leading role. A performance Marta and Seven Fears by the KunstTeatar from Zagreb will be held in cooperation with the Split Summer Festival, as well as the performance Up and Up by Dance Ensemble Company from Zagreb in cooperation with the Croatian Dance Network.
The staples of the 71st Dubrovnik Summer Festival’s music programme are distinguished Croatian musicians, winners of prestigious international awards and contests, and the programme opens on 11 July with Aljoša Jurinić’s piano recital in the Rector’s Palace Atrium. Apart from being one of Croatia’s most promising young musicians and the winner of the Vladimir Nazor Award in 2015 and Milka Trnina Award in 2017, Aljoša Jurinić is also the winner of the prestigious Robert Schumann Competition for Pianists, finalist of the 17th International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw and laureate of the Queen Elisabeth Competition in 2016, while last year he won the Orlando Award for his performance with cellist Luka Šulić at the 70th Dubrovnik Summer Festival. Trio Eusebius, the winner of the 16th Ferdo Livadić Competition for Young Musicians, composed of violinist Eva Šulić, cellist Tonka Javorović and pianist David Vuković, will also perform at the Festival, while Dalibor Cikojević and Zrinka Ivančić piano duo will perform Papandopulo’s dance suite Horoscope at the Rector’s Palace accompanied by percussionists Karmen Pervitić and Fran Krsto Šercar with participation of young dancers Viktorija Bubalo and Šimun Stankov. Members of the Papandopulo Quartet, saxophonists Nikola Fabijanić, Goran Tudor, Goran Jurković and Tomislav Žužak, are dedicated to promoting contemporary music, especially young Croatian and international composers and their concert will be held on St John’s Fort this summer. The concert of the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra and pianist Marijan Đuzel in Gradac Park under the baton of young Italian-Turkish conductor Nil Venditti will be a true musical treat as the programme includes Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto and Symphony No. 1. This year’s music programme also includes an evening of chamber music dedicated to Dubrovnik’s musicians entitled Dubrovnik on a Rock of Music, created in collaboration between the Festival and Caboga Stiftung Foundation. Renowned musicians, mezzo-soprano Janja Vuletić and guitarist Maroje Brčić will premiere a piece by Zoran Juranić in the Rector’s Palace Atrium, while the 71st Dubrovnik Summer Festival will be closed with a spectacular concert of the Croatian Radio and Television Symphony Orchestra, conducted by maestro Ivo Lipanović, and world-renowned opera stars, soprano Lana Kos and baritone Željko Lučić. The closing concert is supported by Mastercard and it will take place in front of the Cathedral on 25 August.
Rich Croatian folk dance and music heritage will be presented by the Linđo Folklore Ensemble in Gradac Park and FA Linđo traditional female vocal group, who will be celebrating their twentieth anniversary with performance in the Rector’s Palace Atrium. Other Festival programmes include screening of the winner of the Pula Film Festival at Jadran Open-Air Cinema and film screenings and lectures entitled A Taste of Cinema at the Bunić-Kaboga Summer Villa, as well as exhibitions of Dubrovnik artists Ivana Selmani and Viktor Daldon in the Sponza Palace Atrium.
– Considering the fact that we created the programme of the 71st Dubrovnik Summer Festival in 2019 and that it was finished and presented to the public before the COVID-19 pandemic, we had to postpone most of the visiting performances and performances of foreign artists planned as part of the music, theatre and dance programme for 2021 and modify the programme to accommodate domestic artists, both musicians and theatre artists, at the same time taking into account employment of socially disadvantaged groups, including young unemployed artists, students of music academies, independent artists – Artistic Director Dora Ruždjak Podolski pointed out presenting this year’s new, modified programme of Croatia’s greatest and most significant festival.
– Budget plan for the 71st Dubrovnik Summer Festival is reduced by almost 70% compared to last year’s budget and amounts to barely over 6 million kuna. As expected, the festival will have to be held this year without the financial support of tourist boards, without programme funds from the budget of the City of Dubrovnik and with considerably reduced funds from sponsors, donors and ticket income, thus we especially thank to the Ministry of Culture, Caboga Stiftung and to Mastercard, because without their support realization of this year’s Festival wouldn’t be possible. Reduced budget affects both the programme and organisational aspects of the festival, but the fact that the festival will take place at all is a big success. In a globally insecure situation due to which numerous festivals were cancelled all over Europe, it is important to be able to send the world a message of perseverance, optimism and confidence in a better future from Dubrovnik this summer – Executive Director Ivana Medo Bogdanović pointed out.
Dubrovnik Summer Festival will comply with all recommendations for preventing the spread of COVID-19 disease during all festival events, and the public will be informed on all details on time. The online ticket sales are expected to start on June 24, and the box office in the Festival Palace (Od Sigurate 1) will open on July 1.