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. A tireless performer, the charismatic pianist is a laureate of numerous competitions, Knight Bachelor of the Order of the British Empire and Hungarian dissident due to his tireless advocating of the idea that public figures have a duty to continually spread awareness that the acquired civilisation norms cannot be upheld without constant effort and struggle. Sir András Schiff plays exclusively on his Bösendorfer piano, which is transported to wherever he performs, but for his Dubrovnik performance he has agreed to play on the Steinway that has seen the performances of so many top pianists. 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 celebrating 70 years of successful performances. The ensemble, which has recently updated their line-up with young talent, including the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra’s concertmaster Đana Kahriman, will perform with another musician from Dubrovnik, clarinettist Marija Pavlović, at the Rector’s Palace Atrium on 18 July. 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. He is known for stylistic versatility, perfection and charisma. 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. They will perform a programme strongly influenced by jazz and tango. Saxophone, cello and piano make an unusual combination, resulting from the trio’s wide range of interests and preference for improvisation and creative approach to performance. 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. He will perform a programme created specifically for the Dubrovnik Summer Festival, consisting of lieder and arias. 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.
As part of the project #synergy: Sharpening the capacities of the classical music industry in the Western Balkans, co-funded by the EU Creative Europe programme, the selected young musicians from six countries of the region will perform new works inspired by local heritage and European values and written for this occasion by twelve young composers from six countries. The concerts will be held at the Rector’s Palace Atrium on 19 and 20 July.
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. In order to survive, the protagonists engage in a risky game based on power and desire. Twelfth Night speaks about gender roles and their effect on human relationships.
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. As they embark on a journey through the classics of Croatian and world theatre (Držić, Shakespeare, Moliere etc.), members of the audience will find connections between archetypal stories about human relationships and draw parallels with characters of our contemporaries. Masks premiere at the Bokar Fort on 11 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 and Marijana Fumić, will be performed by the Festival Drama Ensemble on 20 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. By combining two research areas, women’s history and history of everyday life, the authors create a kind of dramatic fresco that reflects different fates of Dubrovnik’s noblewomen, nuns, house servants, procurers, innkeepers, widows, healers and many others. The subject matter of the play, focused on the ideal of female purity, engagement practices, lives of female servants, female professions, marginal female activities (herbal healers, witches), is taken from various archival, historical and contemporary theoretical written sources. Through the play The Wistful Women of Ragusa, women become visible protagonists of Dubrovnik’s vibrant daily life, past and present.
In addition to premieres, this year’s theatre programme includes repeat productions from previous seasons: The Enchanted Forest, musical stage piece for children based on the eponymous novel by Sunčana Škrinjarić, directed by Lea Anastazija Fleger, with music composed by Frano Đurović, will be performed on Lovrjenac Fort on 8, 9 and 10 July. Last year’s successful production of Blood Wedding, directed by Franka Perković Gamulin and performed by the Festival Drama Ensemble, will have three performances on Lokrum Island in late July. Lovers, directed by Aleksandar Švabić, will be performed by the Festival Drama Ensemble in front of St Jacob’s Church on 17, 18 and 19 July. Mara and Kata, a project by Saša Božić in collaboration with actresses Nataša Dangubić and Doris Šarić Kukuljica, will make the audiences laugh the fourth season in a row on 5, 6 and 7 August at Kazerma.
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. The plot of Francis Scott Fitzgerald’s literary masterpiece takes place in New York during the Jazz Age. The lively, dynamic and cosmopolitan musical imagery accompanying this dance story is comprised of music by great American composers such as Philip Glass, Leonard Bernstein, George Gershwin, Louis Prima, Samuel Barber, Glenn Miller and George Whitefield Chadwick − a perfect sound and emotional setting for a story about the world of glamour, ambition, idleness and moral vanity of the American upper class in this period. An indispensable part of the Festival programme, the Linđo Folklore Ensemble will give two performances at the Revelin Fort terrace this summer.
Tickets for some of the 74th Dubrovnik Summer Festival events will be available online at the Festival website www.dubrovnik-festival.hr and at www.ulaznice.hr from 13 February with new discount options. All information regarding ticket purchase is provided by the Sales Office at firstname.lastname@example.org or +385 (0)20 326 107.
The budget of the 74th Dubrovnik Summer Festival is EUR 1.6 million; alongside the Ministry of Culture and Media of the Republic of Croatia, the City of Dubrovnik and the Dubrovnik-Neretva County, the Festival is traditionally supported this year by the Dubrovnik Tourist Board, its long-time sponsors Mastercard, Euroherc, ACI Club, Adriatic Luxury Hotels, Hrvatska elektroprivreda, Kraš, Croatia Airlines, Coca-Cola, its new partner MG Motor, and donors OTP Bank, Atlantska plovidba, Atlantic grupa, Orbico and others, which has enabled the realization of one of the most prestigious cultural events in Croatia.