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The Celebratory Summer: 70 Years of Dubrovnik Summer Festival

Raising the Libertas flag to the verses of The Hymn to Liberty in front of St Blaise’s Church on Wednesday, 10 July at 21 will mark the opening of the 70th Dubrovnik Summer Festival, which will traditionally take place from 10 July to 25 August at more than thirty site-specific locations in Dubrovnik. The programme of the Festival’s anniversary season as well as many other interesting facts were presented to the public by the Artistic Director of the Dubrovnik Summer Festival Dora Ruždjak Podolski and Executive Director Ivana Medo Bogdanović on Wednesday, 3 July, at the Hotel Excelsior.

Dubrovnik Summer Festival Press Conference 2

In the upcoming season, one of the oldest and most prestigious European festivals, a member of the European Festivals Association since 1956, will present its numerous domestic and international audiences with over 80 theatre, music, ballet, film, folklore and other performances during 47 days of its seventieth anniversary edition. The conceptual guideline of the seventieth Dubrovnik Summer Festival is based on the slogan City Myths. The programme brings together best Croatian artists and top performances by international artists, while disintegrating the mythology of European cultural heritage, the myths of Dubrovnik and the myths of the Festival, and at the same time questioning the past and the future of site-specific performance practices and nurturing the relationship between tradition and modernity. The Festival’s own productions remain the staple of its theatre programme, thus confirming the national, cultural and historical identity built by the Dubrovnik Summer Festival during its long existence, with the model of the Festival Drama Ensemble as its specific feature.

The opening ceremony of the 70th Dubrovnik Summer Festival, written and directed by the Festival’s Artistic Director Dora Ruždjak Podolski and Assistant Director for Theatre Saša Božić, will take place on Wednesday, 10 July 2019 in front of St Blaise’s Church with the concert of the Lower Saxon State Orchestra, one of the best European orchestras, and the Ivan Goran Kovačić Academic Choir, the Libertas Choir and the Dubrovnik Chamber Choir, conducted by maestro Ivan Repušić, with participation of the Festival Drama Ensemble and the Linđo Folklore Ensemble.

The first premiere title of the Festival’s anniversary year will be one of the most famous tragedies of the great William Shakespeare, Hamlet, directed by Paolo Magelli and performed by the Festival Drama Ensemble on the mythical Lovrjenac Fort from 27 to 31 July.

DLJI Hamlet probe c Marko Ercegovic

This is the first time Paolo Magelli, the director of some of the Festival’s legendary productions such as the Phoenician Women and Grižula, is directing at the Festival since 2006, when he staged Birds based on Aristophanes at Medarevo. The assortment of famous actors who played the Prince of Denmark at Dubrovnik’s Elsinore, Daniel Day Lewis, Derek Jacobi, Rade Šerbedžija, Goran Višnjić and others, will be joined this summer by Dubrovnik-born actor Frano Mašković. The premiere of Geranium, directed by Marina Pejnović based on Ivo Vojnović’s short story of the same name and Antun Šoljan’s short story Island from the collection Prayer in the Promenade, will take place in August. Widow Mara will be played by Doris Šarić Kukuljica. Encouraged by last year’s success of programmes for children, the seventieth edition of the Festival brings a premiere of music drama production of The Little Prince at the Rector’s Palace Atrium, based on the most famous work of the celebrated French writer Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, composed and conducted by Ivan Josip Skender and directed by Hrvoje Korbar.

The Festival audiences will enjoy the selection of Ranko Marinković’s prose for the second year in a row in the production of Under the Balconies, directed by Dario Harjaček and dramatised by Vedrana Klepica and Dario Harjaček. Nataša Kopeč is the winner of the Orlando Award for best drama performance of the 69th Festival for the role of Olivija in Under the Balconies, which will be performed at the University of Dubrovnik Campus Park.

For Seasons Mariinsky Theatre C Tata Sirotkina 4 e1562158144371

Theatre programme of the 70th Festival includes following guest performances; Rene Medvešek will stage the hit production of the Croatian National Theatre of Zagreb One Song a Day Takes Mischief Away that will be performed on 21 and 22 July on the open-air stage at Gradac Park. At the same venue, the Festival audiences will have the opportunity to see the play The Balkan Spy. This legendary satirical farce, on which the cult film of the same name was based, was written by Dušan Kovačević in 1983 and it will be presented at the Festival by the National Theatre of Belgrade, directed by Tatjana Mandić Rigonat, on 16 August. The theatre programme of the 70th Dubrovnik Summer Festival also includes three monodramas which will be performed in the special ambience of the Bokar Fort: a mono-opera based on Gogol’s short story Diary of a Madman, performed by the brilliant Ozren Grabarić and directed by Marijan Nećak, a virtuosic monodrama Mistero Buffo based on the work of the great Italian Nobel-winning writer Dario Fo, performed by Dražen Šivak and directed by Lee Delong, and monodrama Room for a View, based on Virginia Woolf’s short story The New Dress, performed by Ivana Buljan Legati and directed by Marina Petković Liker, which bravely addresses the theme of inner insecurity. Traditionally, the LERO Student Theatre will present their latest production, Drops, directed and dramatised by Davor Mojaš.

Ballet lovers will enjoy a spectacular guest performance of The Four Seasons, a ballet in two acts choreographed by Ilya Zhivoi to the score of Max Richter based on Vivaldi and performed by one of the world’s best ballets, the Russian Mariinsky Theatre, whose appearance in Dubrovnik represents a unique national and regional event. Another exclusive dance programme is a production of A Love Supreme, a piece for four dancers based on the music of John Coltrane and named after his famous jazz album. Authors of choreography are the famous Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker and Salva Sanchis, and it is produced by one of the most renowned European ensembles, Belgian Rosas.

In a joint anniversary celebration, the Festival and the Lado Ensemble will present a two-hour programme entirely dedicated to dances and songs of the Croatian diaspora. Always a welcome guest at the Festival, this anniversary season LADO, the National Folk and Dance Ensemble of Croatia, will perform on the Revelin Fort Terrace on 15 July.

The music programme of the 70th Dubrovnik Summer Festival brings big names and exceptional programmes, and it opens on open-air festival stage in front of St Blaise’s Church on 11 July 2019 with the big gala concert of the Lower Saxon State Orchestra and the Ivan Goran Kovačić Academic Choir with distinguished soloists – soprano Evelin Novak, mezzo-soprano Khatuna Mikaberidze, tenor Tomislav Mužek and bass-baritone Daniel Eggert, under the baton of maestro Ivan Repušić. They will perform Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9.
In collaboration with the Caboga Stiftung Foundation, the concert of award-winning and internationally renowned artists, bass-baritone Krešimir Stražanac accompanied by pianist Danijel Detoni, will take place at the Bunić-Kaboga Summer Villa on 12 July. This year too, the Dubrovnik Summer Festival is organizing a masterclass, and it will be held by Krešimir Stražanac at the Bunić-Kaboga Summer Villa. The Zagreb Soloists will perform at the Rector’s Palace Atrium on 14 July with pianist Martina Filjak, who regularly thrills international public and critics with her passionate, and yet lyrical performances and technical perfection. The Zagreb Soloists are celebrating their hundredth performance at the Festival with this concert. The Esperanza Ensemble, as well as the Zagreb Quartet, which celebrates its hundredth anniversary this year and will appear alongside virtuoso classical guitarist Ana Vidović, will perform at the Rector’s Palace Atrium. The Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra conducted by Franz Anton Krager will also perform in concert at the Rector’s Palace with a distinguished soloist, trumpeter Håkan Hardenberger, who has performed with the world’s greatest ensembles and is known for his phenomenal performance and relentless innovativeness. The orchestra will also perform at the Festival under the baton of Ivo Lipanović with violinist Katarina Kutnar. The famous pianist Yuja Wang, who will be performing in Croatia for the first time, and clarinettist Andreas Ottensamer, who thrilled the Dubrovnik audience last year, will perform together at the Rector’s Palace on 6 August.

Ottensamer Wang 2018 12 1 Copy

Enormous interest of the Festival audience is common when it comes to concerts of great pianist Ivo Pogorelić, who will again appear at the Festival in its anniversary year on 18 August and perform Bach’s English Suite No. 3, Beethoven’s Sonata No. 11, Chopin’s Barcarolle and Prelude Op. 45, and Ravel’s three-movement piece Gaspard de la nuit. The Music of Dubrovnik Summer Villas will also be performed at the Rector’s Palace Atrium, a unique programme which presents symphonies of Luka Sorkočević. The Croatian Baroque Ensemble will perform under the baton of Hervé Niquet with soloists Pavao Mašić, Laura Vadjon and Krešimir Fabijanić. The Croatian Radio and Television Choir conducted by Tomislav Fačini will also perform at the Rector’s Palace. The Avishai Cohen Trio, a unique jazz group known for their unforgettable concerts, led by the famous bassist, singer and composer Avishai Cohen, will prepare a jazz treat on the Revelin Fort Terrace. World-renowned young Croatian musicians, cellist Luka Šulić and pianist Aljoša Jurinić, will appear at the 70th anniversary edition of the Dubrovnik Summer Festival on 22 August.

In collaboration with the City of Dubrovnik and Star produkcija, the Dubrovnik Summer Festival is organising a spectacular concert of Italian operatic pop trio Il volo, who are celebrating 10 years of their career this year, and their concert in Dubrovnik will be held on 1 August. The spectacular closing ceremony of the Festival will take place on 25 August, with the concert of the Croatian Radio and Television Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Italian conductor Enrico Dindo, alongside another Italian, a virtuoso percussionist Simone Rubino.

The Festival programme traditionally includes performances of the Linđo Folklore Ensemble, as well as the collaboration with two film festivals, so the audience will have the opportunity to enjoy best films from Pula and Motovun. Exhibition programme of the 70th Dubrovnik Summer Festival begins on 12 July with the opening of the exhibition Lauba in Sponza Palace – Fascinations, and continues on 7 August at the former Radeljević Oil Factory with the opening of the Dubrovnik-based painter Dubravka Lošić’s exhibition Encounter at the Depot III, dedicated to the Festival, while the third exhibition this summer will be Marko Ercegović’s Festival Backstage, presenting the author’s photographs of interesting and otherwise invisible backstage events that occur during the Festival.

As part of the audience development programme City Keys, the Festival audiences will be presented with a number of different programmes, including the premiere of Vedran Benić’s two-part documentary City Festival, Festival City on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the Festival, co-produced by the Croatian Radio and Television and the Dubrovnik Summer Festival, and a three-day symposium Future of Ambience organised by the Dubrovnik Summer Festival on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of its exploration of ambience and site-specific performance as part of a two-year project Future Epics, which deals with development of new approaches to cultural heritage and is supported by the European Commission within the programme Creative Europe – Culture Sub-Programme. Book presentation accompanied by a documentary film screening dedicated to the great director Georgij Paro will take place at the Sponza Palace, while the programme The City Speaks Držić will be held at one of the favourite bars of Dubrovnik’s artists, Luči’s Libertina. The Festival off programme includes the presentation of the book Anamnesis – Art Dialogues in Public Space by Sandra Uskoković.

As part of the celebration of the Year of Orlando and the City Keys programme for children and youth, a puppet show of the Italian company Figli d’Arte Cuticchio The Frenzy of Orlando will be performed on the Revelin Fort Terrace. The Festival off programme includes workshops for children, How Plays are Made and Video Games, and youth workshop Anatomy of Shame, while Jasna Held will again be telling the most wonderful stories from the Dubrovnik area.

On the occasion of its big anniversary, the Festival is organising 70 Prizes for 70 Years of the Festival, a giveaway which will last during the entire festival season. Each purchased ticket contains a coupon which enables participating in the giveaway by dropping the coupon in designated boxes. The drawing will take place on 25 August. This year too, the Festival provides numerous discounts and affordable package deals as well as attractive Festival souvenirs. Purchasing with Mastercard® and Maestro® cards provides 10% discount. Purchase over 500 HRK provides a 30% discount voucher for souvenirs. Purchase of tickets for 2 theatre or 3 music performances provides a free ticket for one repeat theatre performance or music programme of choice. Tickets are available for purchase at the Festival website or via ticketing service and at the Box Office at the Festival Palace (Od Sigurate 1) every day from 9:00 to 21:30, as well as at performance venues two hours before the beginning of each programme.