In 2020 the Ljubljana Festival reaches its sixty-eighth edition. At last the time has come for art to return to the stage. Despite the current situation and the measures deriving from it, the principles guiding the festival will, as always, be excellence, creativity and the desire to offer the audience the best possible artistic experience and satisfy even the most demanding cultural enthusiasts. From July until September, we will see ballet and opera performances, musicals, chamber music and symphonic concerts, plays, the International Fine Arts Colony, the Ljubljana Festival on the Ljubljanica, masterclasses, and workshops for children and youngsters. The consequences of the coronavirus pandemic have caused uncertainty right up until the last moment, so we are proud to be able to host at this year’s festival the world-renowned opera singer Anna Netrebko, who is joined by the tenor Yusif Eyvazov for a concert of timeless opera arias, and the charismatic Jonas Kaufmann with a concert of stunning arias for tenor. Other highlights of the programme include: the opening concert featuring Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and Third Piano Concerto with pianist Dubravka Tomšič Srebotnjak and conductor Charles Dutoit, a jubilee concert marking the ninetieth birthday of pop composer Mojmir Sepe, the operettas Countess Maritza and Die Fledermaus, the ballet triptych Falling Angels, the opera Nabucco, the chamber orchestra I Solisti Veneti, violinist Lana Trotovšek and pianist Maria Canyigueral with a performance of Beethoven’s complete violin sonatas, the premiere of the musical Lolita by the St Petersburg theatre company LDM Novaya Scena, the closing concert by Milan’s famous Filarmonica della Scala orchestra, and many more besides. Particular attention will be devoted to the 250th anniversary of the birth of Ludwig van Beethoven, who is even more present in this year’s programme than usual.
An opening with the anthem of Europe conducted by Charles Dutoit
Festival proceedings will formally begin in July with a performance of the magnificent anthem of a united Europe, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, which in the opinion of many expresses the feeling of an unconditional connection between peoples and faith in humanist ideals. In a certain sense Ludwig van Beethoven spent his whole life creating this work, in that he poured into it everything he had learnt in the course of a lifetime of making music. It was only after completing the first three movements that he decided to incorporate vocal soloists and a chorus, a highly unorthodox choice at that time. The symphony, which he completed in early 1824, was a remarkably advanced work from the outset, above all because of the way it expanded the concept of a symphony orchestra, the orchestral forces required to perform it, and the message it conveyed. The first performance, conducted by an already almost totally deaf Beethoven, took place in Vienna in May of the same year, while from the historical point of view performances of the symphony have marked numerous special occasions. It was, for example, performed at the reopening of Wagner’s Bayreuth Festival Theatre after the Second World War, and again to celebrate the fall of the Berlin Wall. It has also become the anthem of the new, united Europe. On 2 July we will have the opportunity to hear this musical masterpiece performed by the Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir and the Megaron Chamber Choir under the baton of the highly decorated Swiss conductor Charles Dutoit, who was recently the recipient of the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Gold Medal and since 2018 has been principal guest conductor of the St Petersburg Philharmonic.
(1. 7., Congress Square)
Beethoven violin sonatas with Lana Trotovšek
On 3, 4 and 6 August Slovene violinist Lana Trotovšek will team up with Catalan pianist Maria Canyigueral to perform Beethoven’s complete violin sonatas over three evenings in the Knights’ Hall. Since her debut with the Mariinsky Orchestra under Valery Gergiev in 2012, Lana Trotovšek has performed with numerous world-famous orchestras, including the Moscow Soloists (with Yuri Bashmet), the London Symphony Orchestra under Gianandrea Noseda, the Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra (with Sergei Krylov), the orchestra of the Fondazione Teatro Lirico Giuseppe Verdi di Trieste under Tan Dun, the Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra, the Shanghai, Sarajevo and Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestras, the RTV Slovenia Orchestra and the Philadelphia Chamber Orchestra. In 2009 she completed postgraduate studies at the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London, where she now teaches. She plays a violin made by Pietro Antonio dalla Costa in 1750.
(3., 4. and 6. 8., Knights’ Hall)
ACCLAIMED SLOVENE AND INTERNATIONAL MUSICIANS AT THE LJUBLJANA FESTIVAL
Timeless opera arias
The enchanting and charismatic Russian soprano Anna Netrebko, with her astonishing vocal abilities, thrilling tone and first-rate acting talent, is an idol of the opera-going public. In recent years her varied repertoire has tended to focus on works from the late Romantic period, while her vocal maturity enables her to take on the central roles in the operas of Verdi and Wagner. The Azerbaijani tenor Yusif Eyvazov began his international career with a sensational performance as Turiddu in Mascagni’s Cavalleria rusticana in Milan. This was followed by success after success around the world and he has become one of the most sought-after tenors of his generation. Anna Netrebko and Yusif Eyvazov have been an inseparable couple both in life and on stage ever since their first performance together in Puccini’s opera Manon Lescaut in Rome in 2014. The iconic duo will be accompanied by the Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Michelangelo Mazza. The Italian conductor made his operatic debut with Verdi’s Falstaff at the Theatro Municipal de São Paulo in Brazil and quickly built an international reputation, further enhanced by regular collaborations with the international opera stars Anna Netrebko and Yusif Eyvazov at gala concerts in the world’s most prestigious concert halls.
(18. 8., Congress Square)
Jonas Kaufmann, a multifaceted artist
Jonas Kaufmann, a multifaceted artist who enchants audiences with the intensity, emotionality and beauty of his singing, appears at the 68th Ljubljana Festival in August. The great tenor will be accompanied by the RTV Slovenia Symphony Orchestra conducted by Jochen Rieder. Kaufmann appears regularly with the world’s leading orchestras and conductors, including the Berlin Philharmonic and Sir Simon Rattle. He has an extensive discography and his repertoire includes many of the most important tenor roles. Having begun his professional career at the Staatstheater in Saarbrücken, he soon began appearing in other German opera houses, including in Stuttgart and Hamburg, and then in opera houses around the world. He made his Salzburg Festival debut in 1999 in Busoni’s Doktor Faust. Following a well-received performance as Don José in Bizet’s Carmen at the Royal Opera House in the 2006/07 season, he returned to Covent Garden a year later as Alfredo in Verdi’s La Traviata. He sang the title role in Lohengrin on the opening night of the 2010 Bayreuth Festival.
(26. 8., Congress Square)
We Love Mozart and Song of Impermanence
In a year dedicated to Beethoven, the refined and elegant music of Mozart will add welcome variety to the festival programme. Mate Bekavac has been playing Mozart since he was 13. The Slovene clarinettist, conductor, artistic director and composer, an internationally acclaimed concert performer who has been described as the “Paganini of the clarinet”, studied with Béla Kovács in Graz and completed his MA at the Mozarteum in Salzburg at the tender age of 18. He frequently shares the stage with Slovenia’s most famous flautist, Irena Grafenauer, the winner of the 2005 Prešeren Prize in recognition of her lifetime achievements, who has performed as a soloist with the finest orchestras and conductors in the world today. Her remarkable discography also includes her participation in the mammoth Complete Mozart Edition project, which brings together Mozart’s complete works on 180 discs.
We will have two opportunities to hear Mate Bekavac at this year’s festival: at an evening of Mozart with flautist Irena Grafenauer and the Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra and in Song of Impermanence with the Slovenian Philharmonic String Chamber Orchestra.
(15. 7., Congress Square, 17. 7., Križanke Foyer)
CHAMBER ENSEMBLES NOT TO BE MISSED
Reviving Baroque music and musical heritage
The Wrocław Baroque Ensemble, which specialises in historically informed performance, brings together outstanding musicians and singers from Poland, Czech Republic, the United Kingdom and Germany. Founded in 2012, the ensemble focuses on the exploration of less well known repertoire from central Europe and devotes particular attention to Polish music from the Renaissance and Baroque periods. It boasts an impressive catalogue of recordings, including many award-winning albums. The Royal Castle in Warsaw and the Royal Cathedral in Cracow have for centuries been places of immeasurable importance for Poland: in them the fate of the Polish nation was decided and the country’s political, national and cultural identity shaped. From the sixteenth century to the eighteenth, the Royal Castle was the seat of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. Around the middle of this period, in the seventeenth century, music was composed for the two institutions by Grzegorz Gerwazy Gorczycki, Bartłomiej Pękiel, Marcin Mielczewski and Stanisław Sylwester Szarzyński. The Wrocław Baroque Ensemble performs regularly in Poland and is also a frequent guest at international festivals such as Wratislavia Cantans, the Usedom Music Festival and the Ohrid Summer Festival.
(14. 7., St James’s Church)
The Four Seasons with I Solisti Veneti
On 23 July the Ljubljana Festival welcomes I Solisti Veneti, the Italian chamber orchestra founded in 1959 by Claudio Scimone, who continued to lead the ensemble until his death in 2018. To date, the orchestra has performed almost 6,000 concerts in more than 90 countries and participates regularly at the most important international festivals. With a discography running to more than 350 titles, it also engages in a busy schedule of cultural and promotional activities. The ensemble has won numerous important awards and has collaborated with some of the most important singers and soloists of the age, including Plácido Domingo, José Carreras and June Anderson. I Solisti Veneti have revived hundreds of previously unknown works from the Italian musical heritage. Many leading composers of our era, among them Ennio Morricone, have dedicated works to them. In Ljubljana they will perform Vivaldi’s concerto cycle The Four Seasons, a famous baroque masterpiece, and works by Albinoni, Bottesini, Bazzini and Pasculli.
(23. 7., Križanke Foyer)
Sounds of the flute, harpsichord and viola da gamba
Flautist Boris Bizjak takes the stage of the Philharmonic Hall on 28 July. After graduating from the Ljubljana Academy of Music, where he studied with Fedja Rupel, this London-based Slovene musician studied with Marzio Conti in Florence. The winner of numerous competitions, he has performed as a soloist and chamber musician throughout Europe and in Japan, China and the United States of America. In 2016 he gave a series of concerts to mark the 25th anniversary of Slovenian independence. He is also active in the sound engineering field with Hedone Records, a label he founded. Recent successes include the silver medal for sound mixing/engineering at the 2016 Global Music Awards for an album he recorded with violinist Lana Trotovšek and pianist Maria Canyigueral. Bizjak is the founder of the biennial Blackheath International Chamber Music Festival and the London Brandenburg Soloists, with whom he regularly performs in the United Kingdom. He will be accompanied by two acclaimed Slovene interpreters of Baroque music who have performed throughout the world. Tomaž Sevšek Šramel is an assistant professor of organ at the Ljubljana Academy of Music. As an organist and harpsichordist, he works with the Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra and the RTV Slovenia Symphony Orchestra, as well as with choirs, chamber ensembles and well-known soloists. Domen Marinčič, for many years the artistic director of the Radovljica Festival, has participated in the recording of 35 albums for well-known labels. He has been a visiting professor at European universities and a speaker at international musicological symposia and has reconstructed the missing parts of incompletely preserved seventeenth- and eighteenth-century works for performance and publication purposes.
(28. 7., Križanke Foyer)
World premiere of an Austrian-Russian ensemble
The Gustav Mahler Ensemble was founded in 1996 by the violinist Elena Denisova and the pianist Alexei Kornienko. Its members are drawn from a select circle of soloists capable of creating unique musical experiences with faultless performances. The ensemble is a regular guest at the Wörthersee Classics Festival and frequently performs at the Konzerthaus in Vienna and other concert venues in the city. The Gustav Mahler Ensemble has performed to great acclaim in the Netherlands, Finland and Italy. Elena Denisova is an internationally acclaimed violinist who is not afraid to tackle the most demanding works. She is the founder of the Austria-based Gustav Mahler Association, the Gustav Mahler Ensemble and the music association Classic EtCetera, and the artistic director of the Wörthersee Classics Festival. She is active as a jury member in international violin competitions and also organises masterclasses.
Attention is immediately drawn in this programme by Beethoven’s Violin Concerto No. 2, which is in fact a transcription of the composer’s Piano Concerto No. 2, Op. 19, written by composer Franz Hummel at the suggestion of violinist Elena Denisova.
(21. 7., Knights’ Hall, Križanke)
Delicate sounds coaxed from piano by the fingers of a Russian pianist
Pianist Violetta Egorova has performed on many international concert platforms over the course of her career and is a regular guest of orchestras such as the State Academic Symphony Orchestra of the Russian Federation, the Moscow State Symphony Orchestra, the Kremlin Chamber Orchestra, the Orchestra del Festival Pianistico Internazionale di Brescia e Bergamo and the George Enescu Philharmonic Orchestra. She was nominated for an International Classical Music Award (ICMA) in 2015. She is an ambassador of the Russian classical music tradition, a teacher at the Accademia Pianistica Siciliana and Rachmaninov Academy in Catania, the founder of the Sergei Rachmaninov International Award and the artistic director of the international music festival Moscow ConcertFest.
(24. 7., Knights’ Hall, Križanke)
Founded by pianist Epifanio Comis, the Ensemble Goffriller is made up of musicians who are members of the teaching staff at the Vincenzo Bellini Conservatory in Catania (Sicily). The ensemble blends the pure lyricism of strings with the colour palette of the piano to form an ideal partnership that perfectly reflects all the refined characteristics of the sound of an ensemble of this type. Its excellence is guaranteed by the experienced musicians who make it up, all of them prize winners at national and international competitions and trained at the most prestigious Italian music academies such as the Accademia Musicale Chigiania in Siena and the Accademia Walter Stauffer in Cremona, and active in the most important symphony orchestras and chamber orchestras in the country. The ensemble’s flexible line-up allows it to cover a diverse repertoire ranging from the Baroque to the music of the twentieth century. It maintains close contacts with several contemporary composers, whose new works created specifically for the ensemble are an opportunity for it to further refine its distinctive and subtly poetic interpretive conception.
(31. 7., Knights’ Hall, Križanke)
Anima Musicae Chamber Orchestra
The Anima Musicae Chamber Orchestra, consisting of the best students at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest, was founded in 2010 by the violinist László G. Horváth. The orchestra performs regularly in prestigious venues such as the Liszt Academy in Budapest, the Festetics Palace, the Musikverein in Vienna and the Magyar Rádió Marble Hall. The orchestra has won numerous awards and garnered international attention in 2011 when it won the 5th Summa Cum Laude International Youth Music Festival at the Musikverein in Vienna, followed by victories at competitions in Hungary and in Paris in 2014. In 2012 Anima Musicae became the first musical ensemble to be awarded a Junior Prima prize by Hungary’s Prima Primissima Foundation. The following year the orchestra launched a workshop that aims to make contemporary music more accessible and comprehensible to audiences via illustrative discussions and in this way popularise the genre.
(5. 8., Knights’ Hall, Križanke)
For more than three decades the Monte Carlo–based Aïghetta Quartet has been delighting audiences around the world with its eclectic concert programmes that transcend genre boundaries. The quartet debuted in 1982 with a performance of Joaquín Rodrigo’s Concierto Andaluz for four guitars and orchestra with the Monte Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra. This debut was followed by an extensive European tour, through which Aïghetta cemented its reputation as an ensemble with an innovative and fascinating sound characterised by a balance of voices sounding as one. For this concert, the quartet has prepared a programme that includes works by lesser-known names such as the early-nineteenth-century Italian composer Ferdinando Carulli alongside arrangements of extracts from Rossini’s The Barber of Seville, Bizet’s Carmen and Kurt Weill’s The Threepenny Opera. The programme will also feature original compositions by members of the Aïghetta Quartet, who have become increasingly active as composers in recent years and whose works show the influences of jazz, flamenco, tango and classical music.
(10. 8., Knights’ Hall, Križanke)
Claripiano is a duo consisting of pianist Tatjana Kaučič and clarinettist Dušan Sodja, whom love has united not only in music but also in life. This intimate connection is reflected in brilliant performances full of love and feeling. The two musicians, both members of the Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra, founded Claripiano in 1994, since which time they have given numerous well-received concerts and participated in several successful projects both in Slovenia and abroad and created an extensive discography in which works by Slovene composers have a prominent place. Their performances of these works around the world have led Slovene composers to name them “ambassadors of Slovene music”. Both members of the duo are graduates of the Ljubljana Academy of Music and completed postgraduate studies at the Mozarteum in Salzburg. Their creative journey has benefited in particular from their association with bassoonist Božidar Tumpej, composer Ivo Petrić and pianist Anthony Spiri at the Hochschule für Musik in Cologne. On this occasion the clarinet and piano will be heard in two masterful works by Schumann and Berg from the standard repertoire and arrangements of a selection of Mahler’s orchestral songs, which represent a particular challenge for a duo. Three works by Slovene composers of three different generations – Lipovšek, Lebič and Vulc – share the same compositional excellence and affinity for the voice. The vocal part is taken here by the clarinet.
(11. 8., Knights’ Hall)
Double bassist Božo Paradžik accompanied by pianist Hansjacob Staemmler
Božo Paradžik, born in Zagreb in 1969, studied the double bass with Jiří Hudec at the Academy of Music in Prague. Since 2000, when he released his debut CD on EMI, he has built an impressive career as a soloist and become one of the internationally most renowned and sought after double bassists in the world. As a chamber musician he works with the finest instrumentalists of our time; as a member of various orchestras, he has played under the baton of the most important conductors. He also enjoys passing on his great expertise to younger generations. He has been an assistant professor of double bass at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts since 2010 and has also taught at the academies of music in Amsterdam, Detmold, Freiburg im Breisgau and Lausanne. His extensive repertoire mainly covers works from the early Classical to the late Romantic periods. He will be accompanied on the piano by Hansjacob Staemmler, who began playing with the Ensemble Berlin, consisting of soloists from the Berlin Philharmonic, while still a student at the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler in Berlin. He completed his studies in Berlin under Georg Sava and has attended masterclasses with Daniel Barenboim and Menahem Pressler. Today he accompanies numerous well-known musicians and singers throughout the world.
(12. 8., Knights’ Hall, Križanke)
The notes of Tartini and the sounds of the violin
Violinist Črtomir Šiškovič, considered one of the finest interpreters of the works of Giuseppe Tartini, has been devoting himself to the performance of Baroque music for more than twenty years, with a particular focus on Tartini and his pupils. He was the first violinist of the Tartini Quartet (an acclaimed Slovene string quartet), with which he won a Prešeren Fund Prize for outstanding artistic achievements in 2001. As a soloist he performs music ranging from Baroque to contemporary, with a particular focus on composers from the Slovene-speaking areas of the Adriatic Littoral. A regular guest of the Ljubljana Festival, he returns this year with a concert in Križanke’s Devil’s Courtyard on 13 August.
(13. 8., Devil’s Courtyard, Križanke)
A pinnacle of choreography
Contemporary ballet triptych Falling Angels will be performed in Congress Square as part of this year’s festival by the dancers of the Slovene National Theatre Maribor. All three contemporary ballet pieces – Falling Angels by Jiři Kylián, Handman by Edward Clug and Left Right Left Right by Alexander Ekman – were originally commissioned by the Netherlands Dance Theatre (NDT). The dancers are faced with the huge challenge of implementing the visions of three different choreographers, but their synchronised cooperation achieves remarkable results – the effect is playful but the mechanism that drives them is honed with military precision. Edward Clug, the Romanian-born artistic director of the Maribor Ballet, is on his way to becoming one of the most in-demand choreographers in Europe and ranks among the finest choreographers and dancers in the world. His Maribor productions – from Tango to Peer Gynt, from Radio & Juliet to The Rite of Spring – have been presented and continue to be presented all over the world. Clug has received numerous national and international accolades for his work, including a Prešeren Fund Prize in 2005 and a Glazer Award in 2008.
(13. 7., Congress Square)
TWO POPULAR OPERETTAS AND A FAMOUS OPERA
A jewel of an operetta from Vienna’s “Waltz King”
On 6 July the Slovene National Theatre Maribor brings its production of Strauss’s famous operetta Die Fledermaus (The Bat) to Congress Square. This complex and fascinating tale of intrigue, adultery, ambition and seemingly carefree fun – all in magnificent costumes – is unquestionably one of the shiniest jewels created by Vienna’s “Waltz King” Johann Strauss II and has been staged countless times all over the world. Directed by Stanislav Moša, a Czech theatre and musical director, lyricist and librettist who is also the artistic director and manager of Brno City Theatre, the production features soloists and guests from the Maribor Opera and the SNG Maribor Orchestra conducted by Simon Robinson.
(6. 7., Congress Square)
Verdi’s famous opera performed by the Slovene National Theatre Ljubljana
Verdi’s opera Nabucco is one of the Italian composer’s most popular and enduring works. With his third opera, which debuted at La Scala in Milan, the young Giuseppe Verdi achieved a triumph that paved his path to worldwide fame and permanently inscribed his name in the history of music. The beauty of this opera rests on its expressive recitatives that flow into lyrical arias and ensembles. The most prominent role, however, is that of the chorus. The Old Testament story of the freeing of the Israelites from their Babylonian captivity so inspired Verdi that he used Temistocle Solera’s libretto to create a perfect allegory of the fate of his own nation, then struggling to free itself from the Habsburg imperial yoke. One effect of this was that Verdi (willingly or otherwise) became a symbol of the Risorgimento. Nabucco was first staged at the Ljubljana Opera in 1959 and was revived in 2001 to mark the centenary of Verdi’s death.
(20. 8., Congress Square)
Komedija Theatre revives Countess Maritza
Zagreb’s Komedija Theatre has revived the opera Countess Maritza after a gap of twenty years. This revival, adapted by Lada Kaštelan, is directed by Ozren Prohić. Alongside The Gypsy Princess, already performed at the Ljubljana Festival, Countess Maritza is the best known operetta by Emmerich Kálmán and one of the supreme examples of the genre. It was premiered in Vienna in 1924, with a performance that lasted six and a half hours because the enthusiastic applause of the audience meant that the cast were constantly having to repeat numbers, after the fashion of the period. The story tells of a rich, beautiful, witty and independent countess who wishes to be rid of importunate suitors who are only interested in her fortune. In order to be able to enjoy life in peace while waiting for true love, she invents a fictitious fiancé, but things do not go according to plan. The operetta, which alludes to “Viennese operetta” features rich melodies, waltzes, ensemble scenes and an extended finale consisting of several parts, where dance also plays a prominent role.
(8.9., Congress Square)
A RUSSIAN MUSICAL OF CINEMATIC DIMENSIONS
LDM Novaya Scena returns to the Ljubljana Festival for the second year in a row, having thrilled audiences at last year’s 67th Ljubljana Festival with the musicals Onegin’s Demon and The Master and Margarita. This St Petersburg theatre company is noted for its stunningly realised productions, with costumes and sets designed with perfectionist attention to detail and 3D video projections that conjure up a spectacle of cinematic visual dimensions around the live performers. Lolita is a large-scale and complex production that somehow manages to combine traditional Russian theatre with Broadway standards. Based on Vladimir Nabokov’s homonymous novel, one of the most controversial books of the twentieth century, the musical Lolita will be performed in Ljubljana on 24 and 25 August. Nabokov’s novel caused a considerable stir when first published in 1955 but quickly attained classic status and today appears in several notable lists of best books. While there have been several adaptations of the book for film and stage, this production is an opportunity to experience a “horror” musical with the captivating 13-year-old Lolita.
(24., 25. 8., Cankarjev Dom)
SLOVENE THEATRICAL PRODUCTIONS
Berger’s The Hostage based on the play by Paul Claudel
Paul Claudel was one of the most important French literary figures of the twentieth century. A writer of symbolist verse dramas, he devoted most of his attention to questions of Catholicism, exoticism and love. The theories and views of the twentieth-century French psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan were influential among leading French intellectuals of the 1960s and 1970s. This performance by the Anton Podbevšek Theatre combines Claudel’s The Hostage and Lacan’s Commentary on Claudel’s La Trilogie des Coûfontaine (in Slovene translations by Igor Lampret and Alenka Zupančič). Claudel’s The Hostage is a drama about the paradox of the forced choice implied through the ideological pillars of State, Church, the class struggle, love and money.
(10. 7., Križanke Foyer)
Livija Pandur continues the work of Tomaž Pandur
On 27 August the Marin Držić Theatre from Dubrovnik offers theatre lovers its production of Euripides’ tragedy Alcestis, directed by Livija Pandur. The play is the oldest surviving tragedy by Euripides and deals with several themes that are still relevant to the age we live in, and therefore continues to be staged around the world. “The play talks about loss, loneliness and about that glory because of which Greek heroes become immortal. For us, Alcestis too is immortal, precisely because of her sacrifice,” says the director, emphasising her successful collaboration with the acclaimed Croatian dramaturge Lada Kaštelan. The role of Alcestis is played by Katarina Stegnar, who is also a member of the company at the Mladinsko Theatre in Ljubljana. Livija Pandur believes that in theatre all roles must complement each other, which is why she invited her regular theatrical partners to work with her on this production: set designer Sven Jonke, musical duo Silence (Boris Benko and Primož Hladnik) and photographer Aljoša Rebolj.
(27. 8., Križanke Foyer)
Premiere at this year’s summer festival
Wajdi Mouawad’s drama Birds of a Kind (Tous des oiseaux) shot to international fame last year and now receives its Slovene premiere in this Mini Teater production. In this family saga about a Jewish family with international roots, Lebanese-Canadian playwright Mouawad, who is currently based in France, focuses on the Other as an absolute idea. From the depths of history appears the figure of a Muslim diplomat who is kidnapped and given to the Pope as a gift, whereupon he is forced to convert to Catholicism. Part political thriller and part emotionally charged love story, Birds of a Kind offers a metaphorical picture of humanity as a planet entirely populated by birds and attempts to go a step further in the examination of consciences with regard to responsibility for wartime atrocities. Ivica Buljan has been a theatre director since 1995, working in Slovenia, his native Croatia and numerous European countries. He has won several international theatre awards for his work, including the Borštnik Ring at the Maribor Theatre Festival and a Prešeren Fund Prize. He is a Chevalier of the French Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. Since 2019 he has been the director of the Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb.
(2. 9., Križanke Foyer)
The RTV Slovenia Symphony Orchestra and RTV Slovenia Big Band mark an important milestone in the life one of the most important composers of Slovene popular music, Mojmir Sepe, with a jubilee concert on his ninetieth birthday. The programme will focus on his symphonic and big band compositions, his film music and some of his best-known songs. Mojmir Sepe has earned himself a permanent place in the musical history of Slovenia with eternally beautiful compositions that still have the power to touch us deeply today. For example the moving songs he created with his wife Majda Sepe, one of Slovenia’s greatest singers of popular song, or the humorously entertaining fruits of his collaboration with Frane Milčinski, aka Ježek, to mention but two of the many singers with whom Mojmir Sepe worked closely. A trained trumpeter, he played in the Radio Ljubljana Dance Orchestra from 1949 until 1970. During this period he also founded the Mojmir Sepe Ensemble and recorded one of the first jazz albums in what was then Yugoslavia. He later became a programme editor for popular music at Radio Ljubljana and was also active as a composer. In the 1960s and 1970s he was a regular presence at the Slovene Song Festival as a conductor and songwriter. Mojmir Sepe may legitimately be called the father of Slovene popular song and chanson.
(8. 7., Congress Square)
TRADITIONAL PERFORMANCES AT THE LJUBLJANA FESTIVAL
Fifth Acoustic in Križanke’s Devil’s Courtyard
The magical and intimate atmosphere of the Devil’s Courtyard (Peklensko dvorišče) once again serves as the venue for the now traditional summer acoustic concert by Tomaž Domicelj at the Ljubljana Festival. Fifth Acoustic is in fact the fifth showcase by this pioneering Slovene singer-songwriter, a veritable icon of the genre. A continuation of his previous performances under the Pure Acoustic banner, this new spectacle will be both a summary of his most interesting compositions with lyrics and a fresh presentation of some of his purely instrumental compositions. This year’s guest, whose improvisational creativity is certain to make a major contribution to Domicelj’s vision, is accordionist Jure Tori from central Slovenia’s coal mining district. Best known as a member of the folk-rock group Orlek, Tori has performed on five continents, in numerous capital cities and in countless major venues over the course of his colourful career. His own recording projects have brought the accordion from folk music via classical music and poetry to tango. Fifth Acoustic will also include some original compositions by Jure Tori. While these may be familiar from his albums and concerts, this will be the first time they are performed by an accordion and acoustic guitar duo.
(5. 7., Križanke Foyer)
A guest of the Ljubljana Festival for almost three decades
Vlado Kreslin’s velvet voice and endlessly poetic words have been creating a special Slovene musical story for decades, with sold-out concerts and a huge number of fans of all ages. The softness of the melodies and the timeless messages full of wisdom that define the music of Vlado Kreslin are captured in an impressive discography that includes a long list of hits. Although his background is in rock music, specifically the groups Horizont and Martin Krpan, with which he established his career as a young man, his talent has revealed itself most clearly in a personal, confessional genre, in a revival of folk music that lies at the intersection between the singer-songwriter genre and traditional chanson. He has performed with numerous Slovene and international musicians over the course of his long musical career, but we most frequently hear him in the company of Mali Bogovi and Beltinška Banda. Vlado Kreslin’s music can move an audience to tears, join lovers in an embrace and get the crowd moving on the dancefloor. Once again this year, Kreslin will sing a farewell to summer at Križanke.
(28. 8., Križanke Foyer)
This year’s Summer Night concert will accompany summer into autumn
This year the traditional Summer Night concert will be dedicated to one of the pillars of popular music and big band jazz in Slovenia – the former radio Ljubljana Dance Orchestra, today’s RTV Slovenia Big Band. The orchestra’s solid artistic foundations were laid by its first conductor Bojan Adamič, himself a noted composer of film music. From the 1960s onwards the orchestra’s musical success story continued under the extraordinary Jože Privšek, who dedicated more than 4,000 arrangements and compositions to it. The orchestra’s artistic development entered a new phase in 1992 when current conductor Lojze Kranjčan took over the reins. For the last two decades the Big Band’s members have included young musicians who have studied at well-known jazz academies around the world and are virtuoso performers on their instruments. The Big Band’s artistic committee currently consists of Adam Klemm, Aleš Suša and Blaž Trček, all of whom are active members of the ensemble, while its other permanent conductor is Tadej Tomšič. The RTV Slovenia Big Band will be joined at the Summer Night concert by a number of special guests, among them musicians, singers and conductors who have marked the career of this unique professional orchestra over the years.
(3. 9., Congress Square)
Ljubljana Festival on the Ljubljanica
The Ljubljana Festival on the Ljubljanica is a festival of chamber music that this year reaches its fourth edition as part of this summer’s 68th Ljubljana Festival. Take a trip aboard a pleasure boat on the Ljubljanica, a river with a rich history, and let students from the Ljubljana Conservatory of Music and Ballet and the Ljubljana Academy of Music charm you with their youthful energy and musical talent. Surrender to enchanting melodies as you take in the riverside sights of Ljubljana’s Old Town.
(29. 6.–1. 7.)
Fine Arts Colony
In July Križanke will host the 23nd International Fine Arts Colony, led by selector Tomo Vran. Children have an opportunity to develop their talents at free themed creative workshops: a dance workshop called Committed to Steps and the Little Art Colony.
(13.–17. 7., Križanke)
Jože Pohlen (Hrastovlje, 1926 – Gažon, 2005) belongs to the post-war generation of sculptors who enrolled at the Academy of Fine Arts in Ljubljana in the 1946/47 academic year and from the early 1950s onwards established themselves on the Slovene art scene alongside their teachers, who left a profound mark on the sculptural explorations of the period. Hommage à Jože Pohlen will be on view in the Atrium at Križanke. The exhibition is curated by Nelida Nemec.
(18. 8.–30. 9., Atrium)
This year’s 68th Ljubljana Festival will also include a series of masterclasses. These will take place at the Ljubljana Conservatory of Music and Ballet under the artistic direction of Branimir Slokar, who has nurtured many remarkable trombonists over the course of his long and fruitful career. Young musicians will be able to attend the masterclasses as soloists or as members of a chamber group. The masterclasses are led by nine internationally renowned teachers: violinist Latica Honda-Rosenberg, violist Guy Ben-Ziony, cellist Jens Peter Maintz, oboist Emanuel Abbühl, flautist Felix Renggli, pianist Epifanio Comis, trumpeter Matthias Höfs, horn player Alessio Allegrini and trombonist Jonas Bylund.
(20. 7.–2. 8., Ljubljana Conservatory of Music and Ballet)
CLOSING OF THE 68th LJUBLJANA FESTIVAL
The 68th Ljubljana Festival will come to a close in Congress Square on 30 August with a performance by the Filarmonica della Scala orchestra from Milan conducted by Fabio Luisi. The concert programme will consist of the Overture to Oberon by Carl Maria von Weber and Ludwig van Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major, Op. 58 and Symphony No. 6 in F major, Op. 68. The Filarmonica della Scala numbers many first-rate Italian musicians in its ranks. It was established in 1982 by Claudio Abbado and the musicians of the Teatro alla Scala in Milan, with the aim of developing a symphonic repertoire to add a further dimension to La Scala’s great operatic tradition. The orchestra works closely with many acclaimed conductors and soloists, Fabio Luisi is principal conductor of the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, music director of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and general music director of the Zurich Opera; Alessandro Taverna has won major prizes at the Minnesota Piano-e-Competition, the London International Piano Competition, the Leeds International Piano Competition and the Busoni Piano Competition in Bolzano and his performances have impressed critics and audiences throughout the world.
(31. 8., Congress Square)
SPONSORS AND SUPPORTERS
We would like to express our sincere thanks to the City of Ljubljana and its mayor Zoran Janković, without whose generous support it would not be possible to put on a festival programme lasting more than two months. We would also like to express our gratitude to all our sponsors and supporters. Thanks are also due to the media for their coverage of our events, and to all who attend the festival.
The advance ticket sales period is not the same for all events. Advance tickets are available for one month from the date tickets go on sale for an individual event. Advance tickets are available to the general public at a 10% discount and to Ljubljana Festival Club members at a 20% discount. To become a member of the Club, visit ljubljanafestival.si/klub/, where you can also purchase tickets. Tickets are available from the Križanke box office, A&Z outlets, Petrol service stations, post offices, Kompas shops and railway ticket offices in Ljubljana, Celje, Koper and Maribor.
“This year the participation of Delo, for many years a traditional partner and general media sponsor of the Ljubljana Festival, is particularly important. We are proud that together with the Ljubljana Festival we can do our part to revive cultural life in Slovenia’s capital following the severe restrictions experienced as a result of the coronavirus epidemic. The wonderful programme of the 68th Ljubljana Festival will restore at least some life to the settings we have known and will enrich the lives of all those who love culture. That includes those who follow the content of our media in printed and electronic form. Through presentations of festival events, Delo can offer its readers high-quality and culturally rich content, while through our media the Ljubljana Festival can raise its own profile and the cultural awareness of our readers. It is therefore our common task to enhance cultural life in Slovenia. For many years now, our exemplary collaboration has successfully brought culture closer to the general public. Our partnership is therefore important for all our readers and the users of our website, since together we can be even more successful at maintaining and expanding cultural awareness in Slovenia.”
Delo, d. o. o.
“Every summer the Ljubljana Festival brightens up life in Slovenia’s capital and creates memorable experiences. In doing so, it connects guests, artists, citizens and visitors together in a rich cultural network. We are also #connected by cutting-edge technology services.”
Telekom Slovenije, d. d.
“Now, more than ever before, it is important to have a vision that benefits people and the environment. For the 68th year, the Ljubljana Festival is demonstrating the important part that art plays in our lives and showing that a clear vision makes it possible to overcome even the most difficult obstacles, such as the current pandemic. We are proud to play a part in creating this story, one that delights audiences in the centre of Ljubljana year after year. By supporting projects such as the Ljubljana Festival, Petrol is giving something back to society and following a path that is paved with the values that constantly accompany Petrol’s employees, shareholders, customers, suppliers and other stakeholders. We wish all the citizens of Ljubljana, and all the citizens of Slovenia, a summer full of cultural superlatives, and we hope and believe that one of the most successful festivals in this part of Europe will soon also be accessible to those visitors from other European countries who have always represented an important part of its audience.”
Petrol, d. d.
“At Krka we have been aware ever since our company’s founding that it is not only good business results that matter but also things that enable a better quality of life for people in the environment we operate in. There is more to achieving our mission of living a healthy life than just providing high-quality, safe and effective products and services, and in fact we take a much broader view of it. Since the very beginning we have been conscious that art adds value to life and is extremely important for the culture of the nation. It is therefore no coincidence that we have always endeavoured to brighten up the daily lives both of our employees and of the environment we operate in with a wide range of socially responsible activities and cultural and artistic events. Over the course of the last 66 years, Krka has consolidated its position as one of the leading generic pharmaceutical companies in the world. Our reputation is based on high-quality products and business performance. At the same time, however, we continue to be mindful of culture, which is a permanent element of our business philosophy. We understand culture as a unique symbiosis of work and art. We are therefore proud that through our sponsorship of events at the Ljubljana Festival, one of the oldest and best known festivals in Europe, we are enabling visitors to enjoy a wide variety of cultural events in Slovenia. By supporting these events, we are also showing our support for art and for those who create it and enrich society through their work.”
Krka, d. d.
“The Ljubljana Festival and BTC have something in common: a love of art and everything beautiful. We agree with the festival’s organisers that it is also worth cultivating this love in the different times we are living through today. Precisely because of the special conditions we are facing this year, we believe that the international summer festival will give our summer and our capital city a unique vibrancy. BTC has been supporting organisations, and events and individual friends of the arts for many years now, and we are happy to be a part of cultural experiences of such a high calibre. We are loyal supporters of the summer festival. Within its first-class programme of the highest international quality, we frequently support Slovene musicians, singer-songwriters, classical performers and pop and rock artists. This year we are proud to support the cycle of sonatas by Ludwig van Beethoven performed by the talented violinist Lana Trotovšek and the Spanish pianist Maria Canyigueral. Three August evenings in the company of these two fine musicians will undoubtedly renew our confidence in life and our gratitude for all that it brings us.”
BTC, d. d.
Thank you for your interest in the Ljubljana Festival programme.
More information at ljubljanafestival.si.
Information / Public relations
Tel.: +386 (0)1 241 60 19
The founder of the Ljubljana Festival is the City of Ljubljana, which also provides financial support.
General sponsor of the 68th Ljubljana Festival: Zavarovalnica Sava, d. d.
Sponsors: JP Voka Snaga, d. o. o., Energetika Ljubljana, d. o. o., Spar Slovenija, d. o. o., Telekom Slovenije, d. d., Petrol, d. d., Riko, d. o. o., Krka, d. d., Zavarovalnica Triglav, d. d., SŽ-Potniški promet, d. o. o., Trimo, arhitekturne rešitve, d. o. o., Lekarna Ljubljana, Geoplin, d. o. o., Plinovodi, d. o. o., Javna razsvetljava, d. d., Fraport Slovenija, d. o. o., Four Points by Sheraton Ljubljana Mons, Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel, Ljubljana
Sponsors of individual events: Zavarovalnica Sava, d. d., Delo, d. o. o., Spar Slovenija, d. o. o., Telekom Slovenije, d. d., Petrol, d. d., Riko, d. o. o., Krka, d. d., Zavarovalnica Triglav, d. d., Trimo, arhitekturne rešitve, d. o. o., Poslovni sistem Mercator, d. d., UniCredit banka Slovenije, d. d., Geoplin, d. o. o., Plinovodi, d. o. o., BTC, d. d., Interenergo, d. o. o.
General media sponsor: Delo, d. o. o.
Media sponsors: Europlakat, d. o. o., Dnevnik, d. d., Finance, d. o. o., Fraport Slovenija, d. o. o., Infonet media, d. d., Radio 1, Media24, Radio Aktual, Radio Center, Kobe, d. o. o.
Friends of the Ljubljana Festival: NP consulting, d. o. o., Intral mednarodna trgovina, d. o. o., Elektro Ljubljana, d. d.
Partners of the 2020 Ljubljana Festival: RTV Slovenija, Slovenska filharmonija, SNG Opera in balet Ljubljana, Cankarjev dom, Austria Trend Hotels, Silič uglaševanje Klavirjev, d. o. o.
Mobility partners: Avtohiša Malgaj, d. o. o., Avto Aktiv, d. o. o., LPP, d. o. o.
Event rail partner: Slovenske železnice
Official wine supplier: Vinakoper
The founder of the Ljubljana Festival is the City of Ljubljana. The Festival has been a member of the European Festivals Association (EFA) since 1977.