The Final Week of The 74th Dubrovnik Summer Festival Brings Premieres and Classics

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August the 18th, 2023 – The final week of the 74th Dubrovnik Summer Festival brought with it the premiere of Marijana Fumić’s The Melancholy Women of Ragusa, as well as a well-known classic by the much loved Miljenko Smoje. That goes without mentioning incredible musical performances the closing concert. Read on for more…

The Melancholy Women of Ragusa

The fourth and last theatre premiere of this year’s Dubrovnik Summer Festival was Marijana Fumić’s The Melancholy Women of Ragusa, directed by Dora Ruždjak Podolski and performed by the Festival Drama Ensemble. This performance absolutely delighted the audience on the 17th of August in the gorgeous Gradac Park. It will remain on the festival programme until the 21st of this month and was supported by the Dubrovnik Summer Festival’s long-term partner, OTP bank. 

The Melancholy Women of Ragusa, paraphrasing William Shakespeare’s Merry Wives of Windsor, tells the story of nine exceptional women who did something for which history remembered them, and which makes them well worth mentioning even in the modern day. Those stories from the vast expanse of Dubrovnik’s centuries-long history evoke not only the bygone days of the glorious autonomous Republic of Dubrovnik, but also remind us all that some things have remained unchanged.

In addition to director Dora Ruždjak Podolski, the creative team consists of dramaturges Marijana Fumić and Stela Miškovic, set designer Stefano Katunar, costume designer Manuela Paladin Šabanović, stage movement advisor Saša Božić, composer Maro Market, lighting designer Elvis Butković, speech advisor Maro Martinović and stage manager Roko Grbin.

For this project packed full of free structure and research modality, Dora Ruždjak Podolski, who is also the Dubrovnik Summer Festival’s own artistic director, chose nine actresses as representatives of Croatian theatre, according to their expression, appearance and aura. Marija Gučetić is embodied by Nataša Dangubić, Filipa Menčetić by Gloria Dubelj, Maruša hodočasnica (pilgrim) by Anica Kontić, Jelena Dorotka as Hofmann Nataša Kopeč, Jelena Pucić Sorkočević as Iva Kraljević, Anica Bošković as Lana Meniga, Pavle Ćelović Lidija Penić-Grgaš, Lucija Miladinović Lucija Rukavina, Nika Našimoka Nikolina Prkačin, and all their men portrayed by Marin Klišmanić.

The talented Dora Ruždjak Podolski has otherwise directed over eighty dramas, operas, operettas and musicals. She has also directed awards ceremonies, the Dubrovnik Summer Festival’s own opening ceremony and the official celebration of Croatia’s accession to the EU back in July 2013. Way back in 2001, she founded the Association of Frustrated Theatre Directors (KUFER) alongside Franka Perković. They have been the leaders of the Ruždjak and Perković Art Organisation (RUPER) since 2012. She is also an Assistant Professor of Acting at the Zagreb Academy of Dramatic Art and the Zagreb Academy of Music. 

A concert evening in front of the Cathedral

The Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra will hold a concert on Monday, August the 21st at 21:30 with soprano Josipa Bilić under the baton of maestro Valentin Egel in front of Dubrovnik’s stunning cathedral. The select repertoire is framed by the compositions by skilled Czech composer Antonín Dvořák, and after a motet, a lavish concert piece Rejoice, be glad by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, after which a piece by the Dubrovnik composer and pianist Ivan Violić will be premiered.

An essential part of the rich and diverse cultural heritage of Dubrovnik and Croatia as a whole, the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra is set to continue with its long and significant Dubrovnik-oriented musical tradition and, since its founding way back in 1924, has continuously performed with well-known locally and internationally recognised artists, interpreting the works of baroque, classical and romantic masters.

On this occasion, they will host the young but already extremely successful soprano Josipa Bilić, who since her professional opera debut as a scholarship holder of the Croatian National Theatre Opera in Zagreb, has not only performed numerous opera and concert performances, but has also won many prestigious awards.

Equally successful is maestro Valentin Egel, who at the young age of just 26 became the Chief Conductor and Music Director of the Croatian National Theatre in Rijeka. In addition to performances with leading orchestras in famous concert halls and at all kinds of European festivals, Egel counts among his laureates the awards from the most prestigious competitions, and he was included in the list of ‘Maestros von Morgen’ by the German Music Council.

Camerata RCO arrives at the Rector’s Palace

The mixed string and wind ensemble, which brings together members of the esteemed Amsterdam Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (RCO), Camerata RCO, will perform for the first time at the Dubrovnik Summer Festival tonight (August the 18th) on the phenomenal Festival stage in the Rector’s Palace atrium at 21:30. The evening repertoire will also be comprised of works by the exceptionally talented Nino Rota and Johannes Brahms.

Camerata RCO is otherwise very well known for performing chamber music in various formations, from a duo to a smaller chamber orchestra, and they especially cherish the classical and romantic repertoire for wind and string instruments, as well as an active relationship with living composers. The ensemble, praised by the prestigious The New York Times for their “warm, sparkling performance”, enjoys an exceptional reputation in the Netherlands and elsewhere, and performs around fifty concerts in various musical capitals during the season. Their growing discography, published by Gutman Records, includes works by Corelli, Mozart, Mendelssohn, Mahler, Bruckner and Ravel, and more. Among their more notable recent performances are concerts with Barbara Hannigan and Matthias Goerne, and their debut at London’s Wigmore Hall.

Tickets for the concert are available via the festival website, via the Ulaznice (Tickets) portal, at the box office in the Festival Palace (Od Sigurate 1) every day from 09:00 until 21:30, and in front of the DTS building (Vukovarska Ulica/Street) from Monday to Friday from 10:00 until 17:00.

Miljenko Smoje’s cult classic is coming to Gradac

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of the famous Split journalist, writer and screenwriter Miljenko Smoje. His wildly poplar cult classic – Velo misto – influenced an entire generation and has been left imprinted on their hearts. This summer, the Dubrovnik Summer Festival’s stage on the Revelin Fort terrace takes the role of the City of Split, in a snapshot from the end of the first half of the twentieth century. To speak more specifically, on the 22nd, 23rd and 24th of August, the Zagreb City Theatre Komedija will perform Velo misto under the direction of Marina Pejnović, a director well-known to the Dubrovnik audience. They’ll speak with an indispensable dose of eternal Dalmatian humour surrounding the timeless and indomitable spirit of the people of Split and their beloved city. Ever since the premiere of Velo misto back in March, the level of interest has been huge, and tickets for all three performances at the 74th Dubrovnik Summer Festival have already been sold out.

The closing concert of the 74th Dubrovnik Summer Festival

The closing concert in front of the Cathedral is scheduled to take place on the 25th of August. The Opera Gala for the end of the festival will be hosted by the Croatian Radio and Television Symphony Orchestra and Choir under the baton of conductor Tomislav Fačini, with soprano Darija Auguštan, countertenor Franko Klisović, tenor Roko Radovan, and baritone Leon Košavić.


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