69th Dubrovnik Summer Festival Begins Soon

Lauren Simmonds

Copyright Romulic and Stojcic

Are you ready for the 69th Dubrovnik Summer Festival?

The raising of the Libertas flag to the verses of the Hymn to Liberty (Himna slobode) in front of St Blaise’s Church on Tuesday, the 10th of July at 21:00 will mark the opening of the 69th Dubrovnik Summer Festival, which will traditionally last until the 25th of August.

In 47 days, at 20 site-specific venues, approximately 2,000 artists from all over the world will present around 80 drama, music, dance, folklore and other programmes to the international audience of 60,000 domestic and foreign guests, it was announced on Wednesday, the 4th of July at the press conference held on the terrace of the Hotel Excelsior by Ivana Medo Bogdanović, Executive Director, Dora Ruždjak Podolski, Artistic Director, and her assistants Saša Božić, Theatre Programme Director, and Karolina Rugle, Innovative Cultural Practices Director. Mato Franković, Mayor of Dubrovnik, and Žaklina Marević, Deputy Prefect of the Dubrovnik-Neretva County expressed their support for the programme.

– I am exceptionally proud that we have realised everything we announced on Candlemas – the Artistic Director Dora Ruždjak Podolski stated, emphasising the success of the Festival in obtaining EU funds and its goals of promoting the young generation of actors and networking of artists. She added that the emphasis remains on the site-specific quality of the Festival. – We are ready, we have nothing to fear, we are counting on the citizens of Dubrovnik and the audience this programme is created for – the artistic director concluded.

The festival’s own productions are the staple of the drama programme, thus confirming the national, cultural and historic identity which the Dubrovnik Summer Festival has built during its nearly seven decades of existence, along with maintaining the model of the Festival Drama Ensemble as its unique feature. Also, the co-production model practice is intensified in order to prolong the life of the festival productions during the theatre season and enable them to reach wider national and regional audience.

The first premiere of the festival is Michelangelo by Sebastijan Horvat and Milan Matthis Marković, based on Miroslav Krleža’s drama Michelangelo Buonarroti, a co-production with the Croatian National Theatre Ivan pl. Zajc of Rijeka directed by Sebastijan Horvat. Appearing in the lead role of Michelangelo on the Island of Lokrum scene, Rakan Rushaidat will examine the eternal, but always current matter of the relation between art and money, that is, power and politics, which nowadays is more important than ever.

Well known to the festival audience as the director of the successful play Kate Kapuralica, this summer Dario Harjaček is preparing a selection of Ranko Marinković’s prose works titled Under the Balconies, dramatised by Vedrana Klepica. The common theme of Marinković’s stories is the Mediterranean and its bitter-sweet combinations, the irony that turns into cynicism and an isolated individual swept away by political storms and south wind. Marinković, Voltaire of the Island of Vis who had intimate and family ties to Dubrovnik, is obsessed with boundaries of the enclosed world, and the Mediterranean, like Dubrovnik, is exactly that way – reduced to boundaries and rituals.

The play will be premiered on the 18th of August in the University Campus Park. In collaboration with the Zagreb Academy of Dramatic Art, the play Countdown – at the wedding with Držić and Nalješković, directed by Lea Anastazija Fleger, Marina Pejnović and Hrvoje Korbar and performed by students of the Acting Department of the Zagreb Academy, will be premiered in the Minčeta Fort. This project redefines the idea of site-specific theatre, the type of theatre which has existed in Dubrovnik from the 14th century until the present day at the festival, and it includes the fragments from the works of Marin Držić and Nikola Nalješković, with a special emphasis on wedding plays. The project explores the characteristics of the wedding plays and customs in Renaissance Dubrovnik, as well as the wedding customs of modern-day Dubrovnik.

The play Correcting Rhythm, directed by Goran Sergej Pristaš and created in co-production of the BADco., the Drama of the Croatian National Theatre of Zagreb and the Dubrovnik Summer Festival, will be staged in Dubrovnik for the first time. Forty years after the publication of Pavao Pavličić’s story The Good Spirit of Zagreb, Goran Ferčec’s text returns to the theme of obsession with the rhythm of city life and the role of crime in it. The play will be performed in the Gruž Harbour warehouse, and the installations the shifting meaning by Marko Tadić and Time Bombs by BADco. will be set up in the same venue after the performances.

The audience will welcome repeat performances of last year’s hit play Marin Držić – Victory over the Enemies by Hrvoje Ivanković, directed by Ivica Boban and performed by the Festival Drama Ensemble.

The 69th Dubrovnik Summer Festival theatre programme also includes some of the best recent Croatian drama productions. The Zagreb Youth Theatre’s production of the play Black Mother Earth, written by Tomislav Novak, dramatised by Tomislav Zajec and directed by Dora Ruždjak Podolski, triumphed at the last year’s Croatian Theatre Awards. In the meantime, the play has been shown at many theatre and festival venues and it has won more than ten awards at various festivals. Dubrovnik audience will have the opportunity to see it on the Island of Lokrum on 16 July, while the successful production of the Croatian National Theatre of Zagreb, Mate Matišić’s play Men of Wax, directed by Janusz Kica, will be shown in Gradac Park at the end of August.

The Lero Student Theatre traditionally participates in the Festival programme, and this summer they will present their most recent production Small Bouquets and Pearls, directed by Davor Mojaš. Ballet lovers will not be left out, because the Festival brings one of the most interesting ballets of the last season, Death and the Dervish, produced by the Ballet of the Croatian National Theatre of Split, choreographed by Igor Kirov after the libretto of Saša Dimoski based on the motifs of Meša Selimović’s work of the same title, while the author of music is Goran Bojčevski.

The Bitef Theatre will present the ballet Macbeth, choreographed by Miloš Isailović and performed by the Bitef Dance Company. The ballet, based on Shakespeare’s play of the same title, uses dance as a starting point to depict the modern world – a dark world of conspiracy, crime, psychological deviations, desires and lust for power. In the interdisciplinary play Title, the Berlin-based choreographer and performer Clément Layes explores the complex relationship between things and meanings which we build around them with his specific humour, he establishes „war and peace“ between things and thoughts and does not hesitate to expose the noise of thoughts, as well as the spectacular silence of objects.

The youngest audience will also have the opportunity to enjoy dance at the performance of the awarded dance show Cartoon of the Belgian choreographer Anton Lachky, which is programmed for children six years of age and older and their families.

Carefully and originally conceptualised projects are the core of the music programme and the initial impulse for the development of innovation following the Dubrovnik Summer Festival tradition, thus retaining the festival’s poetic quality, but at the same time restoring its prominence. This has always made the festival a world famous and attractive venue for both presenting and attending events, in addition to its proficient approach and presentation of top quality music projects featuring a variety of ensembles, periods and genres which share high artistic quality.

The music programme will open in front of St Blaise’s Church on 11 July at 22:00 with the appearance of one of the world’s greatest cellists, Mischa Maisky, and the Zagreb Philharmonic conducted by Pier Carlo Orizio. The honour of closing the festival will be granted to the Croatian Radio and Television Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Daniele Rustioni, and top American organist Cameron Carpenter, who has already left a significant mark in the contemporary music history with his exceptional musicality, infinite technical abilities and his pioneering spirit. The Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra will perform Mozart’s Grand Mass in C minor with the Oratory Choir of St Mark’s Church, conducted by the young Russian conductor Maxim Emelyanychev, with soloists Leon Košavić, Ivana Lazar, Marija Kuhar Šoša and Krešimir Špicer, and they will also perform in concert at the Rector’s Palace Atrium with violinist Marin Maras, conducted by maestro Tibor Bogányi.

The Schumann Quartet is considered to be one of the best chamber ensembles in the world, and currently they are the resident ensemble of the Chamber Music Society at Lincoln Center in New York. They will perform in concert at the Rector’s Palace Atrium. The Ensemble 1700 will perform at the same venue with one of the most renowned countertenors in the world, Andreas Scholl. Top recitals will be given be the lead clarinettist of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra Andreas Ottensamer accompanied by pianist José Gallardo, Japanese cellist Yuya Okamoto, the winner of the Eugène Ysaÿe Award in last year’s international Queen Elizabeth Competition, and Ivan Krpan, who has become one of the most successful Croatian pianists in history by winning First Prize in the Ferruccio Busoni International Piano Competition in Bolzano last year.

One of the highlights of this summer is the recital of pianist Daniil Trifonov, who has recently performed in a series of seven sold out concerts at the Carnegie Hall and who has won, among many others, First Prize and Grand Prix in the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow and the Grammy Award in the category of Best Classical Instrumental Solo Performance at this year’s awards. Another unique music programme is titled Guitarrismo and it will gather eight eminent guitarists at the 69 th Festival exclusively for the occasion of performing together at the Rector’s Palace Atrium: Zoran Dukić, Petrit Çeku, Morana Pešutić, Tomislav Vukšić, Tvrtko Sarić, Krešimir Bedek, Pedro Ribeiro Rodrigues and Maroje Brčić. They will premiere Gordan Tudor’s composition for eight guitars. Dubrovnik in tune, sailing is the title of another special music night, presented by around twenty soloists from Dubrovnik in the Rector’s Palace Atrium. The programme is supported by the Caboga Stiftung Foundation, which is also the sponsor of three seven-day master classes lead by violinist Stefan Milenković, baritone Krešimir Špicer and pianist Maria João Pires respectively, which will be followed by free concert performances of the attendants on the last day of each master class.

Jazz is traditionally an important part of the Festival programme, and jazz diva and a multiple Grammy Award winner Dee Dee Bridgewater and the Croatian Radio and Television Jazz Orchestra conducted by Andreas Marinello guarantee top music experience this year. The concert is sponsored by Mastercard and it will be held in front of the Cathedral on the 18th of July. 

As the result of the collaboration of Dubrovnik Summer Festival and Adriatic Luxury Hotels, the Katona Twins guitar duo will perform in concert at the Vala Beach Club of Hotel Dubrovnik. Twins Peter and Zoltán skilfully combine classical music with more popular music genres and they will take Dubrovnik audience on a musical journey from Madrid to Buenos Aires. French accordionist Vincent Peirani and saxophonist Emile Parisien, who share a unique music style with improvisation as its main principle, will perform at the same venue.

Both are winners of prestigious awards, including ECHO Jazz in the category of Best International Ensemble in 2015.

Inside Out is the title of a unique music evening which will take place as part of the 69th Dubrovnik Summer Festival on 4 August. The first part will be held inside the City Walls, by the Great Onofrio Fountain, with appearance of the I.N.K. Experiment Duo, a dynamic and creative percussion duo composed of Ivana Kuljerić Bilić and Nikola Krbanyevitch, and robot percussion ensemble Chimères Orchestra, created by French authors from the collective Reso-nance Numérique led by Jerome Abel, with sound design and computer manipulation by engineer of electro-acoustics and artist Miodrag Gladović. The second part of the programme will take place outside the City Walls, in Orsula Park, where percussionists Ivana Kuljerić Bilić and Nikola Krbanyevitch will perform with the young quartet Chui, which already enjoys a cult status on the Croatian music scene.

Croatia’s rich dance and music heritage will be presented to the audience by LADO, the National Folk Dance Ensemble of Croatia, with their new programme The Recruits are Coming, and by the Linđo Folklore Ensemble with their traditional performances on the Revelin Fort Terrace, with the addition of the premiere of Dr Ivan Ivančan’s new choreography Wedding Dance of Podravina.

The Sponza Palace Atrium will be hosting an exhibition of Josip Pino Trostmann’s works titled Dubrovnik from Sveti Jakov with Two Palm Trees on the occasion of the artist’s eightieth birthday, and a group exhibition prepared by the Festival in collaboration with the Art Workshop Lazareti, which will present the works of contemporary artists of Dubrovnik under the title Horrors of Native Soil. Both exhibitions are part of the new festival programme City Keys aimed at audience development, which includes a conversation with authors Kristian Novak and Tomislav Zajec, which will accompany the performance of the play Black Mother Earth, and a lecture titled Tracing the Myth of Michelangelo on the occasion of the premiere of the play Michelangelo.

The lecture will be held by the art historian Tanja Trška at the Palace in Braće Andrijića Street. The premiere of the play Under the Balconies by Ranko Marinković will be accompanied by an exhibition and a conversation entitled Beyond the Mediterranean: Ranko Marinković in Dubrovnik, which will be held at the University of Dubrovnik with the participation of Morana Čale, Dario Harjaček and Vedrana Klepica, who will try to answer how the work of this Croatian Modernist goes beyond the horizon of local motifs and images and why his true native land is the Library of Babylon.

After the conversation, the visitors will have the opportunity to view an audio-visual installation dedicated to Ranko Marinković. Through numerous projects, programmes, exhibitions, plays and social events, the citizens will explore the ways in which we understand our own subjectivity and its temporality in relation to the theatre. The thought of the City, the history of its urbanity and character becomes a space for creating new worlds.

The round table entitled Space for difference? Possibilities for Culture in Dubrovnik will take place in Art Workshop Lazareti on 10 August and it will gather culture workers whose work or endeavours are related to the context of development and the condition of culture in the City of Dubrovnik. The moderator of the round table is Ana Žuvela. City Keys bring plenty of content for children. Dubrovnik’s musicians will perform Saint- Saën’s Carnival of the Animals in the Sponza Palace, Jasna Held will be telling folk tales and fairy tales from the vicinity of Dubrovnik in St Stephen’s Church in Pustijerna, Nenad Sinkauz will hold a music workshop Sound Factory where children will learn about the basics of improvisation, while the curators of the Bukovac House Lucija Vuković and Helena Puhara will hold an art workshop with the theme of perception of contemporary art.

The aim is to develop children’s relation towards contemporary art and its creative processes through workshops and interactive, creative approach, and to sensitise them to contemporary art and the Festival, thus raising new theatre, music and art audience.

The film programme of the Festival traditionally features the best Croatian film – the winner of the Grand Golden Arena at the Pula Film Festival, and this year the festival audience will have the opportunity to see Motovun in Dubrovnik – hidden projections of selected films from the Motovun Film Festival.

The Opening Ceremony is directed by Saša Božić, who is also the author of the script. Conducted by maestro Tomislav Fačini, the music is performed by the Zagreb Philharmonic, the WDR Children’s Chorus from Dortmund, the Pro musica Academic Choir from Mostar, the Dubrovnik Chamber Choir, the Libertas Mixed Choir and the Female klapa of the Linđo Folklore Ensemble. Along with the members of the Festival Drama Ensemble, the Linđo Folklore Ensemble and acting and dance students of the Academy of Dramatic Art in Zagreb will also perform, as well as the citizens of Dubrovnik, who play a special role in the ceremony this year.

– The total budget of the festival is 14 million kuna, of which the funds received from public sources amount to almost 9 million, the income of the festival and the income from ticket sales amount to 2 million kuna, while the sponsors and donors have supported us with almost 3 million kuna this year. The budget has increased primarily thanks to the donation of the Caboga Stiftung Foundation, but also due to increased sponsorship from the Adriatic Luxury Hotels with which we have prepared two festival programmes at the Vala Beach Club of the Hotel Palace.

Faithful sponsors include Mastercard, Hrvatska elektroprivreda, Tele2, Kraš, Ford, Croatia osiguranje and Croatia Airlines, as well as all of the the other partners, sponsors, donors without whom it would be impossible to organise a festival of this size.

Tickets can be purchased through the Festival website, through the ticket service, at the Box Office of the Festival Palace (Od Sigurate 1) every day from 09:00 to 21:30, and at event venues two hours prior to the announced start of the programmes.


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