July 15, 2020 – The 66th Split Summer Festival was officially opened on Tuesday evening at Peristyle with Verdi’s opera I Lombardi alla Prima Crociata.
This year’s edition, respecting all epidemiological measures, brings art back to the ancient stages under the starry night sky. Mayor Andro Krstulovic Opara pointed out in his speech that art does not stop at challenges and crises, but is the crown of the crisis and everything that comes with it, giving many artists additional inspiration. Like last year, he called to maintain measures and civic decency and not to surrender to the greed that has disrupted human lives:
“Dear respected citizens of Split, esteemed dignitaries and guests, loyal viewers and listeners of HRT and all friends and admirers of Split, art and our Split Summer!
I am happy that we are here tonight and that this great cultural event, extremely precious and significant to all of us, has not been interrupted, despite the unfavorable circumstances. Yes, health and safety are above everything, but life must go on. And we move on. Without fear.
Art does not stop at challenges and crises, on the contrary, it was the corona crisis and a kind of social alienation caused by the necessary social distance that gave space and time to many artists for additional inspiration and an even stronger impulse of creativity that they can’t wait to bring to their audience.
This year’s special Split summer opens with I Lombardi. There is a lot of symbolism in this powerful Verdi opera imbued with tenderness, piety, determination and patriotic enthusiasm. From here, from the Imperial Peristyle, we will symbolically pay tribute to the attacked people of Lombardy and send a message of strength and invincibility of art and creation, but also the victory of all of us.
Last year, I invited you to take back public spaces again, when no one even dreamed that the coronavirus and the crisis caused by it would bring us back to the city and nature, which, thank God, has regenerated. Despite the trouble, or rather, precisely because of it, we returned to family and the enjoyment of everyday life that we often took for granted. The epidemic reminded us of true values, we focused on the essentials, and we successfully adapted and learned to tame the virus that we do not allow to take over our lives. I’m sure we learned this lesson.
I wish these circumstances also reminded me of my last year’s thought and plea not to succumb to the greed that has disrupted our lives and distorted natural priorities. I have called and am now calling to maintain the measures, and that we have civic decency and respect for everything around us, and above all, the person next to us. Are we humble enough to accept that lesson? Split recognized that. I am convinced of that.
We live one strong warning. One hundred years ago, during the Spanish flu that plagued our city as well, my predecessors took care of the future of the City. And they endeavored with the citizens, after that terrible warning, altogether turned to creation and beauty which had a healing effect.
In the last century, young people, athletes, and especially artists regenerated our city. Jedinstvo was also founded, and our theater flourished, so, for example, our alleyways and city streets were filled with the music of maestro Tijardovic,” Opara said, and continued:
“The art of living with measures and the necessary restraint in the new circumstances was transformed into this year’s Split Summer. And it is the fruit of the courage and determination of the people who, despite threats, have returned art to our squares and streets, where it has always belonged and where it will always belong. It is up to us to give art an additional well-deserved place. It is needed for our City and me to recover.
I invite you, dear citizens of Split, to enjoy the diverse and rich program of this year’s Split Summer, in compliance with all recommendations and precautions. I once again congratulate the artists, organizers and all participants and thank them for their courage and determination.
In the desire to remember him for his exceptional artistic achievements, and to infect everyone only with the joy of creativity and beauty, I am pleased to declare the 66th Split Summer open.”
During the opening ceremony, the Cultural Art Society Jedinstvo and Glazba Split performed the most famous Split dance Monfrinu, and the festival flag was raised by members of KUD Jedinstvo, Paola Demarchi and Drazen Bosnjak. This was followed by the premiere performance of Verdi’s opera “I Lombardi” performed by soloists, orchestra, choir and ballet of the Croatian National Theater Split under the direction of maestro Ivo Lipanovic and directed by Robert Boškovic.
This year’s Split Summer brings the best Croatian and foreign opera soloists and orchestras led by top conductors, ballet performances and a rich concert and drama program. There will also be four film screenings and two exhibitions. The Split Summer will have a total of 32 titles in 44 performances, so the Festival will turn the city into the summer theater capital of this part of the Mediterranean.
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