Rijeka 2020 Opening Program: Thousands of Performers, All-Day Events, Everyone Invited

Daniela Rogulj

January 19, 2020 – On February 1, 2020, the city of Rijeka will be inaugurated as the European Capital of Culture. The Rijeka 2020 program will be a celebration of culture that lasts for 24 hours, offering many events for all ages, tastes, and styles. 

Glas Istre writes that with the Opera Industriale, more than 70 events at more than 30 different locations in the city center, and a program that runs 27/7, Rijeka will officially become Europe’s most exciting city. The official European Capital of Culture program, which will run from February 1 to 24, was presented at a press conference on Saturday, 

“Mobilizing culture in the organization and participation, with full hearts and good energy, which has not been seen for a long time, is happening in Rijeka on February 1, 2020, at the opening of the European Capital of Culture. It is a day to mark on your calendars to visit Rijeka, go to the city center and be part of the largest cultural party that lasts for 24 hours and offers many events for all ages, tastes and desires,” the organizers point out and announced that Rijeka will offer more than 600 cultural and artistic events in 365 days.

Opera industriale is the central opening program of Rijeka 2020 that begins at 7 pm at the Rijeka port. In it, Rijeka pays homage to its workers, the avant-garde artistry and the tradition of the region that surrounds it. At the same time, it reminds of the fundamental social values on which modern Europe was built. The port represents a strong identity point for Rijeka, it is a symbol of an open and modern Rijeka, and by choosing this space for the central opening program of the ECOC, Rijeka sends a message about the importance of understanding the Port of Diversity, which rests on accepting sails of all colors.

Opera industriale was created according to the musical template of the Rijeka art duo JMZM (Josip Maršić and Zoran Medved) in the orchestra of the Croatian composer, maestro Fran Đurović. The event will feature almost 150 performers and several thousand people in the audience. The director of the program is Dalibor Matanic. This grand open-air urban opera brings the sounds of the city, industry and noise, the music and effects created by the combination of light and darkness and the powerful symbol of Rijeka and Europe. Welders, sparks, noise grinders, sheets, and ironworks are symbols of the workers who proudly built Rijeka.

In addition to the central event in Rijeka’s port, the Rijeka 2020 opening program also brings 24 hours of great fun to Rijeka’s streets and squares, cafes and clubs. More than 70 events have been announced at over 30 downtown locations, with some 500 performers included in the program.

The morning and afternoon will be dominated by dance, drama and musical performances, and children’s choirs, vocal groups and dancers. Especially interesting will be the daily pop up performances in unusual places, like singing or dancing at the Rijeka fish market, or the ‘anti-tourist’ tour on a Rijeka tour bus.

DJ performances will begin already in the afternoon at select locations, with a total of about 30 performances. Particularly noteworthy is DJ Nicky Siano, owner and designer of the space considered to be the first New York disco club, THE GALLERY, and the first resident of STUDIO 54.

In the afternoon, rock, pop, jazz and blues concerts will begin, with more than 60 bands. The stages will feature Jonathan, Parafi, Fit, Denis&Denis. At club Život you’ll find electro-pop duo The Siids, and at Club Crkva tech-house collective Deep’n’Delicious. More performers will hit the stage at Palach, organized by RiRock, and numerous other venues will welcome Marko Tolja, Dusko Jeličić Bonaca, Izet Medošević, and more.

The DB Indoš – House of Extreme Music Theatre will feature The Rumorists who will play on schachtophones. A particularly attractive Finnish choir – Mieskuoro Huutajat – will also take part in this performance, as well as the Jeka Primorja mixed choir under the direction of Igor Vlajnic, and a string orchestra composed of members of the Croatian National Theater Ivan Zajc. The performance will also feature an ensemble of 20 Rijeka guitars and ten drummers and a workers’ orchestra of grinders, welders and sparks, carrying the energy of Rijeka punk and rock.

Luminous and specially designed spatial installations will be erected at several locations at the port and leading to the port. The program also features lighted smaller boats and barges inside the port waters. 

Rijeka will end its central opening ceremony by a sound that has surrounded it since ancient times – the sound of the Zvončari. Namely, a magical old pagan ritual will announce spring in the European Capital of Culture, a new era for Rijeka, from February 1, 2020.

On Saturday afternoon, part of the opening will be held at the Croatian National Theatre Ivan Zajc and senior guests from Europe and Croatia will attend. This vibrant full-day (and all-night) program guarantees a great time and a crazy extended weekend ahead for Rijeka, the organizers concluded.

You can find more information on the Rijeka 2020 program here

To read more about travel in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page.


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