Summer is Here: Zagreb Classic Begins

Paul Bradbury

June 21, 2023 – Summer begins in style in the Croatian capital, as the Zagreb Classic Festival begins tonight.

Zagreb is magical at the moment, and it is about to enter my favourite season here – summer.

While many head to the coast, spending the summer in Zagreb brings an altogether different experience in this most liveable of cities. Less traffic, less people, but absolutely not less things to do or appreciate, and the Zagreb cultural programme in the summer is the envy of many destinations on the Adriatic.

Photo M Mihaljevic

In this most walkable of cities, it seems that there is something happening on every corner, as locals and tourists bask in the glorious weather and take in the summer atmosphere. The latest hit addition to the local tourism scene, the Zagreb Asian Street Food Festival on Stross, is a great example of the new and diverse events coming to the city.

One of the joys of walking around the parks and squares of Zagreb these days is encountering music in the open air, and tonight’s beginning of summer coincides with the opening night of one of the festivals which is helping add the tag of ‘City of Culture’ to the Croatian capital – the return of the Zagreb Classic Festival.

This year’s Zagreb Classic runs until July 1 and consists of 8 high-quality open-air concerts on King Tomislav Square, with some of Croatia’s top classical musicians, as well as performers from Italy. Organised in cooperation with the City of Zagreb and the Zagreb Tourist Board, all concerts are free of charge and will commence at 21:00 (weather permitting).

Photo M Gasparovic

Zagreb Tourist Board CEO Martina Bienenfeld had this to say at the festival press conference:

“I happily invite everyone to visit Zagreb, which, although rich and full of events throughout the year, according to many, is perhaps the most beautiful precisely in these summer months.

The already recognized and anticipated Zagreb Classic festival begins on Wednesday, June 21, at the first day of summer with the concert “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” organized by Croatian Radio and Television.

This year’s edition of the Festival lasts until July 1, and a total of 8 selected concerts will be held, and rehearsals will also be interesting, which you can also come to see and listen to, which I definitely recommend. All programs, as in previous years, are open and free for visitors, and some concerts will also be broadcast on Croatian Radio and Television.

I am glad that this year we will all have the opportunity to enjoy top-class classical music with clear skies, in the wonderful setting and atmosphere of King Tomislav Square, and this year’s Zagreb Classic ends with a festive concert in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European affairs on the occasion of marking the 10th anniversary of the membership of the Republic of Croatia in the European Union.”

Photo M. Gasparovic

So what classical musical magic is in store?

Wednesday June 21 (all times 21:00): A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Croatian Radiotelevision Symphony Orchestra; Ballet of the Croatian National Theater in Zagreb; Josipa Bilić, soprano; Branimir Pustički, cello; Martin Yates, conductor.

Thursday June 22: Let’s Swing Again by Croatian Radiotelevision Jazz Orchestra; Miron Hauser, conductor.

Friday June 23: Night of musicals by The ensemble of the “Komedija” Zagreb City Theater; Davor Kelić, conductor.

Sunday June 25: Zagreb Soloists – On the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the ensemble. Matej Meštrović, piano; Borna Šercar, percussion instrument.

Photo M Mihaljevic

Tuesday June 27: Cine y tango by Mario Stefano Pietrodarchi, bandoneon – accordion; Caterina Iora, soprano; Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra; Paolo Spadaro Munitto, conductor.

Wednesday June 28: Decadance by Ballet of the Croatian National Theater in Zagreb; Ohad Naharin, choreographer.

Thursday June 29: Cameristi della Scala by Massimo Polidori, cello.

Saturday July 1: Gala concert to mark the 10th anniversary of the membership of the Republic of Croatia in the European Union by Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra; Marija Kuhar Šoša, soprano; Ljubomir Puškarić, baritone; “Zvjezdice” Girls’ Choir; Paolo Spadaro Munitto, conductor.

You can find more detailed information on the programmes of the individual concerts on the official bilingual brochure.

So what else is on this summer in Zagreb? Check out the TCN mini-guide.


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