With the raising the Libertas flag to the verses of The Hymn to Liberty in front of St Blaise’s Church on Wednesday, the 70th Dubrovnik Summer Festival, which will traditionally take place from 10 July to 25 August at more than thirty site-specific locations in Dubrovnik, is opened. The programme of the Festival’s anniversary season as well as many other interesting facts were recently presented to the public by the Artistic Director of the Dubrovnik Summer Festival Dora Ruždjak Podolski and Executive Director Ivana Medo Bogdanović, and the programme consists of various musical, theatrical and other events.

In the upcoming season, one of the oldest and most prestigious European festivals, a member of the European Festivals Association since 1956, will present its numerous domestic and international audiences with over 80 theatre, music, ballet, film, folklore and other performances during 47 days of its seventieth anniversary edition. The conceptual guideline of the seventieth Dubrovnik Summer Festival is based on the slogan City Myths. The programme brings together best Croatian artists and top performances by international artists, while disintegrating the mythology of European cultural heritage, the myths of Dubrovnik and the myths of the Festival, and at the same time questioning the past and the future of site-specific performance practices and nurturing the relationship between tradition and modernity. The Festival’s own productions remain the staple of its theatre programme, thus confirming the national, cultural and historical identity built by the Dubrovnik Summer Festival during its long existence, with the model of the Festival Drama Ensemble as its specific feature. Here you can read more about the programme, while on the first day of the Festival a remarkable musical programme will be held.

A gala concert will start off the music programme of the 70th and anniversary edition of the Dubrovnik Summer Festival on Thursday 11 July at 9.30pm with performances by the Lower Saxony State Orchestra and the Ivan Goran Kovačić Academic Choir and their distinguished soloists – soprano Evelin Novak, mezzo-soprano Janja Vuletić, tenor Tomislav Mužek and bass-baritone Krešimir Stražanac – under the baton of maestro Ivan Repušić. The concert will be held on the open festival stage in front of the Saint Blaise church. Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 is on the repertoire.

The guest performance of the Lower Saxony State Orchestra from Hannover is among the most significant ones for the Festival on its great anniversary. The Orchestra was founded in 1636 in the midst of the Thirty Years’ War as a court orchestra and Georg Friedrich Händel was one of its first musical directors. Its’ current musical director is Ivan Repušić who will be conducting this gala concert. For maestro Repušić, who is the Festival crowd’s longtime favourite, this will be the first performance at the Festival since 2012 when his term as the Assistant Artistic Director for Music in the Festival ended.

Meanwhile, he built up an estimable music career conducting eminent orchestra and opera ensembles such as the Berlin Staatsoper, Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, Prague Symphony Orchestra, Münich Radio Orchestra and many others. Ivan Goran Kovačić Academic Choir, as Croatia’s most prestigious choir, is also a Festival favourite. The mastery of their interpretations is evidenced by numerous awards, among them the Vladimir Nazor Award. The impressive list of performers at the gala includes these highly acclaimed Croatian soloists: soprano Evelin Novak, mezzo-soprano Janja Vuletić, tenor Tomislav Mužek and bass-baritone Krešimir Stražanac. Previously announced performances of soloists Khatuna Mikaberidze and Daniel Eggert are cancelled due to their illness.

Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony is the final one in his opus – which is truly magnificent even without the Ninth, representing the pinnacle of all that he has done for music. The symphony became so well-known because of its final movement which included, for the first time ever in any symphonic piece, vocal soloists perform verses from Schiller’s Ode to Joy alongside the orchestra. The theme of the Ode, now so widely and easily recognizable, went through some 200 revisions before its final, and to Beethoven satisfactory, form. The Ninth rightfully has a particular status of an irreplaceable and immeasurably valuable cultural symbol – ‘’The Ninth is sacred,’’ said Stravinsky, affirming its exalted position in the international musical canon. Ode to Joy is the hymn of the European Union, yet it is more than that – it is a symbol of humanity’s struggle for freedom, justice and equality, of the faith in true human solidarity and community.

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