The Riga Festival is annual musical event, gathering world stars of academic music both from Latvia and abroad. The festival concerts take place in historic venues – the concert halls, the Opera house, churches, at the palaces and manor houses in Latvia, as well as in ever so charming street cafés and restaurants of the Old Rīga for thousands of those eager to listen to the music. The Riga Festival is organized every year in June providing comprehensive program of events that is expanded year by year. This year, the festival started on may 27th with a performance by London Symphony Orchestra in the Latvian National Opera and Ballet. Even if you missed it – don’t worry – there’s more to come!
8.06. – Budapest Festival Orchestra in Riga Great Guild. The Budapest Festival Orchestra is one of the Hungarian music scene’s major success stories, being rated among the world’s top ten orchestras. The New York Times even went as far as to say they “might be the best orchestra in the world”. Concerts program consists of Franz Liszt’s Second Piano Concerto, Antonín Dvořák’s Eighth Symphony, Igor Stravinsky’s Jeu de Cartes.
10.06. – Raimonds Pauls and The Latvian Radio Big band. During Raimonds Pauls’ jubilee year, the Rīga Festival honours the maestro by offering a new concert programme, “Opera Arias,” developed in partnership with the Latvian Radio Big Band, a string group from the Sinfonietta Rīga chamber orchestra. The programme will feature arias from globally famous composers, with melodies arranged by the British musician Callum Au. The young artist consolidated Bach’s music with jazz rhythms most elegantly, offering surprisingly good harmonies so as to shed light on undiscovered colours in the sounds of the Latvian Radio Big Band. “Opera Arias,” too, will preserve the primeval essence and beauty of the melodies while presenting the arias in a new, surprising and harmonically colourful manner. This will involve jazz and the special sound of the piano that is only possible when the legendary maestro is at the keyboards. The audience will hear lovely melodies by Giacomo Puccini, Vincenzo Bellini, Giuseppe Verdi, Richard Wagner, Camille Saint-Saëns, George Bizet (Carmen), Antonín Dvořák (Mermaids), and George Gershwin (Porgy and Bess). Event will take place in Riga Congress Hall.
18.06 – Gustav’s Mahler’s Eight Symphony – Festival closing event in Dzintari Concert Hall. After completing his Eighth Symphony, Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) wrote to a friend that he had created “a merry gift for the nation. All of my previous symphonies were preludes to this one. My other opuses are tragic and subjective, while this one offers enormous and incomprehensible joy.” A great many musicians are needed to perform the symphony by the Austrian maestro from the age of Late Romanticism – eight soloists, a large mixed choir, a children’s choir and an unusually large symphonic orchestra. When the symphony was first learned in the autumn of 1910, producer Emil Gutmann nicknamed the symphony as The Symphony of Thousands for marketing purposes. This is not a regular ‘every-day’ piece, I can definitely guarantee you that. Massive work of art, conducted by Olari Elts, in Latvia – a possibility you won’t want to miss.